25 May 2014

Learn From the Best: Drs. Lynda and Michael Thompson

The BFE ventured into the world of specialized biofeedback and neurofeedback software packages almost 10 years ago. We moved slowly and cautiously, to create custom-built  sessions in order to share methods of experts in the field of bio and neurofeedback. The BFE will forever be grateful to Dr. Michael and Lynda Thompson, for their collaboration.  As well-known names in our field, their willingness to share the collective insight of their ADD Centre in Toronto, Canada, gave the BFE its first opportunity to build a software suite that gives a helping-hand to any therapist looking to advance client care with bio/neurofeedback.  From their knowledge was born the "Setting Up For Clinical Success" suite and "Specialized Application Scripts" suite, now often referred to as simply the "Thompsons' Suites".

Training display for calming the brain, while monitoring the individual's physiology - 
suitable for performance enhancement with athletes and over thinkers.

Many clinicians swear by the Thompsons' Suites as being the best and most in-depth collection of screens and scripts available, for such a wide spectrum of client disorders and needs.  The Thompsons' design and methods extend to ADD/ADHD, Aspergers,  autism, anxiety , depression , optimal performance training, seizures, stress and more.  Each display arranges different relevant physiology and EEG bandwidth statistics, such that every individual possible requirement for clinical treatment is covered within the whole suite. The "Setting Up For Clinical Success" suite provides all the display screens for independent training, while the "Specialized Application Scripts" suite provides pre-defined 20-to-30 minute long  protocols for training ADD/ADHD, seizures, Aspergers, dyslexia, depression and optimal performance. 

Training display for focusing the mind and minimizing distractibility, typically used with 
ADD/ADHD children - point counters included for gauging success and challenging the subject.

The guidance and patience the Thompsons provided the BFE can also be found at the workshops they host. Whether you're a novice clinician that wants to improve your basic knowledge of the clinical EEG biofeedback field, or an experienced practitioner that desires to broach advanced material, their Neurofeedback Fundamentals workshop is the opportunity to learn from these world leaders of the field. We strongly encourage any professional that is interested in neurofeedback to consider the Thompsons' workshop. Past workshops have welcomed participants from Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, United States, and Canada.
Neurofeedback Fundamentals Workshops    
Date:  June 2-6, 2014 and Sept 29 - Oct 3, 2014
Location:  Stoney Lake, ON  Canada
Contact:  ADDCentre@gmail.com or www.addcentre.com

For more information on the next Neurofeedback Fundamentals Workshop hosted by Michael and Lynda Thompson, just outside of Toronto, Canada, contact the ADD Centre directly at: ADDCentre@gmail.com.

Interested in learning more about the Thompsons' Suites? Click on the titles below for a full description:

Recently, Dr. Lynda Thompson spoke about neurofeedback on The Agenda with Steve Paikin.  Click on the image below to view the interview.


15 May 2014

Internet Addiction

Technology is the primary driver of change in our modern society. The invention of the personal computer and the internet have pushed how we acquire, process and share information in ways beyond imaginable 30 years ago. Do you think the original creators of the so-called "super computers" of the 1970s ever thought that the average person would be sending silly emails to loved ones, continents apart? By extension, could they have believed that I am writing this sentence from a device that fits in the palm of my hand, as compared to the first computers that took up a million times the space, with only one millionth (1/1,000,000) the processing power?  

As a child in the 90s, my grandmother let us play with the 
very first Pong console. Compare those graphics versus a 
modern day neurofeedback training screen. Don't even try to
 compare the instantaneous processing power between these two devices.

With all big leaps come unforeseen changes. It took decades to fully understand the impact of the television's contributions to health and society, by promoting sedentary and closed-in lifestyles.  We are only now learning about the impact that the computer, internet, and by extension tablets and smart phones, are having on the way we interact with others. The devices give us access to an endless stream of diversions, but at what potential cost? When we are focused on our screens, are we missing out on what is going on around us?

"Look Up", a spoken word film by Gary Turk explores this phenomenon.
It has received over 37 million views to date.

Internet addiction, and by extension digital addiction (smart phones, tablets), is the name given to a new condition for overuse of internet and digital devices, to the point where the individual feels distress. Whether this is truly a disorder, or simply a new outlet for those with depression, anxiety and social isolation is unsure, it evidently shares many commonalities with substance abuse issues. The DSM-V does not include internet as a behavioural addiction however it is recognized in other parts of the world such as South Korea and China. Dr. Jerald J. Block, M.D. explores the topic in a recent article on Issues for DSM-V: Internet Addiction in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The BFE has invited Dr. Paul Swingle to give a 1-hour webinar presentation on Internet Addiction, where he will share his experience assessing and treating this behavioral issue. Using his simple ClinicalQ neurofeedback assessment method, he will describe underlying causes and susceptibilities of those he deems to be internet addicts. Dr. Swingle will also review the neurofeedback intervention to pursue with such cases.

