GOOD NEWS AND BAD NEWS
SoftForce® and Dendrite Forest® are Registered Trademarks of
LETTER TO THE EDITOR:
The good news is that Jim Robbins' recent story on EEG neurofeedback
motivated readers to trawl the Internet to learn more. We were surprised
when several found us at <www.forests.com>
to ask about the film and book we are producing
on Dr. Eugene Peniston and Alfonso Bermea, and about their success in
treating alcoholism, drug addiction and PTSD.
The bad news is that Robbins' use of the phrase "alpha-theta protocol" in the story is misleading and a disservice to your readers. The story contains dangerous factual errors and causes confusion on several important points.
Robbins' claim that do-it-yourself tinkering with an "alpha theta
neurofeedback machine" qualifies him to report about this therapy
is irresponsible and dangerous. His self-administered afternoon of knob
twirling bears absolutely no resemblance to the careful multi-phase three
week, 30 session, intensive training sequence offered by legitimate Peniston-Kulkosky
Three years after training, 80% of the experimental subjects were still drug and alcohol free. I interviewed those same men ten years later, and they remain drug and alcohol free.
It is troubling that Robbins' story showed little concern for accurately reporting even basic facts: The clinical studies were conducted at Ft. Lyon, Colorado, not in Texas, and from 1986 to 1989, not 1982. Alfonso Bermea is a talented clinician who used these techniques with violent youth in Texas, and now works in Detroit, MI., not Shawnee.
Robbins' stunt should stand as a warning to your readers. Anybody can plug in a machine, but that is a far stretch from reflecting competence as a qualified clinician using this technique. Because the success rate is so high with the Peniston-Kulkosky procedure, many who have not been trained by Peniston have been tempted to make up their own variations of alpha-theta without bothering to go through the 15 years of research and publication which gives the Peniston protocol the respect it deserves.
The Peniston-Kulkosky protocol is the only published, peer-reviewed EEG alpha-theta neurofeedback protocol for substance abuse and PTSD which has been proven effective with carefully controlled multi-year longitudinal studies.
Dr. Charles Stroebel, Yale trained M.D., Ph.D., and past president for the Association for Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, has called for a large scale national replication study of the Peniston-Kulkosky Protocol as a top priority for our national drug policy.