[esnr] New Society Concept

  • From: "Gruzelier, John H" <j.gruzelier@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <ESNR@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 13:06:28 +0100

This was the attachment that was sent to members, and is posted here for ease 
of reference.

Resume of the New Society Concept.

This is an overview of the main issues that the Board and members have 
discussed about the role of our Society in the European context, and the 
changes envisaged leading to a Referendum and vote on changes to the Bye-laws 
(these will be forwarded in separate attachments).  
        *       The Board proposes independence from the iSNR now that the 
chapter has grown rapidly to adult status with the wish to stand on its own 
feet and shape its future.
        *       The Board proposes the establishment of the Society of Applied 
Neuroscience (SAN), an international society.  
        *       The membership of SAN will consist of both scientists and 
practitioners with interests in both basic and applied neuroscience.
        *       It will collect its own dues and be financially autonomous.
        *       SAN will encompass, aside from  EEG-biofeedback and peripheral 
biofeedback, a range of interests and domains of applied neuroscience including 
brain-computer interface (BCI), cortical reorganisation through behavioural 
approaches, MEG, neurorehabilitation, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), 
        *       The Society will set up Training and Certification procedures 
for biofeedback with university affiliation.
        *       The Society proposes to establish a journal entitled the 
Journal of Applied Neuroscience. 
        *       The society will maintain strong links through affiliation with 
ISNR, and will also seek affiliation with other related societies.
        *       The membership of the society will be international.
        *       The Society sees a vital need to promote basic science that 
validates applied treatment and behavioural-change approaches. 

Evidence-Based Therapy and Best Practice.
In Europe there is a firm commitment to 'evidence-based' medicine and 
applications in nonmedical fields.  There is also a firm commitment to 'best 
practice', i.e., creating the most efficacious treatments or outcomes, often 
through the combining of therapeutic approaches. 
The neurotherapy movement has largely proceeded without scientific validation.  
This is because the development of neurotherapy has not proceeded in consort 
with basic science.  Mainstream science has been of the mistaken opinion that 
biofeedback does not work.  Basic scientists have not been attracted to attend 
the conferences and to become members of biofeedback societies.

The European clinical membership have expressed particular concern about the 
lack of an evidence-base for neurotherapy.  Elsewhere in science there have 
been notable developments in understanding mind-body connections.  Cognitive 
neuroscience has grown quite spectacularly, but has largely ignored 
biofeedback.  Cognitive neuroscience clinical research has included 
neuropsychological rehabilitation, brain reorganisation through behavioural 
intervention, and now fMRI investigations of therapeutic outcome, including 
psychotherapy.  All these issues are germane to neurofeedback treatment and 
research, and we all would gain through cross fertilisation.  

At the same time there has been a spectacular growth in psychological therapies 
such as CBT, EMDT and mindfulness training, and with very eclectic strategies 
for integrating therapeutic approaches.  This rarely has extended to encompass 
biofeedback, which has been left out in the cold.  
The eclecticism informs the importance of providing the most beneficial and 
efficacious treatment for patients and clients, termed "best practice".  
Biofeedback can make important contributions to integrated therapeutic 
approaches.  These possibilities must be communicated and fostered.  This is 
not facilitated by isolating neurofeedback in a specialist society.

Isolating biofeedback furthermore does not facilitate the award of research 
funding with which to establish an evidence base.  The field of Brain Computer 
Interface (BCI), which does involve biofeedback, as in Niels Birbaumer's work 
with Locked-in patients, is winning research funding, but in order to achieve 
this it is not branding itself as biofeedback.  
In medical fields while peripheral biofeedback continues to be practised, this 
is out of the scientific spotlight.

Currently, there is a small renaissance in EEG-biofeedback, as a handful of 
publications by a handful of scientists attest to the validity of neurofeedback 
protocols in common practice such as alpha/theta training and 'SMR' and low 
beta training, and continued endorsement of the importance of slow cortical 
potential training.  
These publications in mainstream journals are changing opinion that biofeedback 
does not work.

        The society has a broad vision of Applied Neuroscience as distinct from 
the narrower focus on EEG neurotherapy.  Furthermore there is no AAPB in Europe 
catering for the interests of non-EEG biofeedback applications. 
        There is strong interest from leading European researchers in joining a 
society with a broad vision of applied neuroscience. 

Certification and Training.  
        This is the issue that the Board has made their primary immediate 
concern.  The Society will set up training courses and certification that 
represent the needs of the European context and meet with European standards.  
We plan to establish local training opportunities and standards for 
practitioners, so as to assist the public with their decision making.  
        Collaboration with BCIA and university affiliation is under 
The Committee is making progress in planning the curriculum of a three stream 
biofeedback training course for Clinical, Educational and Optimal performance 
The first 7-day residential course is planned for the autumn at the University 
of Trondheim, Norway.

Journal of Applied Neuroscience.
        At the AGM the Board were charged with considering the possibility of a 
high quality society journal.  It is proposed to establish the Journal of 
Applied Neuroscience.  This will serve the burgeoning field of applied 
neuroscience by providing necessary focus and at the same time avoiding 
boundaries in journal titles that impede integration of approaches set up by 
restrictive labels such as 'biofeedback', 'brain mapping', etc.  
        This will foster the vision of integrated techniques, not just in 
biofeedback but also across other therapeutic modalities, and other rapidly 
developing scientific modalities such as MEG, fMRI, TMS, BCI, etc.  This is 
very much the future with recent fMRI neurofeedback reports.  
                A broad and collegiate vision of applied neuroscience can only 
be advantageous for the development of the field at large, and will assist in 
drawing research funding to the field to facilitate its scientific validity.

Journal of Neurotherapy.  
We will seek a corporate Society subscription enabling all members to have 
electronic access.  At the same time there will be an optional subscription for 
members for the hard copy version.

Scientist-Practioner Mentoring.
There was a strong concern among the practitioners at the AGM that therapy must 
proceed on the basis of validated science.  Further there was a request for the 
development of a scientist-practitioner mentoring network.  This was to help 
formulate clinical material into useable scientific protocols to provide 
publishable clinical surveys and so build up the scientific basis of the field.
        Towards this end a system of mentoring for clinicians by academics is 
being established.
        Integrated research will also be formulated among interested parties to 
put to best use clinical resources, and so facilitate the process of 

        A special relationship with iSNR will be maintained and fostered in 
recognition of the valuable help from iSNR in establishing the society.  This 
will be based on mutual support and benefits, and special encouragement for 
iSNR members to attend and to participate in our conferences.  
AAPB have offered us affiliation.  They have also offered us a corporate 
Society subscription to the Journal of Applied Psychophysiology and 
Biofeedback.  This will enable all members to have electronic access.  A 
programme of mutual benefits will be negotiated.

Financial Viability.
At the AGM it was agreed that financial viability was a priority issue.  The 
majority of dues were allocated to the running of the US based society.  
The Board has decided not to draw on ISNR administrative resources, to manage 
its own affairs financially, and to negotiate a fee per member for the Journal 
of Neurotherapy.  Dues should now be directed to the Society in Europe.    

Professor John Gruzelier
Division of Neuroscience & Psychological Medicine
Imperial College London
Charing Cross Campus
St Dunstan's Road
London W6 8RP

Phone 44 020 8 846 7386:  Fax 44 020 8 846 1670: 
e-mail j.gruzelier@xxxxxxxx
Secretary: Mrs Ann Ebberson: Phone 44 020 8 846 7246

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