Brain Maps for Psychotherapists

Introduction to Brain Maps

A qEEG recording of our brain activity is a fast, mobile process that can give us a picture of a person’s behavioural tendencies, challenges and many other neuromarkers relating to psychopathologies and aspects of neurodegeneration and developmental issues.  

There are over 50 different brain areas governing various aspects of sensory integration, motivation, decision-making and behaviour.  Ideally, when these are well-integrated, our interaction with our environment is pro-social and efficient.  Dysrhythmia in any of these leads to immature behaviour with respect to the function it governs.  For example, an area responsible for spatial awareness can cause excessive distractibility; our prefrontal dopamine centre is responsible for motivation and mood control; and anxieties can stem from multiple sources which we can disaggregate and pin-point.  

A qEEG brain map records a lot of data.  We seek to differentiate between state and trait:  Whether we are low in mood or motivated can fluctuate; the trait would be whether we are prone to such swings in the first place.  An area governing our sense of social boundaries can behave immaturely; while excessive invasiveness can be a professional strength, such as for cold-calling or movie-directing, we seek flexibility such that such tendencies can be harnessed when in a different environment, e.g. home.  This is what we mean by maturity – finding the right state for the situation at hand, being stable there and flexible to changing circumstances, all handled pre-consciously, before we ‘think’ about it.  Detecting this inflexibility, with regard to many different behavioural patterns as well as sensory integration, is the character trait information we seek to extract with a brain map.  

A Kaiser Neuromap is unique in that it shows us maturity with regard to individual Brodmann, or functional brain areas, in a simple, readable form.  This can complement assessments and be used to track therapy progress.  

Importantly, we can observe the evolution of character attributes in young children and adolescents, before these necessarily become obvious or communicable at their early stages of development.  

Traits and Pathologies

The idea that behavioural tendencies relate to physiology, or functional brain areas, is well-researched.  We can detect neuromarkers for the following and more:

Relational, Ego-Centric Thinking

Until we are 3-5 years old, the world is all about ourselves, out of necessity.  After this, we start understanding that not all sensory stimulus is directed at us, and we begin to see the world in a less relational, ego-centric way.  This is crucial to being able to take on different perspectives to our own.  Otherwise, any talk therapy can become futile and equivalent to a ‘chase’, potentially further aggravating the person’s perception of being cornered.  Sensory overload is another potential consequence, creating anxiety and sometimes deep depression, as is psychosis and neurotic tendencies.  There is a neuromarker for this, which we can detect with a brain map and train with neurofeedback, thus establishing a basis for effective psychotherapy. 

Emotional Sense of Safety

Our largest neural hub, the PCC, governs our sense of emotional safety in the world.  Dysrhythmia here implies that we feel ‘underloved’, under-appreciated, not moving forward, and quite often this is the beginning of further mental health issues.  Our sleep quality suffers, we ruminate about the past and worry about the future.  Also, our ability to empathise is compromised, numbing emotions and potentially turning victims into abusers.  Alternatively, our ability to create an emotional safe space, including a conducive work environment, is underdeveloped, with similar trauma symptoms.  The condition can develop suddenly, by trauma or some form of perceived shock, and/or persist chronically.  

We can detect PCC dysrythmia with a brain map, and with neurofeedback training remind or show the brain what it feels like when this brain areas functions efficiently.  Psychotherapy can help the person adjust their environment to accomodate their needs.

Ability to Self-Soothe

When we are unable to rationally calm ourselves down and consider other possible actions, our motivation, mood control and ability to fall asleep suffer.  Prefrontal areas govern this ability, and we can detect vulnerability to depression, bipolarity, sleep disorders and general motivation issues, as well as tendencies to ‘act out’ or be inappropriately disinhibited. 


Numerous forms of anxiety can ensue, and with different brain areas contributing to each, we can disaggregate the phenomenon of ‘general anxiety’ into various contributors leading to desynchronisation and friction with our environment: 

‘what’s next’ anxiety is a temporal lobe phenomenon, as this is where the scene in front of us is processed and finalised.  Housing the amygdala, this form of anxiety can be particularly emotional

social anxiety is a function of misunderstanding social complexities, which are processed by particular cortical visual areas

sensory overload can lead to a feeling of instanteous or general overwhelm, and is a function of relational or ego-centric thinking, which has a neuromarker

sensory integration is handled by individual brain areas as well as multi-modal integration areas, whose dysrhythmia we can detect.  Furthermore, we can train pre-conscious processes with neurofeedback as a complementary approach

over-concern with looks and self can be attributable to brain areas dealing with body and facial features

excessive monitoring of consequences of actions can be debilitating, and ‘checking’ behaviour can ensue; we can even see whether the person appears to have a perceived abuser / bully / person they are actively trying to avoid

social emotions are evaluated by parts of our mirror neuron system, and egocentricity bias in their interpretation can contribute to social anxiety

feeling judged, over-interpreting emotional content of words or how things are said, can create an invisible dome around us, as others sense our prickliness, and has neural correlates

fear of missing out, not getting things done, and not being able to rely on one’s focus, planning and motivational abilities is a form of anxiety that arises out of multiple dysrythmias which we can detect; we also have a brain area that tracks rewards others gain from actions we aren’t even involved in, with the possibility of creating unwanted tensions

