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Neurofeedback and emotional regulation.

The ability to regulate emotions is critical, and this can affect people differently depending on where they are in life.  For children, poor emotional regulation (when the reaction to a situation is greater than what would otherwise be warranted) can affect friendships, academic performance and strain family events.  The child is frequently described as being "immature", and each passing year that this persists, the more isolated the child can become as peers begin to separate from them.  


In adults, poor emotional regulation is more described as being emotionally over-reactive.  While this might be more understandable in highly stressful situations, being over-reactive on a daily basis is difficult for those around it.  A big challenge in these situations is that emotional reactions are, first off, emotions, and they don't necessarily follow logic or reason.  The second challenge with emotional reactions is that they are reactions, which by definition, are difficult to control. 


Many people who are emotionally overly reactive (or parents of children struggling with that) will often describe that they are "hardwired" that way.  Well, it turns out that there is something to this notion.  The "resting connectivity status" within the brain refers to the pattern of electrical activation that someone defaults to.  Some people default to a more relaxed state, while others are more tense.  So for those people, it is physiologically more difficult to control these reactions as their brain is "programmed" to respond that way. 


While these people demonstrate these defaulting patterns, the brain has the capacity to change based on the stimulation that it receives.  This is called neuroplastic change.  Neurofeedback therapy has been shown to drive beneficial neuroplastic change, resulting in a shift in the resting state of the brain and with it, better function and performance (study 1, study 2, study 3). 


Our experience working with children with emotional regulation issues has been extensive over the years.  It is not uncommon for these kids to struggle with reading (or sometimes excel at it, but rarely are they at their appropriate reading level), struggle with peer to peer connection and have difficulty expressing themselves verbally.  While these symptoms are seemingly unrelated, they are controlled by the area region of the brain, and often each of those aspects improve with neurofeedback therapy.  

Click here to get started as a patient, or call (203)316-8212. 

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