Neurotherapy means increasing moments of heightened alertness. It uses a specialised brain scan to observe the brain waves of children with ADD/ADHD. These children show brain waves which are smaller and/or slower than normal psychological reactions to brain stimuli. For ADD children medication with amphetamines is believed to stimulate the brain enough for them to focus and pay attention. Hyperactivity is believed to be a coping mechanism to maintain normal arousal. When hyperactive children are first able to sit still, they rapidly go into a drowsy state.

How does it work?

Neurotherapy used in neurofeedback, is an advanced form of biofeedback. The child has metal discs placed on the scalp that pick up electrical signals from the brain (a simple and painless procedure). An attached computer analyses the brain waves and by means of sounds and changing screen displays, lets the child know when they are producing patterns consistent with alertness. These periods of activation are then reinforced with exercises. With this aid the child can learn self-control. The therapist builds a rapport with the child and encourages them to build upon the improvements that are made. Initially the increases in alertness are small and fleeting, but through practice and encouragement, greater improvements can be seen.

Also used by adults, neurofeedback training focuses on specific areas, which help the child or adult function in the world. For children, actual school tasks with schoolbooks are performed during the session. Parents are coached and encouraged to observe and reward improvements in their children, while the children themselves are coached to notice changes in their own alertness and emotional state. With more self-awareness the child becomes more skilful at voluntarily enhancing alertness. The neurotherapy approach aims to change the experience of ADD/ADHD from one of upset and trauma into one of co-operative adventure.


The average length of neurotherapy treatment is 50 sessions. Though benefits can be noticed after about 10 sessions, it is recommended that treatment be continued in order to solidify skills learned. Two sessions per week are normal. The 50 sessions include a weaning off period, aimed at maximising the likelihood that the benefits of neurotherapy will last beyond the sessions. Neurotherapy is not a cure for ADD/ADHD but helps in managing the condition, it can be used alongside prescribed medications.


The mid-to-late 1970's saw the earliest reports of success for neuropathy in treating children with ADD/ADHD.

Neurotherapy for ADHD can offer an effective alternative for patients whose treatment is limited by side effects, poor medication response and in cases in which the patients and/or their parents refuse to consider medications. Encouraging studies include:

-Nash JK. Treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder with neurotherapy
Clin Electroencephalogr 2000 Jan;31(1.

-Robbins J. On the track with neurofeedback. A new treatment may help with problems from ADD to depression, sleep disorders and epilepsy. Newsweek 2000 Jun 19.

-Thompson L, Thompson M. Neurofeedback combined with training in metacognitive strategies: effectiveness in students with ADD. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 1998 Dec;23(4).

-Linden M, Habib T, Radojevic V. A controlled study of the effects of EEG biofeedback on cognition and behavior of children with attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities. Biofeedback Self Regul 1996 Mar;21

-Lubar JF, Swartwood MO, Swartwood JN, O'Donnell PH. Evaluation of the effectiveness of EEG neurofeedback training for ADHD in a clinical setting as measured by changes in T.O.V.A. scores, behavioral ratings, and WISC-R performance. Biofeedback Self Regul 1995 Mar;20.

An extensive bibliography of published research into neurofeedback is available at www.isnr.org



EEG Neurofeedback Services
Dolphin Lodge
Dolphin Yard
St Albans
Hertfordshire AL1 1EZ
Tel: 01727 839533

Learning with Neurofeedback
100 Harley Street
London W1G 7JA
e-mail: foksfam@aol.com
Practitioner with background in research, teaching and psychology.

Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB)
10200 W. 44th Avenue
Suite 304
Wheat Ridge
CO 80033-2840
Tel: (001) 303 422 8436

EEG Spectrum
Neurofeedback Research and Clinical Services
16500 Ventura Blvd
Suite 418
CA 91436-2505
Tel: (001) 818 789 3456

« Back