Standard Gives Boost to Promising New Field of Psychotherapy

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As a form of psychotherapeutic treatment, “neurofeedback is drug-free, it’s much more natural, yet it has an efficacy comparable to drugs with none of the side effects,” says Tom Collura, founder of BrainMaster Technologies. “But the field is so new—98% of the profession doesn’t know it exists—that it’s hard to gain acceptance for it. In that sense, we’re a hundred years behind our competition.”

That’s why Collura’s and other companies in the nascent field came together two years ago to work out an entity-based standard, IEEE 2010™-2012, Recommended Practice for Neurofeedback Systems, which has now been approved. Collura sees the value in having a standard for a non-pharmaceutical treatment as being “much the same as with a drug—you’re ensuring uniformity from different manufacturers, in our case in the kind of information that operators see from the system, and in terms of testing documentation.”

The standard sets minimum requirements ensuring that systems provide effective and meaningful feedback, so that system operators—who include psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers and counselors—can understand and interpret results effectively for their patients’ benefit.

For Collura, developing a standard through IEEE was “an important step toward getting neurofeedback accepted and respected. So that manufacturers can point to a standard and say, we’re in compliance with that—our device works the way it should. That’s very important to a new field like neurofeedback, having that level of established credibility.”

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