Meet Rose: Emotional storms rocked the family. Until neurofeedback brought calm.

Rose’s Mom described her progress with neurofeedback:

“I have been thinking a lot about Rose’s progress since we began neurofeedback. I just wanted to summarize her progress as the changes have been so profound. Her sensory issues that were so prominent a year ago are nearly nonexistent. She now is able to tolerate noise from a vacuum cleaner or a blow dryer which was nearly impossible before. She allows hair brushing and tooth brushing which was a daily struggle last summer. I can play music in the car without her crying and she let’s me drive with the top down in the convertible…all small but miraculous changes!!

She is so much more emotionally regulated. She is able to tolerate teasing and joking with greater ease. Not perfect, but with 2 older brothers and a father who love to tease, she does better than most! She can tolerate being told “no” and can wait for things. She never goes into fight or flight mode, where she runs from the room screaming at the slightest provocation. Last summer, this was a daily if not hourly occurrence in our house! She occasionally misunderstands and has an over the top reaction, but quickly decelerates and will apologize.

She has not had a tantrum in months. …her behavior, emotional regulation and mood have really stabilized. When out with friends, it is rarely Rose that is having the meltdowns…it is usually her neuro-typical friends who are melting down and crying. This is a very new and interesting development. Although we have seen improvement in mood, her attention is still fleeting at times… Thankfully, she is easy redirected given her improved mood and emotional regulation.

As she moves forward in school, we may want to revisit other neurofeedback protocols to improve memory, attention and learning, but right now she is so emotionally healthy that I want to celebrate this success. Her attention and memory issues will certainly impact her learning, however her greatest obstacle was her poor emotional regulation. Witnessing the improvements in other areas, I am hopeful that her attention and learning will follow suit…But I know where to go if it doesn’t!

Thank you so much!”   -S.L. , Amesbury, MA.

Neurofeedback for attachment disorders

Neurofeedback, also called EEG biofeedback or neurotherapy, is a research proven way to improve function through intensive brain training exercises. Although the technology is complex, the process is simple, painless, and non-invasive. It is just learning. You learn to alter your brain activity the same way you learn every other skill. You learn through feedback and practice. What is new in neurofeedback is that you are guided by a form of feedback that was previously not available to you. You get instantaneous information about changes in your brain’s electrical activity. Every half second, your brain activity is compared to your targets for change. You get a signal and “reward” when you meet the goal. No signal or reward when you do not.In 20 neurofeedback sessions, with feedback every half second, you get 72,000 chances to learn. That’s a lot of repetition and practice. Brain science has shown that repetitive exercise of brain networks reshapes the brain.

In neurofeedback for attachment disorders, neurofeedback training is used to quiet fear networks in the brain. Early disruption of your child’s most basic need – to feel safe and protected in relationship with a dependable caregiver – resulted in fear networks becoming overly activated. Since these networks do not quiet, your child cannot come to feel safe through connection to you, even when you are ready to provide a sense of stable safety and security. When neurofeedback for attachment helps to quiet these fear centers, your child can begin to allow you to provide this fundamental sense of security. This is the beginning of attachment. Learn more.

Research on neurofeedback for attachment disorders

neurofeedback for attachment doing nfb w laptopsResearch on the effectiveness of neurofeedback for attachment disorders is in the very early stages. One small uncontrolled study of children diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder showed significant improvements emotional and behavioral functioning after 20 sessions. At the NeuroDevelopment Center, we have found that neurofeedback is consistently helpful with the kind of difficulties with emotional regulation that kids with attachment disorders show. Neurofeedback has helped these kids feel calmer, more balanced emotionally, more readily able to handle the conflicts, difficulties, and stresses of everyday life. Emotions much less often rocket out of control. Our treatment outcome research (link to our research page) shows this. We recommend considering neurofeedback for attachment disorders when traditional treatment such as family therapy has not been successful. We also recommend that neurofeedback be done together with individual or family therapy. Improved ability to handle difficult emotions from neurofeedback often makes progress faster in individual or family therapy.

See the problem, then correct it.

Neuroscience is increasingly showing the basis in the brain for many mental health problems. Medications just treat the symptoms and do not correct the source of the problem in the brain. At the NeuroDevelopment Center, our approach is different. We measure brain function with a quantitative EEG brain map, so that you can see the reason for your difficulties. Once we see the source of the problem, we target that area for change through neurofeedback brain training. This allows you to reshape your brain, not just mask your symptoms.

Below are result from qEEG imaging of a client with an attachment disorder. The area shown in orange and red indicates regions of the cortex with diminished activation, likely related to this child’s difficulties with learning, emotional regulation, and self control.

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If you think neurofeedback might help someone you love with attachment problems, we are happy to answer any questions you may have.

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