training can be used for two separate purposes. The
first is to stabilize the physiology of the brain.
This usually results in a person having less
dramatic reactions to stressors and returning to a calm, focused place
after the stress is resolved. The brain
becomes more stable, resilient, and flexible. The
second purpose is to resolve deep psychological issues in the
unconscious mind. It’s called
Alpha-theta training and is commonly recommended after 20 sessions of
neurofeedback for physiological stability.
training sometimes is referred to as altered states training due to its
similarity to hypnosis. The client and I create a script for what they
want to focus on. Often the script is about the type of person they
want to become and they are asked to use visualization.
With this type of training, the brain increases the
motivation (approach) and decreases the fear (avoidance).
see it as creating a conscious evolution for yourself.
As examples, you may want to improve your
creativity, be calm in all situations, get rid of that last bit of
background negativity, be able to talk openly to your family, lose your
anger, eliminate jealousy, start your own business, or be more outgoing.
place the sensors on the back on the head and ask you to close your
eyes. I spend the first 5-10 minutes going over the imagery you are to
consciously focus on during the session. I then turn the feedback on
and leave the room. The tones will guide you into the elusive alpha
theta state. This state of consciousness is experienced as being in
between the states of awake and sleep. It’s the twilight state.
Normally you fall asleep if left on your own. The tones you hear coming
from the computer holds you in that normally fleeting state of
has all the benefits of hypnosis because you’re re-programming your
subconscious mind, but with the added feature that hypnosis can’t get
to. It clears out the traumatic experiences that have put on the brakes
on your ability to progress. Everyone has outdated negative, life
limiting beliefs. They reside in the unconscious where a person doesn’t
know that they don’t know. The brain
operates as if these beliefs are still true.
training is commonly used for alcoholism and post traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD). In 1989 Eugene Peniston published his now famous study
using alpha theta training to treat chronic alcoholics in an inpatient
setting. He achieved an 80% rate of recovery. These were men from a VA
hospital who were also Vietnam vets. They were reporting that not only
did they stop drinking, but they stopped obsessing about the war. Also,
many negative aspects of their personality cleared up. That led to
another study of just working with PTSD. They found the same thing
happened. The PTSD went away. The rough edges of personality mellowed.
Several MMPI scores moved to within normal limits.
person has had some trauma during their lifetime. Therefore, just about
anyone can benefit from alpha theta training. We
all have limitations that hold us back. Have
you noticed how you stop yourself from achieving what you say you want? Even if a person believes they know what stops
them, the real reason is buried in the unconscious.
Common resistance include fear of failing, being
abandoned, guilt over surpassing your parents or siblings, wanting to
be taken care of by others, not wanting to grow up, etc.
It’s pure fear and it has to do with early family
dynamics, belief systems, and trauma. Alpha-theta
training helps the non-conscious mind to reprocess these early
experiences even if it never becomes conscious. The brain, while idling
in 6-9 cycles per second, resolves the issues.
Edison had his own version of this method. When he would get stuck on a
problem after hours of focusing on it, he would go to his office for a
“power nap”. He would recline in his chair with metal ball bearings in
the palm of both hands. He got as close to sleep as he possibly could
without actually falling asleep. If he did, the ball bearings would
drop and make a loud noise, waking him up. He would drift into the
twilight state until the solution to the problem arose spontaneously,
then jump up and go back to work. It was low tech biofeedback at its
Many of my clients start alpha theta training after they complete 20
sessions of neurofeedback for physiological stability.
Many of these individuals have made significant
changes in their life as a result. The
results often go way beyond what psychotherapy offers and with greater
depth. Most people need 20 to 25 alpha
theta sessions to achieve the best results.