Dr. Gulnora Hundley, a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) began to stick wires of gew into my hair that connected to an amplifier. “This won’t hurt.” she reassured me. Much like an EKG, Dr. Hundley was placing wires in certain areas of my head to get an electrical reading of my brain waves.
Their have been studies that indicate neurofeedback therapy relieves a number of disorders ranging from anxiety, insomnia, PTSD, ADHD, and depression while promoting a sense of overall wellbeing.
She discussed with me how neurofeedback therapy isn’t for everyone and that it is only worth trying if one commits to at least six sessions. This is because the brain is like a muscle that needs to train to achieve the results you are looking for. This will create longterm change in brain behavior.
It sounded amazing, yet I was skeptical. I wanted to understand how this was even possible. “It is like saying no to a dog. Eventually if you say it enough times, it will learn not to do something bad.” she explained. It turns out that the feedback of the electrical currents rewire you to think straight.
After doing research, I found many published articles and journals that say neurofeedback therapy is so effective that 80% of participants experience significant change that helps them live a healthier life and in some cases reduce the intake of medication for many disorders. I proceeded with eyebrows raised, not sure what to really think of it.
Once I was all set up it was time to commence the pre-test to compare with post-results later. She asked me to look at a computer screen for 15 seconds with eyes opened, and then with eyes closed. When she showed me the images of the activity that was going on in each side of my brain, the first thing I noticed was that one side was completely lit up with marvelous colors.
“Wow! You are extremely creative.” she remarked. She pointed out the right region of my brain where you could see bouts of colors that resembled what flowers would look like in “Avatar”. Since I am left handed, it made sense that all this activity was happening on the right side of my brain.
The other side showed much, much calmer signs of activity, with a visible line that went straight across the image. “This is an indicator of possible ADHD symptoms.” she observed. That wasn’t a surprise to me by now.
She also noticed on another diagram image that my right and left brain waves were not communicating properly. It was as if my right (creative) side was bouncing so high that the left (logical) side was not having the opportunity to coincide. This also made sense in my life as I am easily described as “ditzy” as a loss for better words. But nonetheless imaginative.
It was time for the test. The first session would only consist of 15 minutes of neurofeedback therapy. Having no idea what to do while the process took place, she reassured me that all I had to do was sit and relax. It did not matter if I looked through my phone, read, or zoned out. She simply handed me headphones to put on in order to listen to music.
As the music played small interruptions that sounded very similar to abrupt static could be heard. These were the brain waves expressing that a certain wave behavior was acting inappropriately. This neurofeedback sound alerts the central nervous system by abruptly interrupting that behavior in order to stabalize itself again; similar to breaking a bad habit. It made sense, in theory.
Once the test was finished, we re-examined the results. It turned out that the diagram image that showed the right and left miscommunication functions had dramatically changed. The up’s and downs’ seem to have arranged themselves to flow more harmoniously.
Hmm, that was pretty drastic change for only one therapy session. I was beginning to wonder if this was a hoax. But the doctor was referred to me by my mother, who was also a (LMHC) and pursuing her PH.D at the University of Central Florida, where she heard Dr. Hundley speak about neurofeedback therapy while attending class.
She asked me how I felt. Was I suppose to feel any different already? I had came in with a headache and the neurofeedback sounds did seem to have reduced the pressure somehow.
I made her aware of this, but also asked her if neurofeedback therapy would simply make people optimistic about their health and thus feel better; the placebo effect. She said this was possible, but positive results are positive results.
After thanking Dr. Hundley for her services, who seemed to be a genuine, knowledgeable therapist who also does neurofeedback therapy on herself once a week, I wondered if it was worth coming back to the remaining five sessions. One thing is for sure, taking a glimpse of your brain is worthwhile.