Carol Ann Brayley, MSW, RSW, SEP

Design a Life You Love to Live

If you have tried talk therapy and didn't get where you wanted to be, I am the therapist you are looking for. Neurofeedback, SSP and Unyte-iLs Focus are all available as rental systems.. Please see or email to enquire.

Comprehensive Healing image
Are you tired of struggling and just want to feel better?  Do you sometimes feel as if you have tried everything and yet nothing has helped?  Have you sought help before and while you found new insights, your day to day life didn't improve as much as you had hoped?

I'd like to help.

I have trained in a variety of cutting edge approaches that are based upon the latest research on the brain and the nervous system. Many of the concerns that typically bring someone into therapy - issues such as anxiety, stress, depression, trauma, anger, addictions, autoimmune disorders and more - have at their root a dysregulated nervous system. This is why when we talk about our problems and obtain insight about them, we don't necessarily find that our symptoms improve. It is only by working with the body, the brain and the nervous system that we are likely to experience true and lasting improvement.

In addition to traditional talk therapy, I also offer Somatic Experiencing - a nervous system based approach to healing and Brainspotting (Phase 1, 2, 3, 4, Addictions, "Hero's Journey", "Brainspotting & Parts Therapy", and "From Freeze to Thaw").  Brainspotting is a simple yet powerful tool using focused gaze upon specific points of the visual field, in order to access healing in the subcortical brain and thus release trauma and other concerns, at a very deep level.  I am also currently training in Internal Family Systems Therapy (IFS), Transforming the Experience Based Brain (TEB), and Integral Somatic Psychology (ISP).

Some high tech tools that I have available for use either in office with me, or as rental systems to use at home, are NeurOptimal neurofeedback, and the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP) by Stephen Porges, as well as the Focus System from Unyte-iLs. Each of these systems, in different ways, help to promote optimal functioning of the brain, nervous system, and associated bodily systems. Improvements are often noted with concerns such as tinnitus, brain injuries, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, misophonia, chemo brain, learning disabilities, migraines, alzheimers, dementia, sports performance, academic performance, autism spectrum disorders, and more - depending upon the system. Neurofeedback, SSP and Focus are all available either in office, or as rentals for home use. Please see the neurofeedback, SSP and Focus pages for additional information.  Unsure which to try?  Please email me to discuss your needs and preferences.

Rather than simply learning how to cope better with their symptoms - which is often what happens when talk therapy is used alone - many of my clients now find that they simply don't get as anxious, stressed or depressed, etc... in relation to events that previously would have really triggered them. I find in my own life, I often suddenly realize I have simply forgotten to be anxious or upset, and that I have been applying the calming skills I have learned without even being fully conscious of doing so.

Other approaches I am trained in include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Mindfulness, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Energy Psychology, and Energy Medicine.

I provide a very comfortable and peaceful environment in my home office, located in Georgetown, Ontario.

Although healing work can definitely include difficult feelings at times, I am someone who has a quirky sense of humour that my clients tend to really enjoy. As a result, sessions with me often include more gentle laughter together than one might typically expect in therapy.

In addition to having over 27 years of experience as a psychotherapist, I also have been through a lot in my own life, so I am also very familiar with what it is like to be a client and the special mix of feelings, hopes and fears that that can include.

Before starting my private practice over 17 years ago, I was a therapist for 10 years at Hamilton Health Sciences' McMaster University Medical Centre, predominantly in the Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence Care Centre.

I am assisted in my home office by my Jasper, my 8 year old beagle who is a St. John's Ambulance therapy dog, Molly, a 3 year old ragdoll cat, and Amy, an almost 2 year old multigenerational Australian labradoodle.  Please advise me if the pets' presence in my home office poses any difficulty for you.

Why wait to feel better?  Click here to book online now!

Ready to book? Online scheduling is available! See below....

If we have not worked together previously, or if it has been more than 6 months since I last saw you, please contact me first to discuss my availability and your needs, prior to booking. Due to COVID sessions are online or by phone only.

Individual Therapy

Psychotherapy sessions for those aged 16 and up

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I offer brain training neurofeedback sessions to all ages. CURRENTLY NEUROFEEDBACK IS AVAILABLE THROUGH RENTAL SYSTEMS ONLY

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SSP Listening Session

After contacting us in relation to receiving the Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP) you can schedule an online session for those aged 13 and up, to begin SSP listening. For those aged 12 and under, no appointment is necessary - please email to enquire.

