Psychologists Comments

Robert Hill, Ph.D.
Psychologist,
Abingdon, VA

Dr. Hill has written 2 books on Neurofeedback –
“Getting Rid of Ritalin”
“Healing Young Brains: The Neurofeedback Solution”

At this point in his career (1996), Dr. Hill had already been using Neurofeedback for 5 years.  Approximately 60% of his patients went through Neurofeedback. Hundreds of patients have gone through it since he started. They used EEG Biofeedback in conjunction with other modalities. They are a multi-modality practice, including several types of biofeedback, including EMG (muscle-based biofeedback) and thermal,  group therapy, and psychotherapy.

From an interview with Mike Cohen,
Southern Institute of Psycho-Physiology, August 1996.

What’s the difference between using Neurofeedback versus before you had it?
Patients get well, and they do it faster. For example, we’ve always used other forms of biofeedback and other therapies. Previously, when we used to treat migraines, if someone called in with a raging headache, we would say to go to doctor, get a shot, go to bed, and then come back tomorrow and we’ll work on the stress problems. Now, we say ‘ ‘get in here immediately if you can.’ If someone is having a terrible migraine, 95% of the time we can stop it within a 30 minute session . . . Before, with closed head injury, you wouldn’t see any improvement except temporary change, unless they were on meds, and even then it was just temporary. We now see rather permanent results that they were not getting before . . . This is not a panacea. It doesn’t fix all things. But there is a significant improvement over a wide variety of disorders.

What percentage of the patients going through Neurofeedback does it work for?
90% can identify positive improvements. The ones we lose are the ones that don’t stay with it long enough. To help that, we try to help them understand very well up front what they should expect.

Learning Neurofeedback was like earning another degree. There’s a lot to learn ‘ you don’t learn it in a weekend. You can’t just go to a college and get classes for this. I feel like I got a second Ph.D. just to really get to learn it . . . We monitor patients very closely at each session so we know exactly what is going on, and to make appropriate changes (in the Neurofeedback protocol) quickly. We know if they didn’t sleep, or if they got headaches that evening.

Are many people getting this covered by insurance?
Most EEG biofeedback treatments are not covered by insurance. But people who are coming have already spent a lot of money anyway, even if it was covered. So why not spend it to get relief? Many do, and pay right out of their pocket. Once you have success, people are willing to pay for good services. You have to be successful. Our practice increases every year, and self pay (from our patients) increases every year. If you give good therapy, the practice grows.

I’ve never seen anything like Neurofeedback. Both in success of patient outcomes, and in the reward (for his practice). I’ve been terrified to advertise. We already have trouble keeping up with the practice as it is.

‘For patients who want to be treated with psychotherapy, insurance will often pay for it. We give them a choice, and patients many times choose Neurofeedback, even if they have to pay for it out of their own pocket. If you provide good services that work, people talk about that.

‘Sometimes we make a client worse, (that is part of the therapist adjust process, to determine what is happening with the client, and to make appropriate changes quickly.’ I point out to the patient, ‘isn’t it powerful – if it creates a headache after a session, just imagine the power for it to do positive.’ We often learn from a negative event about what changes to make. And also the patient really sees how powerful this can be.

Probably 15-18% of patients get insurance coverage. Sometimes insurance companies will pay after success occurs.

Another case: A 20-year old male who had just been arrested and charged with first-degree murder was treated by Bob Hill. This individual had a long history of anti-social behavior, including alcohol and drug abuse, as well as two childhood brain injuries. This fellow completed 23 EEG biofeedback sessions before he was sentenced (to 23 years in prison). High impulsivity was normalized with training. The MMPI-2 was elevated, with 7/10 scales above 50, and one (psychopathic deviant) at 64. After the training, only 1/10 diagnostic scales was still above 50 (Conversion Hysteria), and the psychopathic and psychopathic deviance was below 50. The Millon profile is also significantly improved.

Mark Steinberg, Ph.D.
Psychologist,
San Jose, CA

Practicing for 20 years. Neurofeedback was added about four years ago. Dr. Steinberg has a diverse practice, including ADD, depression, and behavior modification. He also does cognitive rehabilitation (teaching people how to change their thinking ‘ Neurofeedback is an extremely helpful tool for this process.) He has four Neurofeedback systems in his office, and they often run simultaneous sessions.

From an interview with Mike Cohen,
Southern Institute of Psycho-Physiology, August 1996.

What kind of problems does Neurofeedback help with?

All kind of patients get benefit, including ADD/ADHD . . . headaches — it virtually always works for headaches . . . depression ‘ I haven’t had a case of depression that did not respond beautifully. . . Sleep Problems. . . Chronic pain . . . Epilepsy’ . . . ‘It’s an amazing, empowering tool for people.’ ‘Many patients report it dramatically and profoundly changed their life in a positive way.

What’s the difference between using Neurofeedback versus before you had it?
It helps patients get better faster than simply with talk therapy. These are observations based on 4 years of clinical practice with Neurofeedback . . . We are a lot more successful than we used to be without biofeedback.

How does it impact your patients?
It’s an amazingly powerful tool. When a 13 year old boy comes in, he doesn’t care about Neurofeedback, he’s there because his parents say to do it. But when his soccer game improves 3 months later, he loves it. He doesn’t even care that his school work got better. He likes Neurofeedback because it gave him benefit in the area he cares about ‘ soccer.’

We see a lot of other effects: Speech articulation improves. Handwriting improves. It’s not expected – but it often occurs after a number of treatments. Memory Improves. Kids are able to learn better. We regularly improve cognitive scores. I have seen IQ changes of up to one standard deviation or more. This is my clinical results over 4 years, not research – it doesn’t ‘prove’ it, but it’s what I see.

Other observations by Dr. Steinberg
It’s as if the whole nervous system gets coordinated in a different way. When reviewing progress with parents, they often remark how much their child has grown up. That doesn’t happen on it’s own in a two month period. It’s as if it matures the whole nervous system. Now you have a tool that can help ‘tune-up’ the brain while engaging it at a neurophysiological level. It gives you control over tuning. It helps the brain work better.

‘For years, I mostly talked with ADD kids. At times, this could be very painful because of their difficulty in relating to talk therapy. Neurofeedback treatment is different. It helps their brains work better, and they are able to learn better.

After Neurofeedback, many patients are able to reduce their medications, or get off them completely. I’m not suggesting someone start Neurofeedback and get off Prozac. And I certainly still believe in counseling. It’s an important part of my practice. But over time counseling becomes more relevant and works better . . . and you can usually reduce the patient’s meds.

‘I often have referring therapists call me up and ask ‘what the heck are you doing with my patient’ (to achieve such dramatic changes).

How does it impact your practice?
For a psychologist, you don’t have to be with every patient every minute. With Neurofeedback, you oversee the sessions instead. It’s many ways, it makes the practice easier.

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