[esnr] Re: New Society Concept

  • From: "Knut Berndorfer" <knut.berndorfer@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "SAN Freelist" <esnr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 17:40:06 +0200

Dear John,

I had been away for 10 days exactly when the discussion started - so I
needed some time to catch up -
as you know my interest is mainly in the personal cultivation,
peakperformance and optimum performance branch - so my following remarks go
more in that direction - but in a deeper sense they are important in all

it seems to me one focus of the work of SAN would be NF-rsearch - validation
of nf by studies, data, evaluation etc.  - also including other

I think this is very important and a
necessary step since we live in a society which needs everything documented,
quantifiyed, statistified - it wants it to be shown in black on white -
objective data. ..... . Basically it is Francisco Varelas  "third persons
approach in science" - but this is only one side of the coin

what I would appreciate to see in the New Society Concept is a statement
like  "first persons approach/research " will be included - see varela in
"the view from within"  -
We spoke briefly about that in Winterthur.

I believe if we want to explore the brain objectively we also need to
explore the subjective side more scientifically


Knut Berndorfer

----- Original Message -----
From: "Gruzelier, John H" <j.gruzelier@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
To: <ESNR@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2004 2:06 PM
Subject: [esnr] New Society Concept

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), etc,
* 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 negotiation.
The Committee is making progress in planning the curriculum of a three
stream biofeedback training course for Clinical, Educational and Optimal
performance applications.
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
Integrated research will also be formulated among interested parties to put
to best use clinical resources, and so facilitate the process of validation.

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

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

Other related posts: