This research focuses on the effect of neurofeedback (NFB) on children with multiple types of childhood trauma. The Center for Diease Control (CDC) estimates that such traumas are arguably one of the most important public health challenges in the United States (van der Kolk, 2005). They have a negative impact on the mental and neurobiological functioning (Teicher & Samson, 2016), leads to a lower quality of life and creates a substantial financial burden for both the individuals affected and the healthcare industry (van der Kolk, 2005; Wang & Holton, 2005). To date, there have been little research on the impact of NFB on multiple types of childhood trauma, although two recent studies on the impact of NFB on adults have shown that it significantly improves the condition of adults with chronic PTSD (Gapen et al., 2016; van der Kolk et al., 2016).
We present a randomized control design study of NFB on thirty-seven children ages 6 — 13 who suffered from at least two types of trauma. The participants were randomly assigned into one of the two groups: Active (n=20) and Control/waiting list (n=17). The Active group received 24 NF training sessions at T4-P4 twice a week and underwent four periods of assessment: at baseline, midway through NFB, immediately post-training, at a one month follow-up. The control group had assessments at equivalently spaced time points. Chi-square analyses were conducted to evaluate the impact on PTSD diagnoses (present/absent) according to K-SAD assessment. Piecewise growth curve analyses were run to explore differences in rates of change from baseline to post-treatment and from post-treatment to follow-up for both groups.
The results suggest that NFB significantly reduced the number of participants who met PTSD diagnosis criteria. Moreover, NFB significantly reduced, with effect sizes ranging from -0.49 (medium effect) to -0.96 (large effect), the symptoms for alexithymia, as measured in CAM assessment; cognitive and executive functioning, as measured in BRIEF assessment; and internalizing and externalizing behavior, as measured in CBCL assessment.
This study suggests that NFB is an effective treatment improving the condition of children with multiple types of trauma. Moreover. We recommend further study with a larger number of participants, personalized protocol and more NFB sessions.
This study suggests that NFB is an effective treatment for improving the condition of children with multiple types of trauma. Moreover, most care givers reported that the children were resistant to other therapies (note that resistant to other therapies was not an inclusion criteria).
We therefore recommend further study with a larger number of participants, personalized protocol and more NFB sessions.