Excessive self-blame and low self-esteem may be precursors to depression rather than a result of depression. In an earlier study, a team of researchers at King’s College London found evidence that people with a history of depression have lower connectivity between two particular areas of their brain when recalling feelings of guilt. Based on these findings, the team decided to take the study a step further to see if fMRI neurofeedback could retrain their brains and increase their self-esteem.
What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback is a computer-aided technique that impacts brainwave activity, resulting in significant changes across memory, cognition, and focus. This science-backed method is designed to train the most important organ in our body – the brain.
In a way, neurofeedback is like a video game or a form of exercise for the brain. By wearing a specially-designed helmet which tracks brain activity and a display for live feedback, teens can control different images using their brain. Teens can train their focus just as if they were training a muscle. The secret is getting the brain to produce the ‘right’ kind of waves.
What Symptoms Does Neurofeedback Treat?
- Attention problems
- Impulse Control
- Anger Control
- Memory Loss
- Trauma flashbacks
How Does Neurofeedback Work?
Biofeedback instruments quantify how a child’s body reacts to certain stimuli. For instance, video games used in neurofeedback won’t let a child progress unless she changes a behavior at the moment. As you repeat those trainings, the brain learns how to keep itself in that calmer place. You’ll still react to strong events, but you teach your brain to be calmer. Teens learn to become better observers of their own lives and more aware of their needs.
How Can It Affect Self Esteem?
In a previous study, the researchers found that people with depression have lower connectivity between the right anterior superior temporal (ATL) and the anterior subgenual cingulate (SCC) regions of the brain, which relates to the interpretation of social behavior. During their most recent study, they asked participants to recall a memory of a situation in which they had felt guilt towards other people. They repeated the task for feelings of injustice.
Participants could see fMRI neurofeedback of their ATL-SCC connectivity activity in real time in the form of a digital thermometer. They were asked to try and increase the level of the thermometer by changing their feelings as they recalled the event. Researchers found that the thermometer level went up only if the ATL-SCC connectivity increased.
Following the experiment, participants repeated psychological questionnaires and reported feeling an increase in self-esteem and control over these situations. This suggests that neurofeedback can be an effective tool in changing how teens respond to situations and how they feel about themselves.
Solstice East Can Help
Solstice East is a residential treatment center for young women ages 14-18 struggling with behavior and emotional issues such as those that can stem from peer-relationship struggles. This program focuses on helping young women heal, recover, and integrate healthy habits into their lives. Students will learn to build healthy relationships, cope with emotions, and effectively communicate. Solstice East gives young women the skills and confidence they need to lead happy and healthy lives. We can help your family today!
If your teen is struggling with low self-esteem and traditional forms of challenging their beliefs through therapy have not been effective, contact us at 828-484-9946 to learn more about how we use neurofeedback to help teens change their beliefs about themselves.