How do I choose a good system?

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If you’ve looked very long, you’ve probably noticed several things:

1. There are a number of one-size-fits-all systems (Infra-low frequency training, Neuroptimal, LENS and others). Each of these univariate approaches essentially trains one thing, often in one place, for all clients. It doesn’t really matter what the problems are. They are attractive to someone getting into brain training because, well, you don’t really need to know anything about the brain or about the client. They work with a percentage of clients, and if they don’t…oh well.

2. At the other end of the scale is the QEEG: you gather information from multiple sites around the brain and construct a multivariate image of activation patterns therein. Using some system for looking at all that data, you identify specific training sites and frequency/connectivity issues and work those based to some extent on what the client wants to change. These require a greater knowledge of the client and the brain, but most offer some sort of expert consultation to guide you. They are adjustable depending on client response.

3. One currently heavily-marketed QEEG approach focuses on “z-score” training. You compare the individual brain against a database of brains classified somehow as “normal”, looking at dozens, if not hundreds, of small metrics to determine how many standard deviations (z-scores) each is from the database mean. In essence you are drawing a mass of bell-shaped curves–not for the overall score on a test but for choices on each individual question–to determine where the brain differs from the “average” brain. Whether these divergences are related to desirable traits (capacity for math or music) or undesirable ones is not specified (or frequently even known). You simply train all the measures in all the sites toward the average at the same time.

4. Our approach (assuming you’ve read some of the material on doesn’t train toward the “average” brain as defined on a micro level. It identifies macro patterns between sites, states or frequencies in the brain that have been demonstrated to correlate (in QEEG research) with specific issues (e.g. anxiety, high-performance, inattentiveness). These are selected based on the client’s training goals, and rather than aiming toward the “average” brain, they point toward the patterns identified in research with “peak” brains.

5. The cost of most of the univariate systems are in the range of $5-8,000 or more. The cost of the z-score system tends to run closer to $6-12,000 (depending on bells and whistles) for set-up. Then you pay to compare the client brain against the database and receive the assessment file with pages of z-scores, each time you “map” someone new. The cost of the brain-trainer system is about $4000 for full assessment and training hardware, software and support. The report (suitable for sharing with referral sources, family, clients and others) and the training plan (which defines a 5-session circuit covering the major patterns that correlate with client goals) are produced with the click of a button in minutes, without additional cost or delay.

6. The brain-trainer system also integrates a multi-modal training approach we call Whole-Brain Training. HEG training specifically works the prefrontal cortex–the brain’s executive center–which most EEG-only systems don’t touch because of technical problems in gathering good EEG data there. EEG training works frequency, symmetry and connectivity issues that appear in the brain’s electrical signature. Deep states training is a part of most plans, helping move the client over each 5-session circuit toward greater access to emotions and memories and a fuller awareness of self.

The system is sophisticated but easy to use, powerful but inexpensive and allows the trainer to take greater and greater control of the decision-making as he/she gains confidence with experience.

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