THE COMPONENTS – We provide the following services.
Evaluation and Assessment
- Thorough intake evaluation. The first step in quality service is an evaluation of the individual's strengths and needs. The goal of the first meeting (sometimes the first few meetings) is to build a picture of what you want for yourself. In the clinical or medical case this means review of history, prior medical and mental findings, current needs, and personal strengths. In performance enhancement it means review of the goals, history of performance, current needs, and personal strengths. You will want to send ahead or bring with you all the documentation. Based on this interview and a formulation of the presenting situation, I offer a plan. It may include further assessment. It will indicate which intervention(s) are recommended.
- Further assessment often will significantly improve the accurate understanding of your needs, and enhance the cost-effectiveness and safety of the intervention. This may include psychological, selected neuropsychological, or qEEG testing, or a recommendation for evaluation by medical or other experts.
- qEEG if needed. qEEG (Quantitative Electroencephalograph) is the measurement of brain electric activity using a computer, and comparison to one or more databases. We have in-house most of the qEEG databases in use for neurofeedback, and may refer to national experts as well. The qEEG is done to determine the plan of neurofeedback (EEG Operant Conditioning, or "EEG Biofeedback") that will help your condition or optimize your functioning.
The benefits of qEEG for neurofeedback are that the results provide a standardized, accurate measure of your brain activity, and a comparison to databases of people your age who have no brain-related problems. For Performance Enhancement we can compare to high-performing individuals. Using this information, the qEEG report will show what training to do, and give a comparison-point we can use later to show how you have improved.
Dr. Matthews is certified by the American Board of Certified Quantitative Electroencephalography as a Quantitative Electroencephalography Technologist (QEEGT).
We offer various interventions designed to reach specific goals. They include neurofeedback, psychotherapy, EMDR, biofeedback, stress management, and Health-related Behavior consultation.
- Neurofeedback. Neurofeedback represents a revolutionary approach to permanently altering the functioning of the brain by "exercising" the brain's ability to find balance. While playing a simple video game controlled by their brainwaves, a person can observe their own brain activity in relation to optimal functioning as determined by the neurofeedback clinician. Our clients consistently report their experience to be a pleasant one.
For more information on Neurofeedback, click here.
For a list of frequently asked questions about Neurofeedback, click here.
- Psychotherapy. Dr. Matthews writes: "Psychotherapy presents a paradox. It appears simple to the client, yet complex to the practitioner. To the client it often seems merely as a conversation, even if it is about challenging material. In fact, though, the competent practitioner is bringing years of training, careful attunement, the benefits of assessment and planning, and continuous tactical adjustment to reach the agreed-upon goals. While typically in psychotherapy information may be tactically withheld in the client's best interest, my preference is to be as up-front as possible. Being open fosters our mutual trust, and continually invites the client to evaluate as well as invest in the process of growth."
"My approach is usually to have an explicit strategic plan, offer specific steps and processes, and review progress at frequent intervals. I like to see accomplishment, and I believe in using the best tool for the job, which is why I also utilize EMDR."
- EMDR. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a cognitive-therapy procedure which has shown rapid, effective results with almost a million clients, from tens of thousands of trained clinicians. In my opinion, it is the psychotherapy treatment of choice for the consequences of trauma, and is particularly indicated for acute stress disorder. EMDR is useful in reducing a broad array of symptoms including depression and anxiety, when the problems are related to life events. EMDR can provide remarkably rapid, often dramatic improvement, particularly in combination with neurofeedback. There are excellent applications of EMDR to Performance Enhancement as well.
In an EMDR session the clinician and client use cognitive therapy along with profound relaxation induced by special eye movement. The ten- to thirty-second intervals of eye movement produce rapid and thorough processing of the issues being focused upon. The eye movement can be replaced with auditory or tactile procedures where these work better.
EMDR should be provided by an experienced clinician, who is also trained and nationally certified in the procedure. Several popular books have been published on the subject and additional information can be obtained on the EMDR website.
- Biofeedback. Biofeedback is like a mirror being held up to a person's nervous system, allowing them to learn self-regulation and stress-management skills. It works by measuring information about specific physical changes in the body's functioning such as muscle relaxation, hand temperature, and heart function, and then displaying this information to the client.
Through this feedback a person can learn to recognize the physical changes, thereby gaining choice, control, and healthy outcomes (such as relaxation, or an athelete's precise control of peak exertion). These skills can convey large health benefits. Building on them, one may gain the ability to reach the states of mind used by elite athletes and other professionals to actualize their goals.
Heart-rate is particularly interesting. Atheletes use it to measure their aerobic conditioning, and the level of exertion in a workout. Heart rate variability training is being used in corporations and schools to improve concentration and grace under pressure.
National professional associations and certification agencies include the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB), and the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA).
The BCIA has acknowledged Dr. Matthews' training and years of experience by
granting both BCIA Senior Fellow status in Biofeedback and BCIA Associate Fellow status in EEG Biofeedback (Neurofeedback).
- Stress management skills training. Many cultures have found that certain skills allow people to better manage stress and to acquire wisdom. The skill-sets involve each of the body functions that are associated with the autonomic nervous system. Chief among these are muscle tension, breathing, blood vessel constriction, and heart function. A few sessions of stress management training, along with consistent home practice, will develop very useful levels of these skills. The gain in self-mastery alone is worth the effort, and the resulting relief from symptoms can be surprising for many people. Although there are certifications offered in stress management training, they are not distinct from those for biofeedback described above.
- Health-related Behavior Consultation. If a person has a serious chronic illness, the experience can become a downward mind-body spiral. The natural response to diagnosis and treatment procedures can produce either strong emotions or a shut-down of emotions. Either extreme is accompanied by brain chemical and other body changes, some of which can impede clear thinking and action, or block immune response and healing. It can become more difficult to take in complex medical information, make tough decisions, and put plans into action. It may become hard to talk to family and friends, or hard for family members to talk to the patient.
Some medical treatments result in side effects or otherwise make it hard for the person physically, mentally and emotionally. Pain and other symptoms can interfere with daily activity, contributing to changes in mood, and loss of many supports essential to self-esteem. Some treatments may result in cognitive difficulty.
Consultation with a behavior professional can make a difference. You can learn self-management and self-soothing skills. Sort out your feelings and decisions, and have a guide and coach as you find your way through this experience. You may benefit from some of the other intervention tools listed above, such as stress management, biofeedback, or neurofeedback.
In some cases your doctor can refer you for professional help without diagnosing a mental disorder. Ask your doctor about a "Health and Behavior Consultation" based on your medical diagnosis. The American Medical Association treatment codes require that this be paid from the medical part of your insurance (not the limited mental health benefit). Talk to your insurance carrier to assure that this is a covered benefit, and to ask about any limitations or requirements. Some insurers want to limit this benefit while others realize that it can be cost-effective for you and for them. Find out if you need to rely on the mental health benefit of your policy, and whether you need pre-approval of services.
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