Biofeedback works just like it sounds — using a variety of different devices to measure tiny, almost imperceptible changes in the body during normal activities, one can receive immediate feedback on the state of the body. This raises awareness of one’s behavior, which can help change it for the better.
Biofeedback Scenarios for Compulsive Picking
- “Galvanic Skin Response” (aka “sweat awareness”) Training — This can give you explicit hints about when anxiety sets in — if anxiety is a cause of your picking. Thinking of the type of stressful situation that pushes you to pick will induce some imperceptible sweating, which will sound a tiny alarm on the biofeedback machine. GSR will definitely raise the bar of self-awareness — if it doesn’t make you even more neurotic, that is
- Electromyogram — This is perhaps the most common biofeedback test. It measures tiny changes in muscle tension. Imagine — if such a test revealed that your upper lip (of all things!) curled ever so slightly the moment before you start picking your fingers, you would pay more attention to your face and the inner stress that’s expressed there.
As you can see, biofeedback is only a window to explore your physical responses to stress. The step of controlling stimulus and changing behavior is another level entirely.
Take it Seriously!
At first Biofeedback therapy may seem a bit like a carnival trick — “Strap yourself in and try to peg the meter to red!” But as with any treatment, you get out of it what you put into it. Biofeedback has had its ups and downs in popularity and respect, but it is finally taking its place in the spectrum of alternative therapies for compulsive picking and other related disorders.
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