What is a non-linear, dynamical system?

From the Summer 2011 Newsletter
NeurOPTIMAL® Neurofeedback
A Non-Linear, Dynamical Approach to Brain Training…OK! So what is a non-linear, dynamical system? Simple nonlinear, dynamical systems can exhibit completely unpredictable behavior (notice someone who is upset, or a hurricane or an avalanche- all non-linear systems), which might seem to be random.  This seemingly unpredictable behavior has been called ‘chaos’.We now know that the human brain is a non-linear, dynamical system that lives on the edge of chaos and order which allows for it’s tremendously sophisticated processing capabilities on behalf of our personal survival.  In the linear forms of neurofeedback, the practitioner uses a diagnosis to determine how to proceed with the client.  They will push and/or inhibit certain brainwave frequencies in order to get intended changes; a problem is the side effects that can come about from pushing a persons brain.In NeurOPTIMAL, we are using the same EEG, or electro-encephlagraph technology, in a completely different manner.  NeurOPTIMAL is a Negative Feedback approach and the linear forms are doing Operant Conditioning; NeurOPTIMAL takes away something each time the brain acts up rather than pushing it to change.  We know that the brain is self-organizing (a characteristic of a non-linear system), as are all non-linear systems.  As well, our brain with its one hundred billion or more cells learns and evolves from personal, direct experience.  We communicate with your brain in its own language it, in essence, anytime it is using energy inefficiently and since it is an energy saving system, it re-organizes itself.  Your benefit is that you more relaxed, present, and able to drop negative states easier when they get triggered since it takes allot of energy to remain upset or anxious or depressed.

We NeurOPTIMAL trainers are diagnostically agnostic, which means we don”t work from a diagnosis, but more simply, target perturbation in the present moment.  Perturbation is what happens when your brain is about to move into a state or phase shift.  When this happens, the brains has been hi-jacked and is no longer in the present; it is responding automatically and mechanically based on unresolved stress in that persons system.

In targeting perturbation, we evoke a biological response for dropping the event that is about to be produced (called the Orienting Response) and the brain must return to the present to assess if there is an actual threat to its survival.  Back to the present moment.

The brain being an energy saving system is why NeurOPTIMAL sees such good results across many conditions (download the entire ‘2008 Independent Survey’ of client self-report PDF), because most conditions are the result of unresolved stress that the body is trying to manage with its relief valve or compensatory activity (losing focus, getting angry, being depressed or anxious, being hyper-vigilant, and so on).  All these behaviors are the overloaded brain”s attempt to manage it’s inordinate internal pressure.