The following material is based on scientific work by Dr. Raul Valverde “A Quantum Biofeedback and Neurotechnology Cybertherapy System for the Support of Transpersonal Psychotherapy”. Full work can be accessed at spectrum.library.concordia.ca.
Transpersonal psychology is a subfield of psychology that combines modern psychological concepts, theories, and methods with traditional spiritual practices. It covers states of consciousness, transpersonal experiences, altered states of consciousness, religious experience and the full potential of man. Transpersonal psychology is based on the ideas of non-duality, exceeding the limits of ego, self-development of the individual and mental health.
Transpersonal is something that lies outside personal experience or history. These phenomena include meditative experiences, dreaming, experiences induced by psychedelics, peak experiences, cosmic consciousness, enlightenment, mysticism, out-of-body experiences, channeling trance, near-death experiences, etc.
An altered state of consciousness (ASC) is any mental state(s) which differs qualitatively from a baseline state, recognized by the person himself or by an objective observer. ASC can be induced by various psychological, physiological, or pharmacological agents and represented by a deviation in the subjective experience. This deviation can be characterized by a greater awareness than usual with internal sensations or mental processes, the deterioration of the test of reality to varying degrees, or awareness of oneself in the form of hallucinations or illusions that lead to the global change of representations.
Biofeedback is a type of therapy that uses sensors attached to your body to measure the key physiological relaxation indicators, such as skin temperature and muscle tension. The technique helps better control some body functions and provides a deeper understanding of health and healing.
Classic biofeedback is based on an electrophysiological monitoring method called electroencephalography (EEG). EEG measures the electrical activation of the brain from scalp sites located over the human cortex. This method allows a user to receive information about the electrical activity at each cortical site and consciously change their internal reactions to modify the brainwave state.
Quantum Biofeedback expands classical biofeedback technique and allows a user to link both conscious and unconscious levels. To detect and analyze the response of the built-mind-spirit body to various types of stress indicators, Quantum Biofeedback uses galvanic skin response (GSR) together with modern computer technology. By interacting with all cellular matrices of the body, this technique lets a user control the reaction of the body to various stressors.
Advances in computer technologies have made it possible for mental health professionals to provide their services over the network. Cybertherapy (or E-therapy) is mental health counseling held on the Internet.
Computers and Internet technology have recently become available to health professionals, who can now use virtual environments to help people work through phobias or other mental challenges.
The main advantage of cybertherapy (remote treatment) is that individuals who simply might not have access to any other form of mental health therapy (because they are uncomfortable to have a traditional psychotherapy session or physically unable to leave their home for various reasons) can now have other options.
Remote therapy is a great opportunity for disabled or housebound people, for those who are living in rural or remote areas, for clients who have limited choices in their geographical region or have limited time to drive to regular in-person appointments, etc.
Dr. Raul Valverde has developed the first cyberpsychotherapy method that uses neurotechnology and quantum biofeedback technique to address transpersonal psychotherapy issues.
The unique system based on quantum biofeedback and neurotechnology can allow patients to discover deep conflicts hidden in their subconscious that can lead to healing. The new method is aimed at facilitating transpersonal therapy by inducing an altered state of consciousness over the network.
To show the ephemeral patterns of the electrical signals from the two hemispheres of the cortex as they are happening, the research uses EEG designed specifically for this purpose. The EEG technology includes the Emotiv 3D Brain Activity Map EEG software that works with the Emotiv EPOC neuroheadset. The brainwaves are first transformed to digital form, then processed, and after that, the results are wirelessly transported to the USB receiver. The Emotiv 3D Brain Activity Map allows interpreting the received signals and displaying mental activity in real time.
Another element used for this research is Shakti - a product based on the Koran helmet. Shakti software serves for producing audio analogs to EEG signals. The produced audio signals are applied to the brain over modified commonly available magnetic coils. Each signal can be understood by only one brain structure. The brain has two hippocampi and two amygdalas, one on each side. Shakti applies the structure’s own signal but only to the side of the head where the signal will support something positive. When the structures respond, they induce a positive altered state of consciousness.
The architecture of the cyberpsychotherapy method is shown in the figure below. The professional installs 3D activity map software and telecommunications application on their PC, which allows a human-computer interaction between the therapist and the system. The 3D activity map software helps the therapist visualize the states of consciousness of the patient.
The therapist gets access to the EEG signals collected by the patient’s EEG headset. All EEG signals are redirected over the network by FlexiHub, a dedicated USB over IP software. This solution allows users to virtualize and share USB over network in such a way that devices and equipment become available for remote connection and access. FlexiHub works over LAN, Ethernet, and the Internet. To establish a remote connection to the patient’s EEG headset, the device needs to be connected to the USB port of the patient’s computer via a USB wireless adaptor. Also, FlexiHub comes with a built-in chat feature, which simplifies the communication between the patient and the therapist.
Worn by the patient, the Shakti helmet modulates 40 Hz signals to both temporal lobes from a signal generator installed in the patient’s computer. This method is meant to induce altered states of consciousness.
The cybertherapy system was tested on 10 patients, and the collected results confirm that the patients were able to reach a desired level of consciousness for the psychotherapy.
The concept of inducing altered states of consciousness with neurotechnology is relatively new and is not typically incorporated into mainstream psychology or traditional medicine. However, the presented technologies have great potential for clinical purposes and for long distance therapy. The research conducted by Dr. Raul Valverde provides statistically significant evidence that the new method allows influencing one’s level of consciousness.