Alpha Theta Slow Wave Training
Neurofeedback is primarily used for two purposes: 1) to stabilize a poorly regulated or damaged brain; and 2) resolve deep psychological trauma. Eyes open training using fast brain waves accomplishes the first purpose. To do the second, we turn to the type of training created by Green and Kamiya and then further developed by Peniston and Kulkosky. Although it was originally designed to increase creativity, it was found to be highly successful when treating military veterans with PTSD and alcoholism in a VA hospital. In 1989, Eugene Peniston published a famous study treating chronic alcoholism in an inpatient treatment program. His use of neurofeedback with this population produced an 80% rate of recovery. This led to studies with veterans illustrating how neurofeedback resolved PTSD.
Typically, we allow ourselves to fall into a “twilight” state right before we fall asleep. This lasts for only a few minutes at most. It is a state of heightened creativity and memory recall. It is why you suddenly remember all the things you forgot to do earlier in the day right before you fall asleep. Or why perhaps some of your greatest ideas “download” before you drift off to sleep. Unless you get up and do what you forgot to do, or write down or record that idea, chances are you will not have any way to access that information when you awake in the morning.
During alpha theta training, we use specific tones as feedback to allow your brain to slow itself down into this twilight state between 6-9 Hz, but we don’t allow you to fall asleep. Then we help you stay in this special state for 30 minutes. It is a deep hypnogogic state, deeper than hypnosis, and is often referred to as Deep States training. In this Deep Twilight State, the brain is allowed to explore the differences between the conscious mind and the unconscious mind.
“You need more than just ‘positive thinking’ to harness control of your body and your life. It is important for our health and well-being to shift our mind’s energy toward positive, life-generating thoughts…But the mere thinking of positive thoughts will not necessarily have any impact on our lives at all!...What positive-thinking dropouts haven’t understood is that the seemingly ‘separate’ subdivisions of the mind, the conscious and the subconscious are interdependent. The conscious mind is the creative one, the one that can conjure up ‘positive thoughts.’ In contrast, the subconscious mind is a repository of stimulus-response tapes derived from instincts and learned experiences. The subconscious mind is strictly habitual; it will play the same behavioral responses to life’s signals over and over again, much to our chagrin.” -Bruce Lipton. Ph.D., Biology of Belief
The conscious mind is part of your awareness and under your control. The unconscious mind is everything else that you are unaware of and possess no control over. As compared to the conscious mind, the unconscious mind is the ‘iceberg’ below the ‘tip of the iceberg’ which is the conscious mind. Alpha theta or Deep States training allows an opportunity to explore the unconscious mind where scripts, memories, emotional and psychological trauma, habitual patterns, addictions, limiting beliefs, archetypes of collective cultural stories are contained.
Mental Attitude is an important part of the Foundation of Health, and this is one way to improve upon the health of your Mental Attitude by accessing the scripts and limiting beliefs in your unconscious mind. By spending extended periods of time in this low frequency twilight state, you can increase your insight and level of self-awareness, aka level of consciousness. New insight leads to deeper awareness which leads to the ability to change the habits and scripts which have become automatic. By changing the limiting scripts that dictate our behavior, we can allow our conscious and unconscious belief systems to become more congruent resulting in drastically different results in our lives.
Since all of us have had some trauma, and all of us could increase our self-awareness, and all of us can enhance our creativity and become better problem solvers in our lives, almost everyone is a candidate for Deep States training. Everyone has outdated, self-limiting beliefs. Most are simply scripts we learn from childhood from our family system. However some common themes are seen as to why someone would most likely seek out alpha theta neurofeedback include death of a loved one, divorce, crossroads in life, failure of psychotherapy, and spiritual growth.
I often tell the story about how Thomas Edison was the original Deep States pioneer. He discovered that these great ideas and solutions to his hardest problems would come to him while falling asleep. So he learned to manipulate his sleep to achieve the benefits of twilight sleep through his own biofeedback device. He would work until exhaustion, and then rest in a rocking chair. He had two metal pie tins on the floor underneath each hand. In his hand he held metal objects. When he fell into twilight sleep, his grip would loosen and the objects fell causing a crash on the tins startling him fully awake. He then wrote down whatever solution arose.
Typically, everyone has to do some eyes open fast wave training before beginning eyes closed alpha theta training. Usually it is 20 sessions to stabilize followed by alpha theta sessions. Best results are achieved with alpha theta training by doing at least 20-25 sessions.