Mental health treatment has seen significant advances in recent years, providing practitioners with the opportunity to effectively serve more people through innovative, research-backed interventions. Neuro rehabilitative services are among the more exciting new therapies available. These services provide a medication-free way to help individuals working through addiction and mental illnesses.
As is the case with most mental health interventions, the treatment is only as good as the professional administering it. Neuro rehab specialists are mental health care professionals trained to use neuro technologies to teach the brain to function more effectively. This specialization has unique duties and requires a high degree of education and experience.
What Are the Roles and Duties of a Neuro Rehab Specialist?
Neuro rehab specialists use advanced technologies to personalize clients’ treatment plans and help them navigate their mental health journey. While their duties may vary depending on their expertise and the practice they work in, several duties are consistent across fields.
Conduct Neuro-Psychological Evaluations
Neuro rehab specialists conduct thorough client evaluations to determine what treatment plan is the best fit for their needs. During these evaluation processes, the specialist assesses the parts of the brain that are impacted by the individual’s mental illness or addiction. They do this by using a quantitative Electroencephalogram, or qEEG, to map out the brain and track how treatment affects its functioning.
Monitor Clients During Treatment
Mental illnesses and addictions can have a profound effect on the brain and body and can cause neurological issues. Specialists monitor the client’s pulse, blood pressure, and breathing throughout each session to gauge the positive impact of treatment. They also implement Biosound, a special treatment in which individuals are brought to a state similar to the first sleep stage and then listen to carefully chosen audio selections that help to improve their feelings of self-worth.
Identify Dysregulation in the Brain
When someone has a serious mental illness or addiction, their brain often works differently than a “normal” brain. This can cause feelings of anxiety, stress. and depression. Neuro rehab specialists measure activity in the brain by using qEEG to identify areas with too little or too much activity, observe how different parts of the brain communicate with one another, and assess how effectively the brain calls out for resources.
qEEG compares the client’s brain to databases of healthy brains without addiction or mental illnesses and compares the individual’s dysregulated activity to normal activity. Specialists look at 19 broad areas of the brain as well as 47 areas in each of the brain’s two hemispheres. They have special training to analyze and interpret qEEG readings and determine the best course of treatment to address dysregulation.
Administers Neurofeedback Training
After the initial qEEG readings, the neuro rehab specialist has the information they need to determine which areas of the brain should be targeted via Neurofeedback training. Through this therapy, the specialist helps to retrain the brain and teach it to regulate the areas with the most significant dysfunction. This method lets specialists address symptoms related to addiction, hyperactivity, planning, multitasking, and mood dysregulation.
Throughout the process, the specialist provides the client with unbiased information on their addiction or mental illness while giving them the information and tools they need to overcome it. Through Neurofeedback Training, they can teach the individual how to self-regulate the areas of their brain that are impacted to return it to a normal state.
Incorporates Neurostimulation Therapies
Neurostimulation therapies have been proven to promote better brain functioning and help the brain heal from injuries and psychiatric conditions. With this type of therapy, the neuro rehab specialist administers a continuous string of electromagnetic pulses to the scalp. In response, neuronal activity increases under the areas where the pulses occur, causing that area of the brain to be activated. This can counteract the disruptions in normal functioning that may result from drug or alcohol use.
What Type of Certification Does a Neuro Rehab Specialist Have?
Generally speaking, individuals who administer neuro rehab services are certified through the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance. At a minimum, they must have a four-year degree in an approved health care field from an accredited university. This includes psychology, dentistry, nursing, social work, physical and occupational therapies, sports medicine and speech pathology, among others. In many cases, neuro rehab specialists have advanced degrees in behavioral health or neuroscience. Those who don’t have a degree in a related field can obtain Technician Level Certification, which includes courses on human anatomy and the theory of biofeedback as well as clinical experience.
If someone is using biofeedback to treat a mental illness or addiction, they must have a current license in the state they practice in or agree to work under the supervision of someone who has the necessary credentials.
A Day in the Life of a Neuro Rehab Specialist
Neuro rehab specialists may work in an inpatient or outpatient setting and in part- or full-time positions. They generally perform a wide range of tasks day to day, including interviewing clients, conducting assessments, and administering therapies. In most cases, specialists work during normal business hours. While their days may be busy, they don’t typically work on holidays and weekends.
Is Neuro Rehabilitation a Good Job?
Neuro rehabilitation is a rewarding job that allows individuals to effectively help those living with addiction or a mental health disorder. This type of therapy is noninvasive and doesn’t rely on medications, making it a great option for a larger pool of clients. Because it has a wide range of applications, neuro rehab specialists are often able to choose the environment that best suits their passions, field of education and professional experience and even schedule preferences.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for mental health care professionals is projected to significantly outpace other fields over the next decade. There will likely be a demand for neuro rehab specialists in the coming years, which may provide job security and competitive wages for those in this field.
While the outlook for neuro rehab specialists is very positive, there are a couple things to consider before pursuing this career. It requires an educational background in the medical field, which can be an obstacle for some due to time and money constraints. A career as a neuro rehab specialist is still within reach for those with degrees in other fields, but additional certifications are required before obtaining BCIA certification.
Is a Career in Neuro Rehabilitation Right for You?
A career in neuro rehabilitation provides you with the opportunity to help clients using cutting-edge technology. It may be ideal for those with an interest in brain functioning, addiction recovery, and mental illnesses. For many, this field is especially satisfying because it gives the opportunity to see meaningful, measurable improvements in clients. If you’re looking for a productive, exciting career in the mental health field, neuro rehabilitation could be a great fit.