Workshop Title: Alpha-Down EEG Biofeedback: A Novel Treatment for Anxiety

Educational Objectives: At the end of this workshop participants should be able to differentiate Anxiety Disorders from syndromic anxiety reactions, be familiar with "reactive alpha states" in anxiety production, be familiar with EEG biofeedback protocols for anxiety syndromes, and understand the indications for down-training vs. up-training alpha EEG.

Literature References:

1.     Peniston EG, Marinam DA, Kulkosky PG, et al, EEG Alpha-Theta Brainwave Synchronization in Vietnam Theater Veterans with Combat Related PTSD and Alcohol Abuse. 1993, Advances in Medical Psychotherapy, 6: 37-50

2.     Schwartz JM, A Role for Volition and Attention In the Generation of New Brain Circuitry. 1999, in The Volitional Brain, Libet B (ed), Imprint Academic, Exeter UK. ISBN 0907845509


After introducing alpha-theta biofeedback to workshop participants, we will describe a new therapy for anxiety syndromes. We will explain (and demonstrate on video) Wm Scott's refinement of traditional alpha/theta brainwave biofeedback, namely down-training of excess alpha activity. Abnormalities in alpha activity in anxiety states have been discussed in the literature for several decades, but this is the first protocol to address the correlation between "reactive alpha” states and syndromic anxiety. Whereas some anxiety states respond to traditional alpha frequency up-training, the Scott protocol deals with conditioned increases in alpha frequencies in response to anxiety-provoking situations. The protocol secondarily builds in a volitional component as patients track their anxious cognitions and modulations of response through the feedback. We will briefly review the latest data on 46 subjects' EEG changes correlated with anxiety measures from the MMPI. The workshop will then turn to a discussion of illustrative successful applications of this new protocol for in the following conditions: PTSD startle response and flashbacks, panic, test anxiety, "white coat" hypertension and other phobias, various sleep disturbances, ruminations (isolation of affect), substance abuse, and generalized apprehensive expectation. Workshop participants are invited to bring clinical anecdotes for discussion.

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Workshop Title: Alpha-Down EEG Biofeedback: A Novel Treatment for Anxiety

Time Schedule/Agenda: 90 minutes total

I.               Introduction (T M Brod MD). 1.Overview of the historical use of EEG Biofeedback for anxiety states. 2.Differentiation of Anxiety Disorders from syndromic anxiety.                                                                        15 minutes

II.             Reactive Alpha training, and the new protocol (Wm. Scott). Videotape and discussion.                                                                                      15 minutes

III.           Theoretical underpinnings of the Scott protocol (Brod).    10 minutes

IV.           Workshop Discussion                                                                    10 minutes

V.             Data on 46 subjects' EEG changes correlated with anxiety measures from the MMPI. (Scott).                                                                 10 minutes

VI.           Illustrative examples (Brod, Scott)                                                 10 minutes

VII.         Discussion, workshop participants’clinical material.                  20 minutes