PEP009: Ethics for BFB Providers

– 5 CEUs, Course Fee: $150

Presented by Richard A. Sherman, Ph.D.

Richard A. Sherman

Richard A. Sherman

M.S., Ph.D. (Program Director)

Course Concept and Description:

This 5 CE, distance based course is intended for clinicians, educators, and coaches who have incorporated or are interested in incorporating biofeedback (including neurofeedback) intervention and psychophysiological assessment techniques into their practices. It emphasizes issues in ethics and professional conduct which are of special interest to clinicians incorporating biofeedback – many of which are not clearly spelled out in typical codes of ethics and conduct promulgated by clinical organizations. Participants attend three audiovisual lectures (hear the instructor’s voice while watching slides), read text files, and interact with the instructor via e-mail. At the end of the course, participants answer a set of short essay questions covering key concepts in the course. No text is required for this course. Most participants require about five hours to complete the course including answering the end of course questions and interacting with the iinstructor. Participants start the course whenever they wish to and proceed through the course at their convenience for up to one year. This course does not replace the standard 45 hour (3 credit) ethics courses usually required for licensure and does not cover all areas of ethics usually covered by such courses. Five optional lectures are included in the course (introduction to biofeedback and for lectures on what you need to know to do biofeedback). Attending these lectures adds about an extra hour to the course.

Learning objectives:

The course objective is to familiarize participants with the key ethical considerations and issues in professional conduct involved in providing biofeedback based interventions and clinical psychophysiological assessments which are frequently not covered adequately in traditional ethics courses.

This course is designed to help you (the student):

  1. Apply an understanding what biofeedback and psychophysiological recording are to your interventions.
  2. Recognize the training you will need to ethically and knowledgeably incorporate biofeedback based interventions and psychophysiological assessments into your practice.
  3. Develop knowledge based decisions on incorporating validated and unvalidated interventions into your practice and charging for them.
  4. Recognize the importance of understanding how medications (a) cause symptoms of the type commonly treated with biofeedback and (b) affect the signals.
  5. Develop appropriate informed consent and treatment explanation documents.
  6. Determine the extent to which you can apply sensors and when you need a chaperone.


Home study supported by e-mail chats after each unit is completed. The lecture portion of the course is presented through a series of audiovisual lectures profusely illustrated by power-point slides and movies. The course is accessed from the course web site. The audiovisual lectures are on power point slides. You will hear the instructor’s voice while viewing the power point sides. The lectures are between 1 ½ and 2 ½ hours in length. Reading assignments parallel the lectures. After watching the lecture and reading the assigned supporting files, you will answer a brief series of short essay review questions (which are in the review questions file on the course web site). The answered questions are then e-mailed to the instructor. You and the instructor will discuss each unit via e-mail chat after your answers are assessed. There is no need to complete the discussion with the instructor before proceeding to the succeeding lecture & chapters. It is expected that all review questions will be answered correctly and completely by the student. Any questions answered incorrectly or incompletely must be discussed and/or corrected. You will have at least one real-time meeting with the instructor via a web based program such as “go to meeting” during which you will interact around your new skills.


Hearing impaired people can view the slides only as virtually all of the material presented in the lectures is typed onto the slides. Visually impaired people can concentrate on the verbal lectures as the slide material is repeated in the lecture accompanying each slide.

Accessing course materials:

Course materials will be sent to your email address through either “transfer large files” or “Dropbox” after your payment for the course is processed. This may take several days. No CDs are sent to you.

Computer and Computer Knowledge Requirements:

Anybody with a modern computer and a bit of basic understanding of computer operation (at the level of being able to send e-mails) can play this course with minimal problems. You must have a computer (a) capable of connecting to the internet and running a typical internet program, (b) containing/running a modern word processor such as Microsoft word or Word Perfect, (c) the capability to play sounds such as music (has speakers and appropriate software which normally come with any modern computer), and (d) a slide viewing program such as Power Point (you can probably get a slide viewing program free off the internet if you don’t have one). Any modern (e.g., built within the last ten years), IBM style computer running Windows 98 and more recent platforms (e.g., XP or Windows 8) should be able to do this. Speed, hard disk size, and RAM are not factors for computers in the above category. Dozens of students have used recent Apple products (MACs etc.) for the course however they frequently have more difficulty playing the course materials than PC users do. If you are using a MAC type of computer, you must have a current  version of “quicktime”. If you do not have it, you can download it for free from the web.