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Individual & Group Clinical Consultations for SSP Practitioners

Clinical consultations for psychotherapists and other practitioners in relation to the Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP).

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Easy to use, safe and gentle neurofeedback systems available. Sessions for as little as $12 each, in the comfort of your own home, at times that work best for you. Brain training is wonderful for everyone - sessions can be shared among family members. Delivery throughout GTA and surrounding area available.

Click here to watch videos about Neurofeedback's use with a wide range of concerns.


Anyone with a brain can benefit from neurofeedback!  This is because training your brain with neurofeedback will get you functioning at your best, whatever that best is.

Neurofeedback is used by peak performing athletes, artists, and business people who want to achieve and maintain their edge. Neurofeedback is also used by individuals who feel they are not functioning at their best, including many adults and children with severe impairments, who are struggling with their mood, or who want a drug-free approach to feeling and functioning optimally.

How is it possible that one tool can work for widely different brains and purposes? It’s all to do with brain optimization. The various complaints we all suffer can be considered signs the brain is not functioning at its optimal level. Doing brain training through neurofeedback can change that.

It doesn’t matter if you are looking for changes on a physical, emotional or mental level — you only have one brain and it affects everything in your body. While you may have one reason for using neurofeedback positive changes can show in across all areas of your life.

For example, in my own life, I was motivated to try neurofeedback in order to help with my sleep. My sleep did improve but I also had less anxiety, I felt happier, had more energy, food cravings and emotional eating were completely eliminated, my focus was better, my allergy to dairy became less, my seasonal allergies improved - even my eyesight improved.

Many people who choose to do brain training report life changing results. A number of elite athletes have used neurofeedback to obtain improvement in their physical performance and mental stamina. Sufferers of sleeplessness report improved sleep. Veterans use it stating it helps relieve the extreme challenges they face returning home from a war zone. Mentally clouded individuals, due to injury or life circumstances, tell us how after using neurofeedback they’ve rediscovered clarity to an extent they and their loved ones once believed unattainable. Brain training through neurofeedback has helped improve the lives of children suffering from communication and social challenges, and general difficulties focusing in school. And many challenges stemming from stress commonly fall away when the brain is trained for optimal function.

With neurofeedback, your label or diagnosis - or lack thereof - does not change how we approach brain training. All you will need to do during sessions is to sit in the chair and relax. Yet despite being so easy, the change experienced is comprehensive, and not just in the area that is hoped for. The benefits manifest across many areas of functioning. Best of all, neurofeedback is completely safe and has no side effects.

Rest assured, whatever your situation, you are almost certain to significantly upgrade your quality of life by training your brain through neurofeedback.

Some suggestions for its use are:

Wellness enhancement
Improving mood & happiness
Increasing energy
Improved digestion
Stress reduction
Facilitate return of veterans into home and work life
Academic and job enhancement
Athletic and sports training
Optimizing your intelligence with improved brain function
Preparation for testing: improved focus, attention and retention, reduction of test anxiety
As part of an anti-aging program
Enhancing creativity and awareness
Personal and spiritual development in individual and group settings
Enriching partner, family and work relationships
Group training in retreat settings

Neurofeedback Rental System Pricing

Up to 10 sessions over 4 weeks for $650
Up to 20 sessions over 4 weeks for $800
Up to 50 sessions over 4 weeks for $1000
Up to 100 sessions over 4 weeks for $1200

Neurofeedback image

Since May 2019, I have offered SSP to a few hundred people, from ages 2 - 78 years old, from all over the world. I specialize in offering SSP to people dealing with the most complex situations, and offer consultation to other SSP practitioners to help them learn how to deliver SSP to allow for best possible results.

Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP) image

Are you looking for help and information in relation to the Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP)?

Please visit  There are new offerings there, including online groups for both SSP clients and practitioners, a greatly expanded FAQ section about SSP, and much more.

You can still read about my own responses to SSP and that of my dogs on my blog.  SSP related posts begin July 2019 and if you scroll up from there, there are many more.

You also can watch a video here, where I am interviewed by the parent of a little boy on the spectrum, who did SSP with me.

My associate Hailey Rowland, BSW, now has her own website she can be found at.  She uses the same approach that I do and has now worked with quite a number of children with ASD and sensory related concerns, as well as a few adults, including some with trauma.  

