- Series: Norton Professional Books
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 61144th edition (January 17, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393704505
- ISBN-13: 978-0393704501
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Getting Started with Neurofeedback (Norton Professional Books) 61144th Edition
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“In this very accessible book, Getting Started with Neurofeedback, John N. Demos goes a long way toward removing the barriers that keep clinicians from implementing an emerging form of computerized brain technology into their practices... [P]rovides lucid explanations of the mechanisms underlying neurofeedback as well as the research history that led to its implementation. His description of neurofeedback equipment is more understandable than the descriptions supplied by software and hardware manufacturers. Perhaps most impressive are the images of brain function that depict EEG characteristics of common psychological disorders... By making the basics of neurofeedback accessible in one well-written volume, he has provided an invaluable service to psychologists and clients alike.”
- Activities, Adaptation, and Aging
“I highly recommend Getting Started with Neurofeedback as a basic and comprehensive text for students entering the field of neurofeedback, and as a basic reference for those already in practice.”
- Journal of Neurotherapy
About the Author
John N. Demos, MA, LCMHC, BCIA-EEG, is the Clinical Director of Neurofeedback of Southern Vermont, a complementary therapies clinic located in Brattleboro, VT. He is a licensed clinical mental health counselor and is certified in the field of EEG-biofeedback. He is also a member of the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback as well as of the International Society for Neuronal Regulation.
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Top customer reviews
It's Amazon's bad for not clearly stating this up front.
Cons: As a psychologist, I could keep up with the language and detailed neuroscience, but this book is not for those without advanced degrees in the medical, psychological or neurosciences.
The book begins with a brief introduction meant to assuage any skeptics by citing a few studies that give neurofeedback credibility. The meat of the book is divided into two parts; the first of which focuses on the biological and technical facts underlying neurofeedback, and the second of which is primarily a practical guide for the clinician who has decided to undertake neurotherapy. Demos begins with a history of the significant advances leading to the advent of neurofeedback. Though I understand he has a lot of ground to cover, I felt the history chapter was particularly lacking. The subjects he covered, such as Hans Berger and Carl Jung, were covered well, but almost the entire chapter focused on EEG, excluding all other forms of neurofeedback to the reader's detriment. The second chapter provides a very brief synopsis of the inner workings of the brain and nervous system, including a functional map of the brain. I felt this chapter was lacking in scope. Demos's target audience is supposedly composed of practicing healthcare providers, who I assume already have a workable knowledge of the brain. In my opinion a few of the biology based pages could have been put to better use as a more in depth history. I also felt that that functional map of the brain may lead readers to over generalize and assume that brain functions are localized identically in every person, which they most certainly are not.
The rest of Part I provides a concise, but informative introduction to neuroplasticity and the concept of biofeedback in general, and the most popular forms of neurofeedback currently in use specifically. Demos approaches the subject pragmatically, avoiding going into detail or illustrating with case studies at this juncture. Instead Part I reads like a beginners textbook, defining key terms and contrasting the various methods on a technological basis. Demos's explanations are thorough and easy to understand, if a bit stiff, but again the major flaw here is an almost single-minded focus on EEG (the form of neurofeedback Demos is personally licensed to practice). While EEG is undoubtedly the most popular form of neurofeedback today, its use is on the decline and if Demos was going to concentrate so heavily on this one form of neurofeedback he should have titled his book "Getting Started with EEG".
Demos is obviously much more comfortable speaking on practical matters, the core of Part II of the volume. Demos's tone shifts from that of a lecturer regurgitating facts to a conversationalist expounding on his favorite topic. Throughout most of the second half of the book he follows the same general format: reintroduce a form of neurofeedback whose technological background he explained in Part I, detail how to run a typical clinical session using this technique, present case studies, and examine problems he has personally encountered utilizing this method. The last few chapters are devoted to purely practical concerns: from the steps to take to become a certified neurotherapist, to the best location to start your practice, to the exact brand of prep gel he uses, to supportive phrases to use on clients. It is here that Demos truly shines. His practical advice is a would-be clinician's gold mine: a cheat sheet for the business or socially impaired. Demos may lack scientific acumen throughout the rest of the book, but his clinical expertise is dead on. The only fault I can find in Part II is that Demos approaches every problem wearing rose-colored glasses. Whether he doesn't want appear uninformed or simply doesn't realize they exist, besides warning the clinician to have a stack of supportive literature for skeptics always within reach, Demos never addresses the myriad claims currently circulating in the scientific community that accuse neurofeedback and all of its practitioners of being frauds incapable of producing tangible, reliable results.
From the introduction onward, Demos whole-heartedly endorses the concept of cortical localization. While I understand that some degree of reliable localization is necessary for the premise behind neurofeedback to remain viable, Demos's unqualified statements ("each region of the brain is associated with specific functional operations") make the half way knowledgeable reader question his expertise rather than reinforcing it. For someone who repeatedly stresses that his writing is intended for the healthcare professional, Demos would benefit from less blanket sensationalism and more cold, hard facts. I believe we can safely assume that anybody reading this book has sought it out specifically already possesses a rudimentary understanding of the brain and has at the least a passing familiarity with scientific research. This desire for scientific objectivity leads me to my second complaint: the rose-tinted nature of Demos's case outlines. While I don't necessary expect an in-depth analysis, Demos fails to point out a single limitation or point of possible contention with his case studies. For example, in his argument for EEG analyses as supplements to the DSM-IV criteria for ADHD Demos's primary piece of supporting evidence is a study in which 11 controls were used to characterize the "typical" EEG pattern of the human brain, then compared to 109 ADHD participants to establish a criteria of aberrant EEG activity on which diagnosis may be made. He fails to acknowledge that any brain activity map generated from only 11 people will be highly unreliable. When he does acknowledge neurofeedback's shortcomings, such as the high variability of responses in alpha/theta training, his advice is very useful.
Overall, my primary argument against this book is that though Demos's research is thorough, his presentation of it is not. For the majority of the book he comes across as an infomercial pitchman for neurofeedback rather than a scientist providing intelligent healthcare professionals with a realistic analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of integrating neurofeedback into their practice. If I were a healthcare professional reading this book I would discount the majority of Demos's claims out of mistrust. I am naturally hesitant with any practitioner who neglects to inform me of the associated risks. I think a better approach that would have more fully realized his professed goal in writing this book would have been to accompany the success stories with explanations of the current flaws in neurotherapy, his personal conjectures on how they might be overcome, and provide a few case studies in which neurotherapy was not successful or anecdotes about his own encounters with neurotherapy skeptics. Much about this book is incredibly helpful and, as I said, well researched. As an introduction to neurofeedback, it provides a wonderfully concise overview of current options in the field. Again, my only true complaint was that as a reader with a small bit of prior knowledge on the subject (which it is likely most readers of this volume will be), I often found myself frustrated by his bad science, but if you can read with a grain of salt don't let the book's rosy hue deter you from gleaning all of the valuable information within. If you ARE a healthcare provider looking to add neurotherapy to your repertoire, Demos's practical advice is positively sagely.