R. Adam Crane BCIA, ACN, NRNP

The following case histories may have useful implications for neurofeedback because they imply possible clinical effectiveness with immune disorders, anorexia, and obsessive, compulsive disorders. In addition the neurofeedback timing strategies used suggest that the length, frequency and total number of sessions may be as important in achieving best neurotherapy results as titration is in the administration of medications.
A Dangerous Obsession

He had reached an advanced stage of anorexia. As a 54 year old construction worker, he was normally 6′ and a well muscled 155 lbs. At the beginning of therapy he was 118 lbs., eyes sunken, somewhat manic, claiming his diet of mostly lettuce was making him high and filling him with energy. He was almost completely isolated as his behavior had destroyed his marriage and alienated him from his friends. He had not worked for five years at his trade as he was on disability. He was almost broke even though he earned between sixty and one hundred thousand per year when he was working. He was obsessed with a well known cult which had counseled him to distance himself from his family, and against seeking therapeutic help. He had invested over $200,000.00, virtually his life savings, in the cults system of “therapy and enlightenment.”

He discussed the possibility of suicide on several occasions in the beginning and was experiencing many stress related disorders including sleeplessness, irritability, hyperactivity, intense loneliness, and much obsessive/compulsive symptomology including going over and over often unimportant details. He fluctuated between overtly aggressive, hyper behavior as he tried to convert people to his ideas, and passively aggressive behavior when individuals attempted to establish relationship with him. A strong concern at the beginning of therapy was that irreversible organ damage might have already occurred because of his complexion, gaunt, haunted appearance and the obviously massive loss of muscle tissue, even though he continued to exercise vigorously (as is the case with many anorexics). Biofeedback therapy was for him a desperate last resort.

Within three weeks of beginning neurofeedback training (adjunctive to counseling) his demeanor had changed remarkably, he had begun to gain weight and he entered enthusiastically into the life rebuilding process. He began sleeping better, felt much calmer and more optimistic, less lonely and isolated. He began to form new relationships and he was opening up and talking to people in ways that were impossible before. He wanted to report on his “Love Stories”. An interesting example follows: He would go to playgrounds and sit and watch children play. This made him feel so happy at times that he would weep. This appears to be healthy abreactive phenomena happening hours or days after actual neurofeedback training. People he met or had known before seemed to be easier to be with. He saw that he had changed and was giving others the chance to be affectionate and not blocking them with his rigidity, restlessness and passive aggression. He began to eat a more balanced diet and gained weight reaching 150 lbs. within the first year.

Although he had studied “meditation” extensively, he almost never did it because he felt it was boring and a waste of time. It was suggested that he forget about meditation as he knew it and just do the EEG work. After the first week he had learned enough to do his version of the “EEG work” without hooking up. He said that now instead of forcing himself to meditate he looks for opportunities to sit and simply make his alpha. He reports surprising benefits like those he had hoped to receive from meditation are flowing from these alpha sessions. He realizes now that what he had thought was meditation was not, because he was merely sitting still and straining to concentrate, which is why it was boring, unpleasant and flat.

He has since obtained his own EEG home trainer and continues a remarkable transformation of life style. Interestingly, at first he didn’t realize how important the EEG work was. Like many clients he discounted the neurotherapy and looked for other things to attribute his improvement to. This is common and frustrating for NFB practitioners. During the neurofeedback training he constantly wanted to talk. Instead, he was encouraged to train first and discuss later. The results spoke for themselves.

About nineteen months after he began neurofeedback therapy, he looked quite fit for his 56 years, his complexion was good and his personality, even his voice seemed remarkably changed. He was working full time and furthering his education pursuant to changing his profession. A follow up revealed that at age 60 he was continuing to work (maybe too hard) and he reports that he has solved his economic problems; and the combination of his working and investing will generate a considerable net worth within a relatively short time. He is engaged and intends to marry this year. He continues in the construction business and is unusually fit for his age. He believes neurofeedback and the counseling that accompanied it is responsible for saving and assisting him in transforming the quality of his life.

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Author's Bio: 

Biofeedback/Neurofeedback Training and Seminars are designed to teach clinicians biofeedback fundamentals and cutting-edge applications.