When Will I Start to Notice Changes from the Neurofeedback Training?

Should you notice change in the first session? By the fifth? What’s realistic? Few people will continue doing neurofeedback for several months if they’re not seeing changes. Often clients report significant changes in the first 2-3 sessions.

However, that’s not always true. Many experienced clinicians feel the client may not note any changes until 3 to 5 sessions. Others feel it can take up to 10 sessions. In part, it depends upon the kind of improvements being tracked. On occasion, it can take longer than 10 sessions to note any signs of change. In a case like that, the client and clinician should discuss progress very closely.

NOTE: After any changes from training are noted, a lot more training is usually needed for the changes to hold. Read more…

What changes are you likely to notice first? It may not be for the problems the client started brain training, and any change is a good sign. It helps identify that the brain is responding. One of the challenges is that changes noted from training can be very subtle, particularly initially. Clinicians often watch sleep carefully because it’s easy for most people to notice, and it is often the first thing to change.

Changes could include getting to sleep more easily, having more dreams, being easier to wake, or sleeping more soundly. Other common earlier changes include increased calm, less anxiety, being less reactive, or being more alert. What changes as a result of training varies greatly by individual. Some people may start to notice changes for mood, attention, anger, or pain relatively quickly within 5-10 sessions. For others, it could take more time. It usually takes longer for obsessive thinking, impulsivity, and oppositional behavior to respond to brain training.

If there is brain damage or neurological issues involved, it can take longer for a patient to respond, no matter what the symptoms are.

If no changes have been noticed in 10 sessions, it probably makes sense to reassess the situation. There may be subtle changes from the training that aren’t even being noticed. Perhaps nothing has yet happened. Maybe this is a person who will takes a long time to respond and may not get a lot from the training. Or, maybe a very different training approach needs to be considered. In some cases, just more patience may be warranted. Sometimes the therapist can show the client changes they are making in EEG behavior before other signs of change occur.

Realistic Expectations

If you send someone to the gym, how long will it take for that person to get into shape? How long before he or she notices a change? The answer varies widely. Neurofeedback is literally brain exercise. How long it takes for the brain to become better regulated can vary widely. Also, some exercises may help far more than others. Most people in fact gain some benefit from exercise – and from brain exercise.