Carol Ann Brayley (formerly Rowland), MSW, RSW, SEP


With over 27 years of experience as a psychotherapist, Carol Ann absolutely loves her work, is extremely passionate about finding the best, most effective tools for her clients, and finds that bringing more joy to her clients' lives, brings more joy to hers.

Hailey Rowland Fawcett, BSW

Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP) Practitioner

I am excited to welcome Hailey as the newest associate of Halton Therapy & Neurofeedback. Hailey graduated from the BSW program in 2019, became certificied in SSP in the summer of 2022, and attended the PVI Gathering Unyte-iLS SSP Summit October 2022. Hailey has embraced offering SSP with enthusiasm and already has experience in relation to ADHD, selective mutism, young moms, trauma and misophonia.


Office Jester & Therapy Dog

Jasper is a 7 year old St. John's Ambulance Therapy Dog. In addition to his work at Halton Therapy & Neurofeedback, Jasper has friends throughout Georgetown, volunteering with Carol Ann to visit nursing homes, schools, addiction programs, community events, and more. While Jasper is sometimes felt to not necessarily be the smartest boy, he is almost universally agreed upon as being one of the silliest and sweetest boys. Jasper too has had a remarkable response to SSP - after two rounds of SSP he is no longer afraid of fireworks, thunderstorms or other loud noises! You can read about this on my blog. :)


Office Manager & Therapy Cat

Molly is a two year old Ragdoll cat. Ragdolls are a less allergenic breed. While Molly's actual role is truly one of therapy cat, being a cat, she believes she is the one in charge and, in some respects, she is not wrong. During sessions, Molly loves to either supportively sleep on her climber, or to snuggle with those clients who welcome her sitting with them. Many clients find that Molly makes a most excellent fidget toy. Even people who usually don't like cats, typically love Molly who has many dog-like traits, including that she loves to have her tummy rubbed. :)



Amy is our newest intern. She is a mini Australian Labradoodle. Being very early in her training, she is still learning. She is currently working on recognizing that snuggles and the occasional doggy kiss are likely to have a greater therapeutic effect than nibbling on fingers and toes. However, she is progressing rapidly. ❤️


Office Mascott

Sadly, Maggie, our much beloved office mascot passed away recently at 15 1/2 years old. While she is no longer with us, it is well worth checking out my blog to read about the amazing transformation she experienced with SSP - she had always had anxious-aggressive barking which stopped completely after one round of SSP, as well as her having an astonishing reduction of chronic pain from arthritis. Clients who had been coming for a while have been amazed at the changes in her, as has all of her family! More people decided to do SSP after watching her change over time, than I could possibly have anticipated. :)

Pricing image
Services me are covered under extended health plans that cover counselling with a social worker rather than requiring that the therapist be a psychologist.  Please check with your plan provider to verify the limits of our coverage.


$180 CDN (about $132 USD) for a one hour session whether online, by phone or in person.

SSP with Carol Ann Brayley, MSW, RSW, SEP 

SSP for kids aged 12 & under is $480 CDN (about $325 US)
SSP for teens and adults is $660 CDN (about $485 US)

SSP with Hailey Rowland Fawcett, BSW

SSP for kids aged 12 & under is $400 CDN (about $325 US)
SSP for teens and adults is $520 CDN (about $390 US)

Additional family members aged 12 & under are $120 CDN/$90 US each
Additional family members who are teens or adults are an additional $320 CDN/approx $235 US each)

The fee for those aged 13 and up includes an online session in which the beginning of listening is observed.  This session is not necessary for those aged 12 and under.

Subsequent rounds of SSP when the first round was done with us, are $320 CDN/approx $240 USD

These fees include access to the app for up to 4 months for individuals ore up to 6 months when multiple family members are doing SSP Core, sequentially.

These fees also include access to all three SSP pathways if desired (Connect, Core & Balance) within the 4-6 month period.

Want to stay on the app to continue to access SSP Balance and/or SSP Connect on a. regular basis? This can be added one or an additional $50 CDN/$40 US fee per month.

Additional rounds of SSP

Most people will benefit from repeating SSP at some point though it is important to wait at least 3 months in between rounds of SSP Core.

