Biofeedback &

Dr. Lita Rawdin Singer
Stephanie Singer

Office Locations: (Gmaps)

Los Angeles Location:
23123 Ventura Blvd.
Suite 203
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
Tel: 818-324-6854

Santa Barbara Location:
2941 De La Vina
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Tel: 805-965-7033


Neuroscience And Psychotherapy

Why Neuroscience Matters to Psychotherapists
What is Biofeedback and how does it work?
What is Neurofeedback and how does it work?
How is Neurofeedback used to train an individual’s unique brain?

“Neurofeedback should play a major therapeutic role in many difficult areas today. In my opinion, if any medication had demonstrated such a wide spectrum of efficacy it would be universally accepted and widely used.”
Frank H. Duffy MD, Harvard Medical School Associate Editor for Neurology Clinical EEG Journal

We have been using Biofeedback as an adjunct to psychotherapy for over thirty years. We have added Neurofeedback to the Biofeedback Treatment Center, so that clients can benefit from the cutting edge revolution in psychology that is being driven by the innovations in neuroscientific research. Integrating neuroscientific and psychotherapeutic treatments has been the most effective path to psychological healing and growth because the two approaches work synergistically to create a brain state that is most receptive to treatment.

Thirty years of studies and development have shown that this intervention will produce symptom reduction in a variety of conditions. Such as Anxiety, Depression, Sleep disorders, PTSD, Addictions, ADD, Tinnitus, Migraines, TMJ, Panic Attacks. Neurofeedback, Biofeedback, Psychotherapy, Medication, Meditation are some of the tools we use. It is a team approach of healers that are necessary to get and stay healthy. We are looking at the total person, mind, body, soul and spirit.

Why Neuroscience Matters to Psychotherapists (return to top of page)

On a practical level, adding a neuroscientific perspective to our clinical thinking allows us to talk with clients about the shortcomings of our brains instead of the problems with theirs. The truth appears to be that many human struggles, from phobias to obesity, are consequences of brain evolution and not deficiencies of character. Identifying problems that we hold in common and developing methods to circumvent or correct them is a solid foundation upon which to base a therapeutic alliance.

As we come to better understand the neural correlates of mental health and emotional well being we may be able to use this knowledge to aid us in diagnosis and treatment. Neuroscience can also provide a common language to communicate with physicians’, pharmacologists, and neurologists who may also be treating our clients.

We now know that mind and brain are indivisible and that disorders traditionally thought of as psychological need to be reconceptualized to include their neurobiological mechanisms.

Our brains are inescapably social, their structures and functioning deeply embedded in the family, tribe, and society. And while the brain has many shortcomings and vulnerabilities, our ability to link with, attune to, and regulate each other’s brains provides us with a way of healing. This is why the power of human relationships is at the heart of psychotherapy.

“The value of neuroscience for psychotherapists is not to explain away the mind or generate new forms of therapy, but to help us grasp the neurobiological substrates of the talking cure in an optimistic and enthusiastic way.” (Cozolino)

What is Biofeedback and how does it work? (return to top of page)

Biofeedback is a process that enables an individual to learn how to change physiological activity for the purposes of improving health and performance. Precise instruments measure physiological activity such as, heart function, breathing, muscle activity, and skin temperature. These instruments rapidly and accurately “feed back” information to the user. The presentation of this information – often in conjunction with changes in thinking, emotions and behavior – supports desired physiological changes. Over time, these changes can endure without continued use of the instrument.

Biofeedback is a non-invasive drug free form of treatment. The therapist attaches sensors or electrodes to the body and these sensors provide a variety of readings – feedback - that is displayed on the equipment, usually a television monitor for the patient to see. With practice, the new responses and behaviors can help to bring relief and improvement to a variety of disorde

What is Neurofeedback and how does it work? (return to top of page)

Neurofeedback addresses problems of brain dysregulation. During Neurofeedback, we use the latest technology to train the brain to correct the faulty brainwave activity. You can think of Neurofeedback as “brain exercise.” Like a muscle, the brain gets stronger the more you train it. Since your brain controls every nerve system, muscle and organ in your body, when it works at maximum efficiency, you feel better and perform better.

Electrodes are applied to the scalp to listen in on brainwave activity. Brainwaves occur at different frequencies from slow waves to fast waves and each speed has its own function. Slow brainwaves (delta and theta) reflect the brain is under-aroused or functioning at reduced capacity for mental efficiency. This occurs during sleep, daydreaming and when areas of the brain go “off line” to take up nourishment. High levels of delta and theta in specific areas of the brain can be associated with learning disabilities, depression and/or inattention.

When your brain produces predominantly faster brainwaves (alpha and beta), it is more fully aroused, alert and focused. The neural networks are fully engaged to process information. Beta brainwaves need to be dominant for controlling attention, behavior, organization, emotions and basic learning functions. However, too many fast waves, in specific areas of the brain can cause anxiety, aggression, irritability and other physical symptoms.

We process the signal by computer and we extract information about certain key brainwave frequencies. We show the ebb and flow of this activity back to the person, who attempts to change the activity level. Some frequencies we wish to promote others we wish to diminish. We present this information to the person in the form of a video game. The person is effectively playing the video game with his or her brain. Eventually the brainwave activity is “shaped” toward more desirable more regulated performance. The frequencies we target and the specific locations on the scalp where we listen in on the brain are specific to the conditions we are trying to address and specific to the individual.

How is Neurofeedback used to train an individual’s unique brain?
(return to top of page)

Over the past thirty years certain Neurofeedback (EEG Biofeedback) treatment protocols have been developed that are helpful with certain classes of problems such as, anxiety, depression, migraines, cognitive functioning, sleep disorders, addictions, PTSD and ADD/ADHD. There are a number of assessment tools that are used to help decide which protocols to use. These are simple neurodiagnostic and neuropsychological tests. Neurofeedback is like putting a mirror in front of your brain and showing it its dysregulated brainwaves. Neurofeedback then allows the brain to recalibrate those waves. When the brain is correctly calibrated (regulated) symptoms such as ADHD/ADD, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, etc that were associated with the dysregulation will be reduced or eliminate.

“Once we have access to the realm of brain behavior as manifested in the EEG, a new therapeutic opportunity opens up that potentially covers the entire realm of mental health. The more intractable the condition at issue, the more likely it is to be grounded in physiology. Much of this can still lie in the functional realm that is accessible to us through reinforcement techniques.

Three core issues have been identified as organizing principles for the most intractable conditions where Neurofeedback should complement psychotherapy:

   1)  basic stability and continuity of brain function;
   2)  developmental deficits in the learning of attachment;
   3)  the trauma response.

Each of these is centrally at issue in one of the new challenges we are confronting in the clinical world: Instability is the key issue among the children increasingly being identified as bipolar; attachment disorder is a key issue in the autism spectrum; and the trauma response is the key mental health issue among our returning veterans.

Neurofeedback has been discovered just in time to address the escalating crises in mental health in our society. Psychotherapists are invited to add Neurofeedback to their practice and to participate in populating this frontier of mental health.” (Othmer)

“The Neuroscience of Psychotherapy” Louis Cozolino
“A Symphony in the Brain: The Evolution of the New Brainwave Biofeedback”
Jim Robbins
“EEG Biofeedback: An Emerging Model for its Global Efficacy"
Academic Press. Siegfried Othmer, Susan Othmer