Vakgroep Psychologie, Gezondheid & Technologie


Biofeedback in mental healthcare: A literature review



Type of assignment:  Ma

Internal or external?  Internal                                                                                              

How many students possible? 2

Own data collection or existing data?  -

Type of research (qualitative empirical, quantitative empirical, mixed-method, literature review):   literature review 

EC (10 of 30EC)?   10EC    




Biofeedback refers to a set of techniques in which people get insight into fluctuations in their physiology (e.g. breathing, heart rate, muscle contraction) and are motivated to try to change or reflect on these fluctuations. Many applications of these techniques exist in the medical world (Schwartz & Andrasik, 2017), but the application in mental healthcare is relatively new (e.g. Goessl, Curtiss, & Hofmann, 2017) or has been associated with pseudo-science (Schmaltz & Lilienfeld, 2014). With the advent of many new technologies (wearables) to measure physiology there has been a renewed interest in using biofeedback especially in mental healthcare where clients are often taught to ‘notice their bodily sensations’ (e.g. Derks, De Visser, Bohlmeijer, & Noordzij, 2017). For this master thesis you will do a concise literature review to examine the state of the art in biofeedback in mental healthcare. What is currently being done with biofeedback in mental healthcare? What are the opportunities for existing therapies to incorporate biofeedback (e.g. Khazan, 2013)? What are the potential pitfalls?


Who are we looking for?

An enthusiastic student interested in how biofeedback might be integrated into existing therapies in mental healthcare.



Dr. Matthijs Noordzij



Derks, P. M. J., De Visser, T., Bohlmeijer, E. T., & Noordzij, M. L. (2017). mHealth in Mental Health: How to efficiently and scientifically create an ambulatory biofeedback e-coaching app for patients with Borderline Personality Disorder. International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 5(1), 61–92.

Goessl, V. C., Curtiss, J. E., & Hofmann, S. G. (2017). The effect of heart rate variability biofeedback training on stress and anxiety: a meta-analysis. Psychological Medicine, 47(15), 2578–2586.

Khazan, I. Z. (2013). The Clinical Handbook of Biofeedback. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Schmaltz, R., & Lilienfeld, S. O. (2014). Hauntings, homeopathy, and the Hopkinsville Goblins: using pseudoscience to teach scientific thinking. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 336.

Schwartz, M., & Andrasik, F. (2017). Biofeedback: A practitioner’s guide. (M. S. Schwartz & F. Andrasik, Eds.) (4th editio). New York: The Guilford Press.