The brain controls and influences behaviors, thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Teenagers who exhibit behavioral issues or have difficulty managing certain mental health symptoms may benefit from neurofeedback therapy. According to BMC Psychiatry, in research studies, neurofeedback “improved attention, decreased hyperactivity, and increased academic and social skills.” Havenwood Academy uses evidence-based therapies like neurofeedback to provide personalized treatment to teens experiencing behavioral or mental health issues.
What Is Neurofeedback Therapy?
Neurofeedback therapy uses technology to monitor changes in brainwaves. Basic and Clinical Neuroscience describes neurofeedback as “biofeedback, which teaches self-control of brain functions to subjects by measuring brain waves and providing a feedback signal.” With the help of a professional, adolescents and teenagers can use this method to identify triggers for specific brainwaves and learn to control them.
The process is straightforward and involves scanning the brain using electroencephalography (EEG). Sensitive wires attached to the head connect to a brain-computer interface that the therapist uses to monitor changes in brainwaves throughout the session.
Neurofeedback therapy encourages teens to improve emotion regulation, mindfulness, and self-awareness. Adolescents can benefit from seeing how their body interprets various emotions and physiological changes in real-time. Successfully controlling those changes helps them feel more confident in their ability to maintain positive behaviors and thought patterns.
How Does Neurofeedback Work?
Alternative therapies have become more common in recent years. According to Mental Health in Family Medicine, “12% of children are using some form of” complementary treatment like biofeedback. During neurofeedback therapy, the teen can train their body to maintain a particular type of brainwave. Training involves real-time feedback that shows changes in brain waves as they happen. In most cases, the therapy involves several 30-minute sessions a week. Neurofeedback works by using the following:
- Non-invasive sensors placed on the child’s head
- A computer interface connected to the sensors
- Audio and visual stimulation in the form of a video
- Real-time brainwave monitoring by the therapist
The methods used during sessions can vary and usually involve both auditory and visual components. For example, your child might watch a movie during the session. The goal of each session is to help them control their brainwave output. If they do not control the brainwaves, the video may dim, or the audio might disappear. However, if they return their brainwaves to the desired frequency, the sound and video image will return to normal. In this way, teens and adolescents can learn to control their brainwaves in a way that keeps them engaged in the process.
Monitoring and Controlling Brainwaves
The brain-computer interface allows the technician to monitor brainwave changes throughout the session. Your child may notice changes to audio or visual stimuli based on those changes, and the goal of each session is to achieve a relaxed and balanced state of mind which the brainwaves will indicate.
Children undergoing neurofeedback therapy often learn and use relaxation techniques and meditation, among other methods, to help them maintain specific brainwave levels by controlling their neural activity. The process takes time to learn. However, over multiple sessions, the brain can learn to maintain activity levels that encourage positive mental health and decrease anxiety or depression.
Teens undergoing neurofeedback therapy learn to identify and regulate emotions to keep their brainwaves within a certain limit. Strong feelings can throw off the brainwaves and have physiological effects that reduce calm. By learning to control their emotions, teen participants decrease their overall stress and anxiety. Over the course of several weeks or months, emotional regulation can become automatic. Children with mood disorders or behavior issues often display noticeable positive changes after learning to successfully regulate their brainwaves.
Benefits of Neurofeedback Therapy for Adopted Teens
Adopted children have a higher risk of experiencing behavioral issues and mental health disorders. In some cases, they may not have had an opportunity to learn how to identify and process emotions. Neurofeedback therapy increases self-awareness and allows participants to regain control of their thoughts and behaviors. Any child with a history of trauma, anxiety, or depression may benefit from neurofeedback therapy.
Some other benefits of neurofeedback therapy include:
- Fewer mood swings and emotional outbursts
- Better memory and focus
- More restful sleep
- Reduced stress and anxiety
Neurofeedback therapy can teach adopted teens to regulate emotions and manage problematic behaviors. This treatment increases self-control and helps them become more aware of how certain thoughts affect their actions.
Does Neurofeedback Reduce Behavioral Issues?
Teens with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), mood disorders, and behavioral issues can use neurofeedback therapy to manage symptoms. According to Current Psychiatry Reports, “[N]eurofeedback training reduces inattentive and hyperactive/impulsive symptoms in ADHD children.” Each session trains the brain to slow down, relax, and redirect energy to positive behaviors.
Neurofeedback therapy is especially helpful for teenagers who struggle with the following:
- Difficulty focusing or following instructions
- Mild to severe symptoms of mood disorders like depression
- Difficulty identifying, controlling, or processing emotions
- Depressive episodes
- Symptoms of trauma, anxiety, or panic
Your child will learn to control their thoughts and behaviors using the coping skills they develop during neurofeedback therapy. This can benefit them in many aspects throughout their lives.
Children with a history of trauma, anxiety, or chronic stress can use neurofeedback to help them connect certain thoughts and behaviors with physiological changes. This therapeutic technique allows them to monitor brainwave changes in real-time. If your child has difficulty balancing their moods, emotions, and behaviors, they may benefit from neurofeedback therapy. Havenwood Academy uses neurofeedback and other alternative therapies to help adopted teens process trauma and manage symptoms related to mental health disorders. We can teach your child to control and manage their moods and behaviors. To learn more about our programs and the treatments we have to offer, call us today at (435) 586-2500 to speak with a representative.
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