Golani “Mental trainer”

This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)

BRAININJURYIDF’s Golani Brigade has begun using Neurofeedback a in the framework of training. This innovative treatment tool is designed to train combat fighters in functioning under stressful situations, in order to improve their ability to withstand stress in combat, and cope with fighting conditions in the field.

According to the IDF’s Technological and Logistics Directorate (Hebrew acronym: ATAL), training is carried out using a new technology: the trainee is fitted with a head dress akin to a swimming cap. This cap is attached to an electronic system complete with sensors and a computer, which follows his or her brainwaves and creates a graph indicating their brain activity.

The trainee uses an on-screen simulator and experiences various situations which call for decisions as well as simulate challenges the soldier must handle.

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At the end of the session, the soldier and a therapist sit down together for a meeting during which they draw conclusions concerning the soldier’s mo., stress and performance, including the quality of his or her decision making.

The simulator comprises various missions and tasks which simulate the battlefield. Soldiers must prove the level of their ability to carry out these tasks both mentally and physically.

The new simulator was first used by Golani Brigade cadets. Colonel Dr. Keren Ginat, head of IDF mental health department, this phase was a qualified success. She explained the method is used by athletes worldwide ahead of sporting events, even the Olympics. The IDF plans to have commanders, even senior commanders, tasked with making quick, tough decisions, which are at times fatal, to use the simulator.

One of the scenarios simulates a busy hospital with many people waiting to receive treatment, amid stressful chaos and noise. Trainees must overcome this stressful environment and decide who should be prioritized as part of sorting the situation out. This is one of the methods to train soldiers to make educated decisions and overcome stressful situations.