Conclusion: Training and Credentials of Biofeedback Therapists
The increasing popularity of biofeedback in dealing with disorders resulted in an increasing number of entities providing this service. Biofeedback “specialists” can be found in mental health clinics, universities, medical schools, hospitals, private practice etc. These persons hold degrees in psychology, social work, medicine, physical therapy, nursing and other associated fields.
Professionals themselves would like to see a move closer to formal training and testing in the area. Training, as of now is achieved in one of the few training programs or home-study courses. As insurance agencies are starting to reimburse for biofeedback services, they will require certification of the individual providing the service in the area of treatment.
Anyone can purchase biofeedback software and equipment. It is tremendously important, that the provider you are seeking is properly credentialed. BCIA, mentioned in a previous post, provides accreditation and educational programs that are not stemming from universities. They offer certification in General Biofeedback and for EEG Biofeedback.
Remember, these credentials are not always required to offer biofeedback, seeking a practitioner with these credentials could only enhance a clinicians knowledge. Here are the guidelines for general certification:
1. Introduction to biofeedback, 2. Stress and illness, 3. Psychophysiologic recording, 4. Neuromuscular applications, 5. ANS (Autonomous Nervous System), 6. EEG applications, 7. Adjunctive techniques and applications, Professional conduct.
EEG certification requires:
1. Introduction to biofeedback, 2. Research, 3. Basic neurophysiology and neuroanatomy, 4. EEG and electrophysiology, 5. Instrumentation, 6. Psycho-pharmacology considerations, 7. Treatment planning, 8. Other therapeutic techniques, 9. Professional conduct.
All certifications require training and an internship supervised by a certified member, followed by a written examination. The practitioner must participate in continued educational seminars or courses in order to stay certified. Certification is reviewed every 4 years.
Questions to ask a prospective biofeedback provider:
What are your credentials? Have you received extended training at workshops, seminars, or professional biofeedback training? Do you teach courses on the topic? Do you commit yourself to lifelong learning on the subject? Are you licensed in your specific field? Are you familiar with the application of biofeedback I am seeking treatment for? These questions are always a good start.
I hope I was able to shed some light on the very legitimate practice of biofeedback. Please feel free to comment or ask questions right here or contact:
Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB) 10200 West 44th Avenue Suite 304 Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 1-800-477-8892 303-422-8436 http://www.aapb.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1.
Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA) 10200 W. 44th Ave, Ste 310 Wheat Ridge, CO 80033-2840 Phone:303-420-2902 • FAX 303-422-8894 http://www.bcia.org/