Subsequent rounds of SSP are $320 CDN/$235 US each for all ages, when the initial round was done with either Carol Ann Brayley, MSW, RSW, SEP or Hailey Rowland Fawcett, BSW

For those who live in Ontario Canada and have extended health plans that cover therapy with a social worker the majority the fee is likely to be covered, within the limits and restrictions of their plan.  Please contact us for details.

Please note:  the above SSP pricing applies to remote access to SSP in which all (for ages 12 and under) or most (for those aged 13 and up) of listening will be done without a practitioner directly observing but with a friend or family member (someone the listener feels safe and comfortable with) present, if possible..  It is important that those accessing remote use of SSP stay in touch with their provider over email, checking in every day or two ideally, so the the process is supervised throughout. 

SSP is not considered the "end" of treatment but rather than beginning as, by shifting physiology, it boosts the effectiveness and efficiency of all other approaches that someone accesses. It is best followed by other approaches relevant for the particular individual, such as neurofeedack, iLs Focus, occupational therapy, psychotherapy, etc...

Unyte-iLS Focus 

NEW!!  Focus has moved to a digital delivery format which now allows me to supervise remote use of
Unyte-iLs Focus to people located virtually anywhere.

To receive Focus, you will need to purchase an "activity" back from the Unyte-iLs company. Please enquire for details

You then will be using your own device together with the activity pack which includes: an amplifier, bone-conducting headphones, waist pack, balance board, 2 bean bags, 1 racket ball, 1 tethered tennis ball, headband, Playbook, manual and carry bag.

  • Monthly fee (pay as you go): $240 CDN (approx $177 US)
  • 6 month access (pay for 6 months up front): $960 (approx $710 US)
  • 12 month access (pay for 12 months up front): $1600 (approx $1175 US)
Additional family members for iLs Focus are:

  • Monthly fee (pay as you go): $120 CDN (approx $90 US)
  • 6 month access (pay for 6 months up front): $480 CDN (approx $355 US)
  • 12 month access (pay for 12 months up front): $800 CDN (approx $590 US)


In office neurofeedback sessions, when available:

$135 per session (45 mins, 32 mins of which is neurofeedback) - Currently I do not have space for new Neurofeedback clients for in office sessions - I do have rental systems for home use, however.

Neurofeedback Rental Units Available!

Rent a neurofeedback tablet and use it in the comfort of your own home, for your family and friends.  Many clients like to rent because it’s the cheapest way to have a neurofeedback session. If you have a family, renting is convenient - no need to get everybody into the car, just run sessions at home. For clients who live out of town, renting might be the only option. Feel free to share your sessions with friends and family, if desired.  Anyone can benefit from brain training.  Fastest change is often seen when doing sessions more frequently - it can be beneficial to do up to two brain training sessions per day.

Neurofeedback Rental Packages

Feel free to share your sessions with friends and family!

Up to 10 sessions, over 4 weeks.......$650 ($65 per session)
Up to 20 sessions, over 4 weeks......$800 ($40 per session)
Up to 50 sessions, over 4 weeks......$1000 ($20 per session)
Up to 100 sessions, over 4 weeks.....$1200 ($12 per session)

Neurofeedback rental units are available on a first come, first served basis.  .

Neurofeedback units are also available for purchase.  Should you choose to purchase your own NEW unit after renting one from me, I will rebate up to $100 of your rental fee. Please enquire for details prior to purchasing.

Neurofeedback & Psychotherapy combination sessions are available 

$270 for 90 mins (45 mins of neurofeedback + 45 mins of psychotherapy)
$360 for 2 hours (45 mins of neurofeedback + 75 mins of psychotherapy)

Ready to start?  Click here to book online now!

  •  10/09/2022 12:59 PM

What improvements can I expect from Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP)?

Read More
  •  08/12/2022 09:00 PM

Interested in a discounted rate for SSP with kids? Hailey Rowland Fawcett, BSW is a fully certified SSP provider who is offering a discounted rate for SSP until December 31, 2022.

Read More
  •  01/31/2022 06:00 PM

An update on Amy and Jasper's latest response to SSP

Read More
  •  10/10/2021 01:02 PM

Read how Amy, a 5 month old puppy with anxious aggressive barking and sound sensitivity, is responding to her first round of SSP.

