NeuroMeditation for ADHD, Anxiety, Depression and more ... - Jeff Tarrant, Ph.D.

Despite the obvious appeal and increased accessibility of meditation training with programs such as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), it remains a significant challenge for many individuals to maintain a consistent practice. Early meditators often complain that they do not know if they are "doing it right" or give up before realizing any significant benefits. By providing the meditator with immediate feedback on their brainwave state, the neurotherapist can help define and refine the process, potentially increasing motivation, interest and impact.

Research examining the role of attention, intention, brainwave states and brain regions involved have shown that there are basically four different types of meditation practices; these include Focused Attention, Open Monitoring, Automatic Self-Transcending and Loving-Kindness / Compassion. Each of these meditation styles impacts the brain in different ways, making each an ideal match for specific mental health concerns. Attention or concentration practices provide the exact type of brain training needed for ADHD and concerns of focus and distractibility. Open Monitoring practices, such as mindfulness meditation affect the brain in ways that make it perfectly suited for managing stress and anxiety. Automatic Self Transcending is similar to an Open Focus approach and is helpful for quieting down the overactive self-referencing that is common with personality disorders and addictions. Loving-kindness and compassion practices change the brain in ways that may have a significant impact on depression or mood concerns.

Using brainwave feedback to provide a boost signal in frontal theta activation, one of my neuromeditation clients described the experience as this:

The End of the Road / The End of the Road - Wanderlust Latin America
I said to Jan that most likely some rocks had just fallen into the road and that maybe we could just get out and help move them. When we reached Choropampa, parked cars lined the road and several people standing at the end of the road looking at something.

"This protocol, or at least the way I was approaching the session led to a very mellow, pleasant state of mind. Very calming, slow and relaxed. I just let go of any thoughts and do not try to force anything to happen or to happen. I would like to receive the reward when I was a little bit more focused rather than easygoing my typical meditation is, or I would like it to be. I came out of this session not wanting it to end nor wanting to speak or verbalize my experience. "

A session review graph, after a period to allow adjustment to the protocol, clearly shows a gradual increase in FM theta at ACC and a reduction of alpha in the Precuneus.

ACC Theta and Precuneus Alpha during an OM Neuromeditation session

Neuromeditation has become my "go to" intervention for any clients wanting the benefit of neurofeedback, but also wanting to develop skills that can be practiced at home. The combination of these ancient and modern technologies enhances both promises to be a powerful tool for improved psychological and emotional wellness.