The occasion of Memorial Day 2011 is a good opportunity to reflect on what has been happening in the remediation of PTSD using our latest Infra-Low Frequency (ILF) neurofeedback training. The word breakthrough is over-used, but it does describe the progress that has occurred over the last several years. The most significant event over that time frame was the actual utilization of our methods on a large scale in realistic settings within the military. By now more than 350 service persons have experienced this training at Camp Pendleton, one of six military bases where this work is being conducted. In this fashion, we were able to move from a series of isolated clinical observations in our clinic to a more substantial evaluation in a real-world environment, with independent clinicians guiding the neurofeedback training on the basis of our standard introductory training course, plus the occasional consultation.
When neurofeedback is used on such a significant scale, even though it is in a clinical context, certain impressions take hold that rise to the level of accepted fact just as surely as if they had arisen out of a formal research program. For example, it was observed that service persons were more consistent in showing up for neurofeedback training than for any other mental health services on offer for PTSD. It is difficult to see such a finding coming out of formal research, where matters are typically more regimented and prescribed. Another advantage of the real-world setting is that a very broad range of symptom presentations is being encountered, as well as a distribution of symptom severity. This allows a comprehensive set of symptoms to be tracked through the training (on the order of 45 in this case), which would be quite atypical for a research design. An additional advantage was the opportunity to see some of the same persons both before and after deployment, so that impressions could be gained about the durability of the training effects in a combat environment. The clinical environment values the individual case, whereas in research such cases would be submerged in statistical analysis and the richness of detail would be lost.