Read More
  •  05/11/2021 03:47 PM

Please read this wonderfully informative article by Emma Ashfield. Emma is a highly regarded SSP practitioner in the UK who specializes in neuro-developmental therapy, offering SSP, primitive reflex integration, and iLs Focus

Read More
  •  03/09/2021 03:32 PM

Watch as I am being interviewed by the parent of a little boy on the spectrum that I did SSP with. Related topics covered are using SSP with those with trauma, and neurofeedback and the similarities and differences between them.

Read More
  •  07/18/2020 11:22 PM

Jasper, my rescue dog's response to a second round of SSP. He is no longer afraid of fireworks, thunderstorms, or even loud crashing and banging right at his own home.

Read More
  •  03/26/2020 10:37 AM

A very simple energy healing approach that anyone can use, anywhere and at any time, to help emotional distress to settle.

Read More
  •  03/24/2020 02:46 PM

Carol Ann Rowland, MSW, RSW, SEP describes how to use the Somatic Experiencing skill of physically orienting to help to settle feelings of stress, anxiety and turmoil

Read More
  •  03/22/2020 09:46 PM

Some simple ideas from Somatic Experiencing, for how you can settle your nervous system during this time of universal stress and distress.

Read More
  •  01/24/2020 02:34 PM

My own journey over the course of three rounds of SSP

Read More
  •  01/24/2020 02:18 PM

Jasper - a 5 year old rescue dog - and his response to the Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP), a 5 hour auditory intervention

Read More

Where should I begin?

In the vast majority of situations, the best place to begin is with SSP.

By very rapidly shifting physiology, SSP sets a better platform for any other approach to work more effectively and more efficiently, thus saving both money and time.

However, there are a few caveats:

  • SSP can initially for some people cause the nervous system to become more sensitive and more reactive.  Basically, at the start, things may become worse rather than better.  For this reason, we do not begin SSP when someone is already at the limit of what they feel they can deal with.
  • With SSP, in order for the process to be both as smooth as possible and as effective as possible, it is important to have someone who is a support or at least neutral, to be there with you while you listen.
  • SSP is likely to be much more tumultuous and potentially less likely to be effective when someone is living with someone who is toxic, hurtful ,or angry towards them, consistently.
For these reasons, sometimes I may suggest someone begin with neurofeedback or the "Calming" program on the Focus System instead of, or prior to beginning SSP

In situations where there is someone in the home that tends to "rock the boat" for the individual - being more angry or stressed or difficult - I often will suggest that the family, if willing, all begin with neurofeedback and share the sessions so that everyone at home can be feeling better and more peaceful before beginning SSP.

Similarly, it may be that the family share some or part of a course of Focus System programs (likely the "calming" programs) to help everyone in the home become better regulated and more able to support the SSP process.

SSP is best followed by another approach, either Focus or Neurofeedback or, potentially one and then the other. Or, SSP can be followed with occupational therapy when relevant for the individual or psychotherapy, preferably a nervous system based approach to psychotherapy and/or one that involves rapid and gentle trauma processing.

Somatic experiencing can be a wonderful place to start.  If you are not already working with an SE therapist and prefer to work individually, you can check here to find an SE therapist in your area.

I do offer online somatic experiencing skills groups.  While anyone is welcome to attend them, my focus currently is to offer them for people who are preparing to do SSP, currently doing SSP, or have done SSP and want to continue to strengthen their resiliency.  

Whether you are doing (or have done) SSP with myself or another SSP practitioner, you are welcome to attend my groups. 

In some cases we may choose to begin by using SSP Connect in order to ideally bring more regulation into the nervous system prior to starting SSP Core.

I may also suggest NeurOptimal neurofeedback as a method to use prior to beginning SSP Core, to bring more regulation on board.

In situations where there is a great deal of stress in the home, and/or someone in the home that tends to "rock the boat" for the individual - being angry or stressed or difficult - I often will suggest that as much of the family as possible, begin with a NeurOptimal rental system for home use and share the sessions so that everyone at home can, ideally, be feeling better and even a little more harmonious, which then sets a better platform from which to do SSP.

NeurOptimal is also one of the approaches I highly recommend following SSP with.  

If you are within Canada I have NeurOptimal rental systems available for home use.  Renting NeurOptimal is one of the most cost effective ways of doing neurofeedback.  If you are in the US or the UK, I have someone I can refer you to to access a NeurOptimal home rental system.

The iLs Focus System - another remarkably effective system that I highly recommend following SSP with - also can be used prior to beginning SSP, in order to settle the nervous system and bring more regulation on board.

