by Nikki Schwartz
When our brains are over or underaroused, we have trouble focusing and concentrating, planning our day, regulating our moods, attitudes, and motivation. So, what is a neurotherapist? And what do they do?
A neurotherapist helps calm the brain by reading a client's brain waves, or EEG, and uses that information to create "feedback" as part of a video game to show the brain what the brain is doing.
How does "feedback" help the brain calm itself?
Information on brainwave activity is fed into the computer and is used to control elements of a video game, such as the speed of the spaceship moving through the tunnel. The video game uses the brainwave activity to adjust the speed of the spaceship, the amount of exhaust smoke, the volume of the video game music, and the visibility of the screen.
When the brain sees that it is controlling what is happening on the screen, usually after a few minutes, it will use that "feedback" to adjust it's own activity to be more calm, more stable, and better regulated.
How does the brain know it's controlling the game?
According to Sigfried Othmer, in this video from EEGInfo, the brain spends most of it's time focused on itself and it's own activity. The brain seeks to control the outside world and quickly recognizes that it is impacting the activity on the screen. It can use the information to regulate it's own activity.
This is a learning process, so the brain is able to regulate itself based on the training provided by the neurotherapist through the neurofeedback process.