not feeling part of a bigger cause / community can be a specific contributor to anxiety and instability of one’s personality, resulting in flippiness and the urge to avoid relationships

attachment disorder, or the fear of commitment, has neural correlates

physiological arousal is our level of activity relative to the task at hand; fight-or-flight and sleep are the extremes, and our day is spent somewhere inbetween.  We want to have the appropriate level of physiological arousal for the situation, be stable there and flexible with regard to changes in circumstance.  This is governed by our Reticular Activating System, and its functionality has neural correlates which we can detect.  Dysrhythmia here can result in overexcitability, and inability to calm down, and as a result fatigue and motivational issues, panic attacks or even PoTS

detachment, depersonalisation and pain perception have neuromarkers, whether seen as trauma manifestations or evolved anxieties

intrusive thoughts can have various sources, including an impaired sense of self, low motivation / confidence, and internal chatter up to hallucinations, all of which have neuromarkers.

Self-Harm, Impulsive Aggression and Rage

When things don’t work out as expected, we may experience a sense of frustration that, unchecked, can lead to impulsive aggression and further, rage, as well as self-directed anger that might manifest in self-harm.  Inflexibility towards unexpected outcomes is a function of particular brain areas, and we can assess such vulnerability with a brain map.  Behavioural issues can often be resolved with neurofeedback, providing a useful complement to other therapy modalities.

Focus, Planning and Mood Control

There are brain areas dedicated to each of spacial distractibility, motivation, planning, sequencing actions and implementing them.  With a brain map, we can detect vulnerability to each.  This also includes dyslexia and dyscalculia.  

‘Getting things done’ is crucial to our sense of self-worth and accomplishment, and relief in this area can be a major anti-depressant in our experience.  

Personal Space and Social Boundaries

Brain areas that govern our sense of personal space and social boundaries are integral to frictionless social interaction.  Vulnerabilities here include excessive recruitability or obstinacy, as well as invasiveness and reticence.  We can also see whether a person is prone to overpriming external agency, at the expense of feeling grounded and self-sufficient, or at home in their thoughts.  

Social Rules

Our capacity to perceive, assess and interpret social rules is governed by particular prefrontal brain areas.  These are crucial to forming friends and alliances, and dysrhythmia can result in loner qualities which we can detect. 

Developmental Benchmarking

Our alpha rate, or cortical resting rhythm, evolves as we grow and as we age.  We can benchmark this, providing insights into children’s developmental progress, and also detecting efficacy of therapy which should help restore ‘alpha peaks’.  We have seen neurofeedback training promote this maturation process in children, as well as ‘reactivating’ dormant cortical behaviour in adults.

Tics, Stutter and Coordination

Motor control is handled by various brain areas, whose dysrhythmia can result in uncoordinated or involuntary behaviour.  Brain maps can help with assessment, and we have seen impressive progress with neurofeedback training of the relevant sites.

Autism, Schizophrenia, OCD

These developmental and behavioural have non-specific neuromarkers, meaning that given the condition, a person will exhibit a particular EEG picture, though having such profile does not imply the condition.  As such, this is not a diagnostic tool.  It can provide substantial help in raising possibilities for early interventions.  

Furthermore, these psychopathologies exhibit varied and nuanced symptoms, as well as frequent comorbidities, which the personalised approach of a qEEG brain map accomodates uniquely. 

Common to all is a deficient ability to synchronise adequately with our environment, interpret sensory stimulus efficiently, and model and predict outcomes and behaviour.  A holistic therapy approach is required, addressing multiple brain areas in one form or another.

Stroke, Concussion, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Disease

Physical or neurodegenerative conditions also have non-specific neuromarkers, which are useful particularly in early stages, as well as monitoring progress.  

Complementary Approach

With a brain map, we can assess vulnerabilities, both before, during and after a psychotherapeutic intervention.  Neurofeedback training can help progress therapies in a complementary manner.  

Daniel Webster offers introduction courses to brain maps and neurofeedback, involving a brain map of the therapist as a relatable example, followed by an interpretation and relevant theory, and concluding with a sample session.  This can be achieved in a day or two. 

With respect to clients, a brain map recording is easily obtainable in most parts of the world.  Daniel Webster provides analysis, interpretation and consultancy to complement any stage of therapy and monitoring progress.

The Science of Compassion is dedicated to helping clinicians and care providers feel a sense of achievement in their work; increase their sense of fulfilment; and be energised by their work.  

This makes contributing to helping people who need care a sustainable process.

Modern researchers define compassion as having 4 components:

(Jinpa, 2012; Jazaieri et al., 2016)

• 1. Noticing another’s suffering (cognitive/attentional component)

• 2. Empathically feeling the other person’s pain (affective component)

• 3. Wishing or desiring to see relief of that suffering (intentional component)

• 4. Responding or acting to help ease or alleviate that suffering (motivational component)

Compassion Satisfaction is defined as:

• A positive sentiment the provider experiences when able to empathetically connect and feel a sense of achievement in the careproviding process.

• Increased sense of self-efficacy and fulfilment in helping work

• Invigorated in the work and energized further to contribute to helping people who need care.

(Stamm, 2002; Stamm, 2010; Slatten et al., 2011; Zeidner & Hadar, 2014)