As with NeurOptimal, use of the Focus System programs can be used to increase resilience in the individuals nervous system as well as potentially the system being shared among family members to help everyone in the home become better regulated and more able to support the SSP process.

Do the changes created with these systems last over time?

In most cases, yes, with a few caveats:

  • Someone with very entrenched and chronic concerns - such as complex trauma or trauma experienced early in life, autism spectrum disorders, chemical sensitivities, and/or very complex presentation - are likely to need more than one round of SSP and/or Focus,  and are more likely to benefit from ongoing or periodic revisiting of neurofeedback.  This could look like renting a neurofeedback system once per year, or repeating SSP every three months, or purchasing ones own neurofeedback or Focus system so that one can access it intermittently, as needed.
  • Our lives do not stay constant.  So we can work on ourselves and get our nervous system really well regulated, and then go through a traumatic event or other types of extreme stress.  In these cases it is likely that one would just need a "booster" of SSP, Focus and/or neurofeedback, rather than completely starting over.  With neurofeedback, for example,  if one had initially needed 30 sessions to reach one's goals, it may be that a few sessions are all that is needed to feel back on track, rather than doing another 30.
  • Some shifts may be age related.  With neurofeedback, for example, a fairly common experience is to have one's eyesight improve.  If age related eyesight deterioration improves with NeurOptimal, as one continues to age, deterioration is going to resume at some point.  While brain training is wonderful, it isn't magic.  :)
  • Many people choose to repeat SSP, Focus, or neurofeedback not because they lost the gains they had made, but because they found it so transformative that they can't wait to see what things will irmprove on a subsequent round.  For myself ,for example, with neurofeedback, initially my sleep and energy levels and mood improved. With further training, I hewas completely eliminated, and I noticed I became much more (calmly and effortlessly) assertive with others and more able to set boundaries.  On my second round of SSP, I didn't choose the best timing and did it right before moving and am not aware of experiencing improvement that round as I was just too stressed to be able to respond well to SSP.  However,r on my third round of SSP my chronic pain improved - going from a 7 out of 10, down to a 0 or 1 out of 10.  It is fine to repeat SSP once every three months and now that I am about 5 month post the third round of SSP I am starting to notice pain levels creeping back in at about a 3 or 4 out of 10, which tells me it is time to repeat SSP.

How long will it take to see results?

The answer to this is "it depends".  It is a little like asking how many times do we need to go to the gym to reach our fitness goals, or how long will it take for my child to be toilet trained, or to learn to ride a bike, etc...

Every brain is different so we can never be sure what any one individual's experience is going to look like, regardless of the system being used.

With neurofeedback, while some people have a dramatic response to just one or a few sessions, it is more typical that improvements show up gradually and then cumulate over time. It is fairly typical when I hook someone up for a second or third neurofeedback session and ask them what changes they are noticing that they will say "I think X issue is improving but maybe it was just a better week than usual". However, usually by a 4th or 5th neurofeedback session - and sometimes even after the very first session - people are certain that are seeing a change because some situation has come up that usually would have been really difficult and they found it just rolled off of them.  

NeurOptimal neurofeedback is not considered a treatment or a therapy as the brain is in charge with this system.  This means there is a much lower risk of side effects than with some other forms of neurofeedback but, it also means that we can not control where improvements show up first.  It may be that someone has a dramatic improvement right from a first or second session of neurofeedback - I have seen responses like dramatically improved eyesight or dramatically improved sleep or energy levels after just one or two sessions - but that it takes several more sessions for the issue that first motivated someone to access neurofeedback (depression, anxiety, etc...) to show improvement.  If someone has done SSP prior to doing Neurofeedback they are likely to see improvements sooner and/or more dramatically, in most cases.

With NeurOptimal as long as there is a change in the duration, intensity or frequency of symptoms in some area of life, we know that the brain is responding and that we are on the right track and it is just a matter of time before improvements show up in the desired areas.

With SSP there are people who notice an obvious improvement within the first 10 minutes of listening, and there are people who aren't aware of changes until a few weeks after they complete the SSP process. While there are some people who don't show an obvious response to a first round of SSP that is quite rare, and most of those individuals will show improvement on a subsequent around should they choose to repeat SSP. It takes 2-7 weeks after the SSP process is complete for all of the changes to show up so we don't decide it hasn't worked for someone until we are past the 7 week mark post SSP listening.

