Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Neuroshaping consciousness

A distinction should be drawn between traditional neurofeedback and techniques using EEG feedback that are explicitly directed at shaping introspective awareness.

Although the mechanisms underlying neurofeedback are subject to debate, the assumption is made that the brain is not only being affected but, over time, altered by the feedback received.  Conscious awareness of the feedback may or may not be required.  I found with my own clients that often those who tried to understand and control the feedback were less successful than those who simply paid attention to the feedback with a set attitude towards its occurrence (e.g., a positive attitude to positive feedback).

Neuroshaping consciousness is a skill-building tool.  It is primarily directed at revealing processes that are potentially available at a conscious level.  The feedback does not serve to reinforce the occurrence of desired brain states but to alert the user to the presence of certain processes.  The occurrence of these processes may or may not be desired ("wandering," "joy," "anger"), but the conscious awareness of them definitely is. Whatever brain changes that may occur are not a direct result of the feedback received but are assumed to be a product of the development of a consciously mediated skill.