Dr. Swingle's Internet Addiction Webinar
Date: May 27, 2014
Time: 3:00-4:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada)

Any clinician looking to enter the field of neurotherapy would greatly benefit from Dr. Swingle's ClinicalQ & BrainDryvr method, which gives a simple, easy to interpret roadmap for neurofeedback assessment and training. Visit the BFE website to learn more. 

For further reading on this topic:
Should DSM-V Designate “Internet Addiction” a Mental Disorder?


In the latest issue of our online journal Psychophysiology Today, Dr. Erik Peper touches on the subject of device use in his article Support Healthy Brain Development: Implications for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It also contains abstracts from the Scientific Day at the BFE Annual Meeting in Venice where Mari K. Swingle, Ph.D. spoke about Addiction in the 21st Century: EEG Profiling of Internet/Digital Addiction.

Click here to download the latest issue from our website.

14 May 2014

Biofeedback for Mental Health

I'm Blogging for Mental Health.We are "blogging for mental health" to talk about an adjunctive treatment that clinicians around the world use in their practice's every day, but is not widely known. Special thanks to the American Psychological Association for organizing this event and to everyone who has chosen to take part and share their voice. 

There are a variety of approaches used by mental health practitioners to treat mental illnesses. They include: pharmacological, psychodynamic, cognitive behavioral and interpersonal. There are also a number of therapy formats: individual therapy, group therapy, couple's therapy and family therapy. The variety of approaches and formats allow clinicians to tailor their approach to suit the clients' needs. 

One technique that we don't hear much about is biofeedback. Biofeedback is a process by which an individual can learn how to change physiological activity in order to improve their health and performance.

"If you can't measure it, you can't improve it."
William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (yup, he's the guy they named the unit of measure after) once said, "If you can't measure it, you can't improve it." Well, biofeedback allows one to do precisely that. During a biofeedback session, physiological activity such as skin temperature, heart rate, respiration, muscle tension and brainwaves are monitored and the information is fed back to the therapist and user. 

As a counsellor, one employs a variety of cognitive strategies with their clients because some respond better certain techniques over others. Adding biofeedback to the toolbox can enhance the efficacy of other therapeutic techniques. For example, monitoring a person's stress response during breath training, an autogenic session or guided imagery can confirm whether they are actually relaxing or if they are gaining no benefit. In the biofeedback image example below, the anxious subject is coached to relax in order to make the tree grow. As they activating their parasympathetic nervous system, their finger temperature rises, and the animated tree grows.

There are many applications for biofeedback and mental health. This past February at our annual meeting in Venice, Italy, presenters discussed the use of biofeedback for ADHD, OCD, Aspergers and Autism, Stress, Addictions, Anxiety and Depression among other topics. Whether you are a clinician, someone with a mental health challenge or someone who wants to learn ways to keep stress at bay and maintain good mental health, we invite you to learn more about biofeedback!

A great introduction to the subject can be found on YouTube at: 

We invite you to view a recent webinar presented by Linda Walker, MHR, LPC, BCN, BCB on How Biofeedback Benefits Your Clients and Your Practice.

5 May 2014

Call for Webinar Submissions

As most of you know, the BFE hosts a variety of online sessions throughout the year, with the aim of giving therapists, psychologists, doctors and clinicians access to new knowledge regarding biofeedback and neurofeedback evaluation, training and measurement techniques, as well as new applications in the field. HRV and Hypnosis, by Maggie Minsk and Sue Intemann, Art and the Brain, by Dr. Paul G. Swingle, Tactical Breathing, by Dr. Henk Kraaijenhof and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) & Biofeedback by Dr. Richard Gevirtz are examples of previous webinars we hosted with the goal of giving attendees a new perspective on treatment and/or a new application for their practice.

Currently, we are searching for clinicians that are interested in presenting a 1-hour educational webinar on a particular facet of the biofeedback and neurofeedback field, to which they are currently making use. The idea is that webinar participants would come out of the presentation knowing a little more than when they came in, either in technical knowledge or direct application they can put to use in their practice.

Here is an example of potential webinars the BFE is interested in hosting:
· Applications of heart rate variability in particular therapies
· Synopsis on the subtypes of ADHD as assessed with EEG
· Skin conductance/GSR training to minimize the frequency of seizures in epileptics
· Muscle relaxation exercises for peak performance training with athletes.

Do you use bio/neurofeedback in your practice, but not in any way we have listed above? 
We would be very happy to hear about your idea for a presentation. Similarly, if you have any suggestions on what types of webinars you would like to see BFE present, please let us know.

Contact Us For More Information
All interested presenters should contact Jon Bale at research@bfe.org with a description of their presentation. We will respond to all reasonable applications, and no material will be shared with any outside parties without strict approval. All webinar presenters are paid for their time.

Please note: The BFE is interested in presentations which educate clinicians about a specific application in biofeedback/neurofeedback or a new method that clinicians can integrate into their current practice using the equipment they already own. Suggested presentations that are commercial in nature will not be accepted.
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