With Focus, it may depend upon how often people are using Focus. Someone who is using it for five hours per week for an hour each time and doing all of the activities is likely to see a shift much sooner than someone who is using it just three hours per week. Most people may start to see improvement with Focus within a couple of weeks of beginning, though they may be quite subtle at first.  Gains tend to become more often after about 4-6 months.   If someone has done SSP prior to doing Focus they are likely to see improvements faster and in some cases, much faster and more dramatically - but every nervous system is different.  

Are there any contraindications to using these systems?

With NeurOptimal neurofeedback, I am not aware of any contraindications to using this system. While there are people who initially may have an uptick in agitation or anxiety when they first begin brain training, this type of response is relatively rare and is likely to settle fairly quickly with appropriate information and the right type of approach:  going to the place of neutral observer and simply being "curious" about this interesting nervous system response, and/or using a weighted blanket during or after neurofeedback sessions, rather than worrying about the response and having anxiety about the anxiety or agitation, which then can become a runaway train.

it is typically fine to use NeurOptimal neurofeedback as soon as possible after a brain injury.  

The vast majority of people find NeurOptimal sessions extremely relaxing, to the point that there are some people who simply can not stay awake during them.

With SSP, SSP should not be used by those with seizure disorders unless they have been seizure free for at least one year prior to beginning SSP and after consulting with their neurologist.   

SSP should not be used during the acute stage post concussion and not without medical consultation - which I can access at no cost - after recent brain injury.

The Focus System is NOT recommended for those with bipolar depression or seizure disorders.

What can I do during sessions?

NeurOptimal neurofeedback is a passive system  It is not necessary to pay attention during session.  As long as one is hooked up and the sensors stay attached and one can hear the music - preferably as the most dominant sound in the background - it is fine to do whatever you like.  You may use your tablet or phone, have a nap, or read a book.  Many people find that if they do homework or written work during NeurOptimal sessions that the work goes much faster and more easily than usual.

NeurOptimal can be used on people who are in comas. Sometimes parents of young children who may not want to sit still or keep the sensors on will hook their children up while they are in a heavy state of sleep. It is important to stay in the room to watch and be sure the child does not in their sleep become tangled in the sensors and cords both for safety reasons and to ensure the sessions are effective. I also have children's TV shows and movies loaded onto the neurofeedback tablets so that the neurofeedback can be delivered through the audio of those programs, thus being more likely to help a young child stay cooperative and engaged during the process. Though they can also be watching another movie without sound on, or playing games on a tablet with the sound off.

During SSP sessions, it is important that most of your focus be upon actively listening to the music.  So it is important to NOT be on a tablet, phone or any kind of screen during sessions.  No reading or writing during SSP sessions.  If someone falls asleep during an SSP session, they ideally need to go back to where they last remember hearing the music and repeat the portion that they slept through.

It is important that SSP sessions occur with as little background noise as possible, and with a support person present who just need to notice if the person listening is looking at them so that they can response with eye contact and a warm smile and/or affection as comfortable for the individuals.  Connection, contact and support very much increases the effectiveness of SSP as well as helping the process to be easier and more gentle.

During Focus sessions there are different recommended activities to do, outlined in the "playbook" that accompanies the Focus system. The Focus system includes a waist pack so that you can easily move around while listening.  These activities start out as being very simple and the slowly increase in challenge as the individual masters the previous level of activity. The activities are not intense and many of them are fun and feel good to do.  The activities typically take up about 15 minutes of Focus per hour of listening. The remaining 45 hours of listening you are free to sit and relax or do activities as interesest you. For myself when I am doing Focus, I start my day with it and, after doing the 15 minutes or so of Focus playbook activities I get ready for work, knit, or tidy the house.

During Focus and NeurOptimal neurofeedback it is typically fine to do things like colour, knit, play with legos, draw, do sensory activities like a child searching for little toys in a bit of beans or rice, playing with kinetic sand, and so on.  These activities are equally acceptable and potentially even helpful during SSP  as long as the person is still able to keep most of their focus upon actively listening.  So, for example a very experienced knitter may be fine to knit a simple project during SSP but someone knew to knitting who has to think a lot and focus a lot upon the knitting as they do it, it would not be recommended that they knit during SSP.