I obtained a letter that will be sent to the American Psychological Association (APA) from concerned psychologists regarding APA’s failure to acknowledge the positive contributions of clinicians and researchers involved in quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG) and neurofeedback. The writer also briefly touches on a current controversy in the field that involves admittance of QEEG evidence into legal proceedings. I hope to have a future article dedicated to this debate between neurology and psychology and the use of QEEG. Thanks to Dr. Merlyn Hurd for her willingness to allow this letter to be published in this website. I wish these psychologists the very best in this important endeavor. Here is the complete letter:
Merlyn Hurd PhD; BCIAC/EEG Fellow
88 University Place, 8th Floor
New York, New York 10003
NYState Lic 7301
Tel: 212 807 8690
March 09 2009
James H Bray PhD, President APA
Rhea K. Farberman, Executive Editor Monitor on Psychology
750 First Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20002-4242
Dear Drs. Bray and Farberman,
Imagine the excitement of seeing “Brain Imaging” on the front of the Monitor for the March 2009 edition. Finally, the APA is writing about QEEGs (quantitative electroencephalograms) and the types of work that is being done by thousands of psychologists in the neurofeedback world.
No, the first article is “A pacemaker for your brain?” which reviews the effect of deep brain stimulation (DBS) for the treatment of depression. The second article “From the Research Lab” informed us about implanting electrodes on the surface of the brain to pinpoint where to surgically remove parts of the brain to correct the disorder from which the client was suffering. The instrument discussed is fMRI. Perhaps I have not been keeping up with the areas of scope of practice for psychologists but this falls under medical procedures and few psychologists can afford an fMRI machine in their private office. Yes, many psychologists work with fMRI’s in hospital settings, still it is a small number compared to the number of psychologists/neurofeedback therapists in the United States.
It is time the APA and the Monitor recognize the value of the thousands of psychologists around the world and approximately 3000 in the USA who use non invasive imaging techniques and treatments/training to reduce/eliminate epilepsy, traumatic brain injury; depression; ADHD; and a host of other disorders. As you probably know, early on, neurofeedback was, studied and researched in psychology laboratories,and is based on the principles of operant conditioning, which is a major area of development and focus for psychologists (beginning with its founder, psychologist B.F. Skinner) Some of the most seminal research in brain imaging and neurofeedback was and is conducted by psychologists (for example Barry Sterman, Ph.D whose research led to the validity of neurofeedback, Joel Lubar, Ph.D. and Robert Thatcher, Ph.D.). Also early studies by Steven S. Fox, Ph.D. ( Univ. of Iowa, dept of psychology) with his 1967-1971 EEG/EP operant conditioning studies in cats and humans as well as Peter Rosenfeld, Ph.D. and Alan Rudell, Ph.D. who also published rigorous scientific studies on EEG/EP biofeedback in the late 1960s and early 1970s need to be recognized.
Do not be persuaded by the American Neurological Academy’s viewpoint that QEEGs are not valid. Recently, in a court case in NY State the QEEG was admitted as meeting Daubert criteria. This is one of many in the United States courts that have admitted QEEG’S as part of the defense. It submitted thousands of studies using QEEG to verify its validity. The criterion used to locate the studies were computerized analysis of QEEG results. Also do not be persuaded that the Neurofeedback training is not valid, especially, when hundreds of studies have shown excellent outcomes. These studies have been published in numerous journals.
Furthermore, Carl U. Weitman, Phd., F. BCIA-EEG chaired a liaison task force from 1995-97 between APA and AAPB that resulted in the APA practice directorate and APA council recognizing neurofeedback and QEEG as proficiencies within the scope of psychology; applied psychophysiology and biofeedback. Among the results, state boards aligned their views with those of the practice directorate. In the interim, the practice code 90876 came to be “Psychophysiological Psychotherapy.
Perhaps you could see to having an edition that looks at Brain Imaging that employs the techniques that psychologists use and the training that they employ guided by those images and interpretations which are against normative databases.
Please log on to isnr.org; aapb.org; skiltopo.com and appliedneuroscience.com to review the studies, member’s lists and activities of these professional organizations.
Thank you for your kind attention to this letter.
Merlyn Hurd PhD; BCIAC/EEG Fellow
Editor of NeuroConnections.. ISNR/AAPB Neurofeedback division Newsletter
Gerald Gluck Ph.D
Marvin H. Berman Ph.D.
Laurence R. Lewis Ph.D.
Alfred Collins Ph.D.; BCIA-EEG
Anne Ward Steven Ph.D.
David Cantor Ph.D.