Monday, December 31, 2007

Biofeedback/Neurofeedback Therapies Helping Treat Hollywood

More athletes, entertainers, and public officials are displaying dysfunctional behavior that is not only harmful to themselves but to their families and the general public. Contrary to the media’s coverage two decades ago, their personal exploits are now in the public domain thanks to video- cell-phones & unscrupulous paparazzi & gossip tabloids. “It’s much harder for entertainers and people in the public to hide their problems,” says Dr. Stephen Sideroff, the Clinical Director of Moonview Sanctuary, a very different place for public individuals who have problems to get help and get it in a discrete way. “ It’s difficult for people in the spotlight to really get good help because it’s hard to go into treatment and let down your guard knowing that you’re going to come back out in an hour or in a day and have to put your guard back up. This interferes with addressing the deeper issues.” Stephen Sideroff is a licensed clinical psychologist, consultant and Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, at UCLA’s School of Medicine. He’s an international expert in behavioral medicine and biofeedback. At Moonview Sanctuary Sideroff, Drs. Terry Eagan and Laurie Levin and their staff offer several core programs based on psychiatric evaluations and treatment, psychotherapeutic evaluation and treatment, and medical services. Among the assessment tools Moonview uses are neurofeedback and biofeedback; they also use a wide range of treatments from Eastern and Native American approaches, to the most advanced neuroscience techniques, “Recognizing the growth process, our teams continually evaluate our clients and adapt treatment for mental, emotional and spiritual well being,” stated Sideroff. “We strongly believe in the importance of treating our clients holistically in order to initiate significant, long-lasting life changes.” There are individual programs in releasing, addictions, optimal performance, transformational medicine, anger, anxiety, burnout, depression, grief and loss, obsessive-compulsive behavior, substance related issues and life changes. Of the many individual assessments and therapies offered, one of the most useful is biofeedback. Stephen Sideroff is a world authority on the use of biofeedback in the treatment of substance abuse and behavioral medicine. He recently returned from a trip to China where he gave a series of lectures to Chinese clinicians. Neurofeedback and biofeedback response helps in the continuous evaluation and treatment of clients at the center. “We create a team and have over 70 practitioners who are part of Moonview. Before we even opened, we spent several years identifying the best people in a wide range of disciplines-- mind, body and spirit, not only psycho-therapeutically, but in very specific and different modalities. We do an assessment and we create a team of practitioners to work with an individual. In fact we may have a team of ten different practitioners in all different fields, including biofeedback to work with a client and we design a program so that when they come in, they will see three or four different approaches that we have found work synergistically.” “Biofeedback works. Its use is growing slowly as more of our excellent results get reported to the public. It works and we get excellent results using it for diagnosis, evaluation and treatment at Moonview,” says Sideroff. Moonview has several approaches to substance abuse, overall emotional personal crisis (anxiety, depression) and another track they call ‘transformational health ‘.This is for persons with chronic pain, illness or a new and life-altering diagnosis, like cancer. Another track is optimal functioning, “Within optimal functioning we work with athletes, executives and people in entertainment.” Sideroff, Laurie Lavin and Terry Eagan spent seven years in planning and developing the “healing’ approaches at Moonview Sanctuary and the center opened three years ago. He says they are getting, “very, very good results.” Sideroff and colleagues recently published the only controlled study using neurofeedback in a substance abuse treatment program. That study demonstrated significant improvement in abstinence rates as well as improvements in cognitive and emotional functioning. Despite widespread agreement on the importance of the mental aspects of sport, it’s only recently that this has received much attention says Stephen Sideroff, but he points out this aspect is often kept at an arm’s distance, Dr. Sideroff has used biofeedback with elite athletes including International Volleyball star, Gabrielle Reece, who worked privately with him, outside of the Moonview Center, to help her mental focus and her emotional “game”. “We have only to review the scientific research to know why this aspect of sport is so important. For example, research indicates that individuals who have low levels of social support combined with few coping skills take longer to recover from injury. Stress itself has been shown to slow the healing process. Similar results demonstrate that psychosocial factors also affect injury vulnerability. So we use biofeedback as one way of assessing, diagnosing and monitoring most of the elite athletes.” He elaborated further, “Elite athletes, with a natural-born ability for success have never had to develop any coping mechanisms for their stardom and financial success, and it’s hard for them to deal with paparazzi let alone deal with frustration. While they, along with their counterparts in the world of stage and screen entertainment are great at what they do, this does not make them immune to emotional slides, or the side effects of extreme pressure that comes with success and pleasing their fans and their critics in the media.” “Moonview provides the tools for progress towards strengthening inner development, increasing resiliency and instilling a renewed sense of connection to one’s self and world.” For more information: -30-