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The Power Of Psychophysiological Stress Profiling

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By Author: Balter Moond
Total Articles: 36
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A PSP provides a great deal of useful information and helps our clients understand why they are doing biofeedback, what the starting point is, what the goals are, and why. So why don’t more biofeedback providers use them?
What is a psychophysiological stress profile?
A PSP is a baseline test in which we record multiple biofeedback modalities usually including surface EMG, skin temperature, skin conductance, respiration, and heart rate/heart rate variability. Sometimes other modalities like blood pressure, end tidal CO2, and EEG are also included.

The recording starts with a baseline period during which the subject is instructed to relax with no specific guidance. This is followed by a series of stress and recovery periods. All signals are recorded, data is saved and signals are graphed. At the end of the test we do a basic review of the results with the client. We point out any levels that showed dysregulation during the baseline period and those that became dysregulated or more dysregulated during stress. We also discuss if there was return to baseline during the recovery period. This indicates how well a person recovers after experiencing stress.
How is a PSP useful?
The information we gather from a PSP is useful in a variety of ways.
Baseline levels show if there is residual stress reaction in the person. High muscle tension or skin conductance levels or low hand temperature or heart rate variability can mean that the person is in a state of stress and tension even when attempting to relax.
Changes that occur during stress periods of the PSP can indicate which modalities react more and if they seem to be related to the type of symptoms the person is presenting with.
Return to baseline or lack of return to baseline can indicate how well the person recovers from stressful situations prior to biofeedback therapy. If they are not returning to baseline then it shows them that they have something to improve on.
If you can show that the modalities that are dysregulated have a logical connection to the client’s symptoms then it helps to make the case for biofeedback being a potentially useful therapy for them. It also helps them to “get” the connection between how they are reacting to stress and their symptoms. Many clients are relieved to see that their problems are not “all in their heads”. Seeing measurable evidence is in some way reassuring to them.
The data also gives the biofeedback provider a starting point for therapy planning. It helps in choosing which modalities to work with and setting goals for the ones you decide to work on. Using Psychophysiological Stress Profiling is a better way to do biofeedback. It is much better than just deciding which modality you are going to work with before you have this valuable information. The textbook recommendation although usually good does not take into account
To learn more about Psychophysiological Stress Profiles click on the link to view a segment on the subject from one of our live seminars. Know more...

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