Dr. Adriana Steffens, BCN, QEEG, T is the Owner and Clinical Psychophysiologist of four Mind Matters Regional Neurofeedback Centers across New York. Dr. Steffens started her practice in Oneonta 16 years ago.
When Dr. Steffens opened her the first Mind Matters Center, there was nothing similar within a 200-mile radius. Neurofeedback Training is still a highly specialized field with only 700 board certified providers in the country and 1,600 in the world. Locally, the Clifton Park/Halfmoon clinic has been serving patients for close to four years.
“In terms of health, we look at organs to heal them, but we were not looking at the brain,” said Dr. Steffens on why she started her own practice in this field.
Mind Matters specializes in neurofeedback training, which is a long-lasting, drug-free, 100% non-invasive healing process that uses brain imagery and the power of self-regulation. Neurofeedback training directly addresses areas of the brain that have started to function outside of normal ranges and encourages the brain to use its neuroplasticity; reducing or eliminating negative symptoms to help people lead overall healthier lives. Neurofeedback training is perfect for anyone ages 5-99 who have physical symptoms associated with mental health, psychological disorders, or brain injuries. Mind Matters has also worked with Peak Performance gyms to help those that train there who are suffering from symptoms related to their physical injuries.
Neurofeedback training is based off the concepts of classical and operant conditioning dating back to the late 1800s. The evidence-based technique of neurofeedback training was pioneered in the 1950s and, at this point in time, there are 40-year studies proving its effectiveness. In certain age groups, neurofeedback training has been shown to increase IQ by 10+ points.
“It is a complimentary alternative to medicine and a beautiful adjunct to other therapies, making them more effective,” said Dr. Steffens, when comparing it traditional talk therapy.
More specifically, neurofeedback training can help those with anxiety and trauma/PTSD; behavior; cognitive decline; mood disorders; sleep; addiction; ADHD/ADD; Autism Spectrum Disorders; migraines and chronic headaches; epilepsy and seizure disorders; and more.
As we deal with the effects of the pandemic, mental health is more important than ever. Dr. Steffens explained that she has seen these effects in the patients she already interacts with and will be able to help those dealing with burnout from increased volume of work.
The process of neurofeedback training begins with brain mapping, a non-invasive brain scan known as the Quantitative Electroencephalogram or Quantitative EEG (QEEG), which maps out thousands of brainwaves to identify which areas of the brain are functioning outside of normal ranges. Research shows that specific electrical patterns are associated with different disorders; Mind Matters gives the example that children with ADHD show excessive slow-wave activity in the front of their brains.
“Brain mapping gives our clinical staff the information necessary to customize a neurofeedback training program that is entirely unique to your brain’s needs,” states their website.
The next step in the process is a consultation with Dr. Steffens herself, in which she will provide a detailed report and clear explanation of your brain mapping and create the training plan for your neurofeedback sessions.
The third and main step in the process in the neurofeedback training to address the dysregulation in the brain. Small sensors are placed around the scalp to record brain activity, producing a reward when certain goals are met and conditioning the brain to continue functioning optimally. Rewards are visual or auditory based on whether the patient chooses to do the training with their eyes open or closed.
Mind Matters website also states, “Most individuals are able to see significant or complete elimination of negative symptoms in 40-60 sessions. Although the rate of sessions varies, most clients will train 2-3 times a week. In that time, the brain will have rewired itself, creating lasting changes.”
Before neurofeedback training sessions, Mind Matters technicians also offer Heart Rate Variability Training (HRV) to control heart rate regulation through deep breathing, essentially turning off the brain’s “Fight or Flight” sensation.
After 20 sessions of neurofeedback, patients have a post-assessment with Dr. Steffens. She will interpret your progress and together you will review options moving forward. Home training systems are also available.
Although Mind Matters Centers don’t accept insurance, they walk every patient through their payment system prior. Interested in making an appointment? Mind Matters is scheduling only about a week out. Call (607) 432-0600, or for more information, visit their website at www.urmindmatters.com.