Seeing is Believing: Biofeedback as a Tool to Enhance Motivation for Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) as applied by behavioral scientists includes strategies for changing negative cognitions that contribute to depression and anxiety. Biofeedback is a useful strategy to demonstrate to clients the mind (cognitive, psychological) to body (physiological) interaction. For example, a cognitive, psychological reaction to a stimuli results in a physiological effects as illustrated by changes in skin conductance or muscle tension. A case example is used to demonstrate an anticipatory psychophysiological response resulting in covert activity of the forearm as a client simply imagines playing the piano.

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How Emory University Counseling and Psychological Services’ Dana Wyner uses biofeedback

We are often asked by counselors in counseling programs how they can incorporate biofeedback in to their counseling programs.  Helping students cope with stress and offering an avenue for counseling services is a very valuable commodity to any university and its student body. Dr Wyner and Emory University have an excellent counseling program at Emory and asked her Emorys’ model This is from the desk of Dr Wyner:

This is the core of the letter that I send to counseling center psychologists who ask me how we run our program…

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Emory University Student Counseling Program Helping Students Cope with Stress

Great article about the student counseling program at Emory University. See the full story below.

“As the calm and collected overseer of Eagles at Ease Stress Management Services, Dana Wyner ’04 PhD encourages her clients to take a mental mini holiday, go limp like JELL-O and feel snug as a bug in a rug.

Those practical lessons for relaxation on the go are particularly helpful during exam time, when nerves are frayed and performance anxieties go into overdrive.

The Student Counseling Center Stress Clinic, funded by Emory’s new mental health fee, sees more than 30 students each semester for issues such as test-taking anxiety, phobias, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, headaches and hypertension. Services include helping students develop a personalized toolbox of positive coping strategies, small group training in relaxation skills and biofeedback, and individualized therapy sessions.”

Read the full article at Emory.edu

What is BCIA? Why is BCIA Certification Important?

What Is the Role of the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA)?

BCIA serves as the certification body for the clinical practice of biofeedback and neurofeedback, including Pelvic Floor Muscle Dysfunction Biofeedback. BCIA serves as the standard bearer for the fields of biofeedback and neurofeedback.  The BCIA mission statement is quite simple:

            BCIA certifies individuals who meet education and training standards in

            biofeedback and neurofeedback, and progressively recertifies those who

            advance their knowledge through continuing education.

 It is apparent from this mission statement that education and training should be the main focus for BCIA– and they are!  Where does the educational process start?

It all starts with the blueprints of knowledge.  BCIA’s Board of Directors has spent countless hours reviewing the science and the literature on biofeedback, neurofeedback, and self-regulation to ensure that the three blueprints carefully outline the fundamental science, history, and theory of the modalities and thus set templates for what every beginning clinician needs to know.  As the science and clinical efficacy literature have evolved, we have revised the blueprints to keep pace and to truly represent current best practice.

BCIA can only add information to our blueprints when efficacy has been scientifically established. We recommend that you read LaVaque and colleagues’ (2002) informative “Template for developing guidelines for the evaluation of the clinical efficacy of psychophysiological evaluations.” Additionally, the BCIA blueprints must be free of commercial bias. Once beginners can understand the accepted fundamental science, the same science as others who are certified, they are better able to review the field and make a good decision about various theories or equipment choices.

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Cleveland Clinic’s Motor Control Program – Helping stroke patients

Dr. Jeffrey Bolek Phd has been doing some amazing work at the Cleveland Clinic’s Motor Control Program. Here is a story of how Dr. Bolek used his work to help a stroke patient walk again within a few weeks.

Teen goes from wheelchair to walking in three weeks

It’s the leading cause of debilitating illness in this country but imagine being told as a teenager you’ll spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair.

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Biofeedback for Headaches

It was great to see biofeedback getting a bit of attention in a recent column in the Detroit Free Press. Here is the column:

Dr. Paul Donohue: Your Health
Biofeedback help for headaches no hoax

Dear Dr. Donohue: From time to time, I have headaches that make my life really miserable. I have tried many pain relievers, but none works dependably for me.

I have also seen my share of doctors, including neurologists. None of them says these are migraine headaches. None of their suggestions has helped. A friend, who is into alternative medical treatments, suggests I try biofeedback. What is your opinion of it? Is it a hoax?

B.N.

Dear B.N.: Biofeedback isn’t a hoax. It has a legitimate role in the treatment of many illnesses and in the control of pain. It’s a way to teach the body how to respond to pain and how to minimize it. It’s an attempt to get the body to heal itself.

If you go the biofeedback route, see a person who is well-trained in this kind of therapy. It requires a professional who knows the techniques and how to apply them.

Your family doctor might be able to help you locate such a person.

For people suffering from headaches, the therapist applies sensors to the scalp. They monitor the action of scalp muscles. If the muscles are contracting, as they do in tension headaches, they transmit that information to a screen so it is displayed.

The therapist teaches the person how to relax the contracting muscles. That is seen on the screen, too.

With relaxation of the scalp muscles, pain should ease or go away. This doesn’t work in one session. You have to practice the technique until you’ve mastered it.

Biofeedback doesn’t work for all people or for all illnesses. When it is successful, it’s a wonderful way to control pain without resorting to drugs.

Write to Dr. Donohue at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Readers may also order health newsletters from www.rbmamall.com.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20110304/OPINION03/103040314/Biofeedback-help-for-headaches-no-hoax#ixzz1Fn2t4n3l

Biofeedback in Sports

Biofeedback training has been widely recognized as an excellent way to promote a relaxed state for many sports applications. Many studies have been done on using biofeedback as a method of relaxation and to increase performance.

Athletes should ask themselves “Can I perform better in a relaxed state?” If it is the bottom of the ninth, with the bases loaded, the athlete needs to be able to clear their mind and focus on the performance. Anxiety and high stress can cause many athletes to “choke” in clutch situations. By learning to alter their mental and physiological state with a few simple relaxation techniques they tend to perform better. Biofeedback devices are great tools in achieving these results.

There have been several Olympic athletes, NHL hockey teams, professional football teams, golfers and more, that have credited biofeedback training as a factor in their success.

In a recent chat with Thought Technology Vice President Lawrence Klein, he could not resist the opportunity to discuss the many uses of his company’s biofeedback and neurofeedback equipment. Mr. Klein said, “We have a strong presence in professional and elite sports.” Thought Technology’s equipment has been used by a number of leading Olympic Sport Coaches and several professional sports teams.

Some teams have even set up mental training centers where trainers monitor the brainwaves and other physical functions such as surface EMG, temperature, GSR, heart rate, and respiration. This helps the players learn to reduce performance anxiety and improve their ability to focus under stress – giving them the “mental edge” they need to win.

There are devices like the Resperate, that promote meditative breathing patterns and very simple to use items such as the GSR2, that measures minute changes in skin conductance or resistance and conveys the stress level by an audio tone. These devices are easy to use and very effective. Organizations and teams have also used more sophisticated systems that measure multiple physiological measurements at once for a picture of the body’s stress level.

More recently there are products being introduced to help speed up reaction time. Reaction time can be crucial in many sporting events and in the Olympics millisecond can be the difference between gold and bronze.

Below are a couple of videos about biofeedback and athletic performance.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOuHWNQ1INA[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSXMGDpxYxE[/youtube]