30 July 2015

Collaborating with Dr. Barry Sterman

by Jon Bale, BFE Research Manager

Any practicing neurofeedback clinician knows the name "Barry Sterman, Ph.D.". For some, the name carries a vague connection to published studies involving cats pressing levers, the sensorimotor rhythm (SMR), and/or resilience to seizures. To others that may have had a real-world encounter with Dr. Sterman, the name elicits a boisterous and at times brutally honest personality, both in the academic world and personal interaction. Over the last two years, the BFE's Jon Bale has had the privilege of knowing Dr. Sterman as an entity in the history of neurofeedback to a colleague and friend.

Learn From the Best
Dr. Sterman is considered the original pioneer in the field of EEG biofeedback. His work in the 1960s/70s involving motivation in the cats led to the naming of the observation and naming of the SMR frequency bandwidth, as well as  the framework for providing feedback based on the changes of a subject's mental state. Popular neurofeedback protocols for reduction in seizures by rewarding SMR amplitude, as well as treatment of ADD/ADHD are based directly from his work. A starch academic, his colleagues in the field all know the catch-phrase "show me the data!" as Dr. Sterman's warning to never make a clinical statement without having any published material to back it up.

Sterman Operant Conditioning Suite
As some clinicians are aware, the BFE and Dr. Sterman have been collaborating on the creation of a software suite that embodies his neurofeedback training method. The Sterman Operant Conditioning Suite is a project of almost 2 years in the making, recently features at the Society for the Advancement of Brain Analysis (SABA) conference in Atlanta, USA. Dr. Sterman included an unveiling of the system to the attendees of his presentation, hailing it as what he hopes to be the next stage of neurofeedback training and research. One strength of this application is the ability to examine the post-reinforcement signal (PRS) after rewards, as a true verification if the subject is learning.

Although the Sterman Operant Conditioning Suite is still going though final completion, the BFE is currently offering this software suite for download at half of the standard commercial price of $300 USD. All previous purchasers of the software will receive free updates until the final commercial edition of the software is released. For clinicians that prefer to wait, the final commercial edition of the software will cost $600 USD.

Feel free to learn more about the Sterman Operant Conditioning Suite software here, and join our mailing list to receive future announcements on the Dr. Sterman / BFE collaboration and other BFE news.


14 July 2015

Biofeedback at the APA Convention in Toronto

The Biofeedback Federation of Europe provides professionals worldwide with a greater understanding of biofeedback. We're continually inspired by work that is being done in the field. But for every health professional using biofeedback in practice, hundreds are not. We were pleased to see that the upcoming APA Convention will feature a symposium on biofeedback with speakers covering topics such as ADHD, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, stress and peak performance.

Biofeedback and Neurofeedback

Biofeedback is a learning process in which people are taught to improve their health and performance by observing signals generated by their own bodies such as heart rate, temperature and skin conductance.  This information is fed back to the person in real time, allowing them to learn to control their response to different stressors.

One of the presenters taking part in the symposium on "The Evolution of Psychotherapy---Can Biofeedback Advance the Practice of Psychotherapy?" at the APA Convention is Dr. Lynda Thompson. Dr. Thompson is best known for her work in the field of neurofeedback, a type of biofeedback that measures brain activity. Together with her husband, Dr. Michael Thompson, she runs the ADD Centre at the Biofeedback Institute of Toronto. Dr. Michael Thompson describes neurofeedback as, "a non-invasive learning procedure that allows the client to train their own brain, practicing healthy patterns and normalizing functions. This learning is vastly accelerated because we are able to specifically target the learning to the area(s) and the neural networks of the brain that are not functioning appropriately. It is always combined with Heart Rate Variability (plus other peripheral biofeedback measures as necessary for a particular patient).

"Some of the symptoms that can be worked on in training include: anxiety and depression; ADHD; learning difficulties such as dyslexia and math problems; migraine; memory difficulties;  sleep disorders; anger control; and difficulties interpreting social cues such as is found in Asperger’s syndrome and autism."



APA Convention - Toronto, ON - August 6-9, 2015

If you're planning to attend the APA Convention in Toronto, we encourage you to take a moment to see how you can incorporate biofeedback into your practice. In addition to Lynda Thompson, the presenters in the symposium include: Carol S. Austad, Cosima Hoetger, Paul Lehrer, Donald Moss, and Patrick Steffan.

Session Title: 2316
The Evolution of Psychotherapy---Can Biofeedback Advance the Practice of Psychotherapy?
Session Type: Symposium
Date: Fri 08/07 4:00PM - 5:50PM
Division/Sponsor: 42-Psychologists in Independent Practice
Building/Room: Convention Centre/Room 206D North Building-Level 200

Click here to read full abstracts.

More About Dr. Lynda Thompson and the ADD Centre

Over the last 23 years Dr. Lynda Thompson with her staff at this Centre have carried out over 150 invited workshops and lectures in 23 countries on 5 continents and have professional publications that include: 8 book chapters, 25 journal articles, and 4 books including the basic textbook in the Neurofeedback field, The Neurofeedback Book:  An Introduction to Basic Concepts in Applied Psychophysiology (2003, 2015), and Functional Neuroanatomy Organized with Reference to Networks, Lobes of the Brain, 10-20 Sites, and Brodmann Areas (2015).

Neurofeedback Workshop in Stoney Lake, ON

Drs. Lynda and Michael Thompson teach two annual neurofeedback workshops at the Viamede Resort, Stoney Lake, Ontario near Peterborough and 1 3/4 hour coach ride from Pearson International Airport Toronto. The upcoming workshop dates are:

September 21-25, 2015
May 30 - June 4, 2016

More information is available from www.addcentre.com or by a telephone call to the ADD Centre, Biofeedback Institute of Toronto (905-803-8066).

Click here for details on workshop.


The Biofeedback Federation of Europe is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Biofeedback Federation of Europe maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

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