Neurophenomenological studies are increasingly exploring the brain mechanisms through which psychedelic substances exert their mind-altering effects. A provocative question is whether such knowledge might be harnessed as a means of self-inducing altered states of consciousness by non-pharmacological means, for example through the combination of meditation practices and EEG neurofeedback. Ross et al., (2013) demonstrated that down-regulation of the amplitude of EEG alpha oscillations recorded from midline posterior cortex (Pz electrode) is possible in healthy volunteers via neurofeeedback, with correlated effects observed for FMRI in the precuneus as well as with the experience of mind-wandering. Recently, DMT literature related to cortical travelling waves further highlights the importance of the alpha decreases and increased signal diversity, also known as entropy as indicative of the psychedelic state (Alamia et al., 2020).
Emphasis will be placed on how neuro and biofeedback technologies can help highlight, assess and support the various states of awareness that underlie the positive outcomes associated with meditative practices and psychedelic therapies. By reframing neurofeedback modalities as tools to encourage “state awareness” there is great potential to combine neurofeedback with the emerging psychedelic renaissance. Psychedelics are “state” shifting medicines; therefore, the use of neurofeedback inspired therapies within the psychedelic framework can help both therapist and client better acquaint themselves with the human capacity to state shift. Meditation and psychedelic inspired neurofeedback modalities offer a direct experience of how attention alters states, which can offer support toward preparing individuals for the psychedelic experiences, by helping to reduce the preoccupation often associated with challenging psychedelic experiences, while simultaneously increasing a state experience of embodied allowing, associated with an increase in long term therapeutic change. We will discuss how neurofeedback therapies are well poised to offer a method to support the integration of psychedelic sessions, as the afterglow state can sometimes become dimmed and lost if not rehearsed and therefore maintained via state therapy support.
Presented by: Heather Hargraves