Getting Started: Course schedule and payment:

The course costs $100 when accessed from the course web site. The course CD can be mailed to you for an extra cost of $20 if you are in the US or $35 if you are outside the US. Scholarships are available. See our website www.behavmedfoundation.org for details. Payment is either by credit card (using our web site www.biofeedbacktraining.org) or by check in US Dollars made out to the Behavioral Medicine Research and Training Foundation and mailed to the letterhead address. You can begin at your convenience and progress through the course at your own pace for up to one year.  Questions? Just contact us at (800) 530 6658  or contact@behavmedfoundation.org


The course is given by Dr. Richard Sherman, Ph.D.  He is certified by BCIA, approved by BCIA to teach the general biofeedback certification course, and currently teaches A&P, Pelvic floor disorders, pain, and other courses. He is a professional psychophysiologist with extensive training (his Ph.D. is in biology & psychology), has nearly 30 years of experience in the field, and has published over 130 books, chapters, and articles (mostly in peer reviewed journals). Dr. Sherman is Director of the psychophysiology doctoral specialization at Saybrook University and has held many positions within the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback including president. Full CV available upon request and on the course web site.

The ten major topics covered in this introductory level course are:

  1. Defining biofeedback and clinical psychophysiology – knowing what biofeedback actually is and what it is not. (Includes optional “introduction to BFB” lecture.)
  2. Training required to ethically and knowledgeably provide biofeedback based services even in cases where a state license includes biofeedback as a practice modality. Includes a discussion of needing to understand how the equipment works, how the body works relative to the signals being fed back, and relationships between specific, diagnosable conditions, and the feedback signal. (Includes optional “what you need to know to do biofeedback” lecture.)
  3. Ethical considerations in charging for non-validated biofeedback based interventions. This includes a discussion of standards for accepting an intervention as efficacious, FDA labels of biofeedback devices, etc.
  4. Client / Patient Rights. This topic includes (a) informed consent for biofeedback based interventions and psychophysiological assessments, (b) patient privacy,  (c) abandonment, (d) duty to protect, & (e) record keeping.
  5. The need to understand the effects of medications on symptoms treated with biofeedback and on the biofeedback signal.
  6. Who can use biofeedback devices as part of therapy – the issue of FDA limitations on prescription of biofeedback devices, technicians running biofeedback sessions, billing issues, etc.
  7. Applying the biofeedback sensors – can you touch the patient? When do you need a chaperone?
  8. Conflicts of interest in charging for home practice aids as part of biofeedback therapy.
  9. Issues in advertising biofeedback based services.
  10. Ethical principles promulgated by the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America. The discussion includes overlap between and precedence of ethical principles promulgated by BCIA and profession based groups such as the APA. When all requirements have been successfully completed, your course completion certificate will be e-mailed to you and BCIA will be informed that you completed the course.


There is one year to complete the course. Just contact us at admin@behavmedfoundation.org or 800 530 6658 to get started.

Duration of course validity:

There is one year to complete the course. Courses not completed by that time are void and must be repurchased if still available. No refunds are provided for courses not completed within one year of purchase.

CE Credit:

These are continuing education, not university accredited, courses. The Behavioral Medicine R&T Foundation is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Behavioral Medicine R&T Foundation maintains responsibility for this program and its content.


This course is accepted by the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance for recertification continuing education.

Payment, Refund, Scholarship, and cancellation policies:  

Full payment for each course is required before access to the course is provided. Payment is by credit card though our web site’s secure ordering section or by check in US dollars made out to the Foundation and sent to the address below. Full refund will be made until students are given access to the course materials. After getting access to the course materials there is no refund at all as the Foundation has committed its resources to you and you have access to all of the course materials. A course would only be cancelled due to an extreme emergency on the part of the course instructor or the Foundation. In the highly unlikely event a course is cancelled, you would receive a full refund.


The Foundation gives scholarships consisting of 25% off the cost of the course(s) to (a) students and professionals (e.g. clinicians, coaches, teachers) from emerging nations and (b) full time graduate students in developed nations.

Course updates:

Updates to all courses are placed on the course web site as they are made. Students are informed when updates are available. 

Questions / further information?

Contact Dr. Richard Sherman (director of the psychophysiology CE and doctoral programs) at admin@behavmedfoundation.org or 1.800.530.6658.

Administrative Information

Conflict of Interest: Neither the Behavioral Medicine Research & Training Foundation, its staff, nor the course instructor have any conflict of interest involving materials presented in this course.

Student comments about the courses and instructors:

Students who wish to comment about the courses and instructors other than through the “end of course” evaluations may wish to use the Foundation’s account at the anonymous comment submission site Incogneato (www.incognea.to). When a student submits a comment to our account (https://ansr.me/VWv70on the site, there is no way for us to know who sent the comment unless the student provides an email. Students are always welcome to submit comments to this site. We take them very seriously.

Students who wish to make a formal complaint about a course or instructor can do so by following the Foundation’s grievance process which is detailed in the document by that name. Students can request the document from the program’s administrator by emailing admin@behavmedfourndation.org.