Oftentimes, when someone is recommended neurofeedback, she has never heard of it before, and so she embarks on an educational journey to understand how and whether it works, and to discover costs and training options. Throughout our years of offering neurofeedback at our centers and home rental kits, we have found that educated customers are the happiest and get the most from their brain training.
To help customers during the educational stage, I asked our certified NeurOptimal® trainer, Kate Linsley, who has run our Denver neurofeedback home rental program since 2012, to share her advice and brain training tips.
How many Neurofeedback renters do you handle in Denver each month?
Kate: At any given moment, I have close to 20 neurofeedback rentals, so I probably handle around 25 different renters each month. Some are in Denver and Boulder, while others are scattered around the mid-west, Nevada, and Texas. Now we're seeing more renters in Utah, where there are no NeurOptimal® trainers. Oddly, I rarely get renters in Colorado Springs!
But when people rent, regardless of whether they are picking up their home neurofeedback kit or I am shipping it to them, I walk them through choosing their rental plan depending on how many family members are training, and explain the manual and supports available to them on our website.
I make sure they understand that this is training, not treatment. And that they can run as many sessions as they feel bring them benefit. They don't have to use the number of sessions to determine success but instead they can use a much better tool to track the changes: our self-report checklist.
I will make sure they complete it every 10 sessions, and that they don't peak at the previous one until the next one is done.
It's very rewarding to see those "9s" turn into "6s" and then "3s" over the months. [On the checklist clients rate their issues on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst.]
What are the most common Results from neurofeedback You see?
Kate: The first changes people tend to report are better, more restful sleep, less overall worry and stress and improved patience -- especially with partners and kids!
With children brain training for school performance, those shifts happen after a week or two when parents generally report the kids having better management of their emotions, are generally calmer, and struggle less getting their homework done.
What is Your #1 recommendation for anyone Brain training?
Kate: My number one recommendation is to make sure you rent at a time when you will have the opportunity to really take advantage of having the neurofeedback equipment at home.
And make yourself a schedule!
Like, Monday/Thursday/Saturday before bed, or Monday/Thursday get up 45 mins early and do it before leaving for work. Something like that.
The more you are able to stick to a training schedule--say 2-3 times per week--the more you will gain from your rental and the more cost effective it becomes.
My recommendation is: don't let it sit unused while you're renting! A common remark I hear is, "I loved the neurofeedback, I just wish I'd done it more while I had the system."
With some clients, when I check in with them at the two-week mark, they confess that they haven't started training. I challenge them to the "5-sessions-in-five-days" and that usually gets them on a good track.
Do you recommend clients try a neurofeedback session in Denver before renting?
Kate: I would recommend going to someone in Boulder or Denver for a NeurOptimal® session or two if they're feeling anxious about setting up the equipment themselves. Some people need to see the NeurOptimal® system and see how easy it is to use before they feel confident they can successfully set up the neurofeedback home kit.
An office session can also give them the opportunity to see how straightforward it is and get a sense of the benefits and go into their rental more confident that they are going to get results.
What difference do you see when a parent also Participates, even though the reason for renting might be to help their child?
Kate: That's a great question! The difference in results between families who brain train together and families where only the kid trains is HUGE. When I have a family who is just training their children, the results generally seem to take longer to take effect.
The parents feel unsure of what changes are happening for their children and often also struggle to get their kids to train. When parents and kids both take advantage of the rental program, I see much better results all around and faster ones, too.
When parents are also brain training, (and they could be doing once a week and the child twice a week. It doesn't need to be as frequent), they really understand what is shifting for their kids, and are able to recognize the subtle changes faster and also support the changes, because they themselves are going through it. There is also a more calming attunement between the parent and kids.
I've also found that the parents who train are much more successful in helping their kids feel comfortable with the training. I'd say that is, at least in part, due to the fact that seeing your parents training gives you confidence in the value of the training, as well as making it seem less intimidating.
Some kids (especially the younger ones the child, who tend to have more stress or emotional struggles) can feel a little nervous about the wires or sitting still. When they see their parents do neurofeedback, it just puts them at ease and often makes them want to try it, too!
How are you different as a parent when you are doing neurofeedback regularly?
Kate: How am I NOT different as a parent when I'm training regularly?! When I get regular training in, I find that I am much closer to the parent I want to be: patient, clear, calm, less frazzled, less irritable and more able to remember the long view.
What are the Top neurofeedback results You from Clients?
Kate: Sometimes neurofeedback renters don't share with me why they are training and that's fine. They don't have to in order for the training to work. I love that about NeurOptimal®.
Because it does not require a diagnosis and is fully automated, clients can rent and do neurofeedback at home without having to share personal information. If they are training to get support managing sensitive or private issues, they don't have to share that information with me.
Because of stigma of not being at our best emotionally, there can be a feeling of embarrassment or shame for people. They don't have to even give us their tracking progress checklist to review.
They can monitor those themselves and notice the improvements. So there's a built-in privacy, which I think makes it easier for them to take action to help themselves.
But with those who do share their neurofeedback results, at the first check-in we have with them, they tend to report feeling calmer and perhaps a bit more focused. Usually it is the second check-in, mid-way into their rental, where they report to me that their mood is shifting and they're feeling better overall: sleep is improving, they're less irritable, and less stressed-out.
ALSO READ Kate's blog
Have you seen neurofeedback be harmful to anyone?
It is safe to use, so the only harm I would say is financial. They rent a system and don't use it enough.
Of course, some clients aren't a good candidate for a renting a neurofeedback home kit, especially if they can't motivate themselves to train twice a week. I try to assess how realistic it is that they will do the sessions before encouraging someone to rent.
So I guess "non-compliance" would be the biggest hurdle.
If they can motivate themselves to do it, they do feel better. They usually rent for 2-3 months, and sometimes for as long as five months! Some will also buy the equipment.
One guy said to me after his first month's rental, "This has to be part of my weekly regime for the rest of my life, but that's OK. I'm actually relieved to know it's there when I want it."
Thanks Kate, for sharing your experience with our readers!