Frequently Asked Questions


What is Behavioral Medicine?

Behavioral medicine deals with how thoughts and behavioral impact health and disease. Psychologists and Social Workers address issues of stress and anxiety, depression, and other emotions which impact overall health. Behaviors such as over-eating, smoking, alcohol, and drug use are evaluated and treated in coordination with your physicians, physical therapists, and other care providers.

What types of techniques are used in behavioral medicine?

Behavioral medicine is the science which uses a mind-body approach to health and illness. What you think and what you do can have a powerful impact on how you feel.

What types of health issues are treated with behavioral medicine?

Chronic pain and other chronic diseases result in grief, anger, stress, anxiety, and depression. Counseling to help you deal with these problems stemming from chronic pain and other chronic diseases can help change the quality of your life. The problem of chronic pain isn’t all in your head…but some of the answers may be.

Do you work with medical specialists in providing behavioral medicine treatment program?

Yes, if requested, a behavioral medicine specialist will work closely with primary care physicians or medical specialists in an effort to coordinate treatment.

Is behavioral medicine covered by insurance?

Yes, in most cases. However, insurance coverage varies a great deal and will depend on your policy, the type of service requested and which therapist is providing the service. You would have to check with your individual insurance carrier for your specific coverage benefits.

What is Applied Psychophysiology?

The mental health and physical health communities have always believed there was a close connection between the mind and the body. Psychophysiology explores the relationship between mental activity and physical functions in a scientific way.

Biofeedback is a process that enables an individual to learn how to change physiological activity for the purposes of improving health and performance. Precise instruments measure physiological activey such as brainwaves, heart function, breathing, muscle activity, and skin temperature. These instruments rapidly and accurately ‘feed back’ information to the user. The presentation of this information, often in conjunction with changes in thinking, emotions and behavior, supports desired physiological changes. Over time, these changes can endure without continued use of an instrument.

Can Biofeedback/Nuerofeedback be used to treat learning disabilities?

The question of neurofeedback for learning disabilities is complex in that the whole field of learning disabilities is vast. If a child has both learning disabilities and attention problems the neurofeedback certain makes sense. Once a child is paying attention (using neurofeedback in the usual way one does for ADHD) it is much easier to address learning disabilities. If there are LD issues without ADHD features then it may still be helpful if you do a full 10-lead assignment of the EEG profile and identify particular areas where things differ from processing certain kinds of information. The main thing to remember when working with clients with LD issues is that you must customize the feedback. It is also helpful to do some coaching in metacognitive strategies that relate to their problem area and combine that with the neurofeedback training.

Is Biofeedback covered by insurance companies?

Coverage for biofeedback is often available from health insurers but the plans vary widely. You will want to check your insurance provider for coverage details regarding biofeedback. Your biofeedback provider is also likely to be aware of coverage issues.

How do I know if a person is qualified to use biofeedback?

Proper training in biofeedback takes months rather than hours. People with professional degrees such as RN, MS, MD, and Ph.D., normally do NOT receive significant training in biofeedback while getting their degrees. They must have additional training to knowledgeably and ethically incorporate biofeedback into their work. Possession of a biofeedback device does not indicate training to use it. There are many types of biofeedback techniques. For your protection or the protection of someone else, be sure that the person proposing to work with you is trained to provide biofeedback.

For medical/psychological diagnosis: Only people who are licensed or otherwise credentialed by their STATE can treat diagnosed medical disorders independently. People trained in biofeedback but not state `credentialed` can work under the supervision of an appropriately credentialed provider. If you are requesting treatment for a medical/psychological diagnosis (such as migraine headaches) you need to check that the person offering biofeedback services has both the appropriate type of training in biofeedback and the appropriate state credentials to work with your diagnosis. A biofeedback certification is NOT a license to practice.

What are some of the health issues that biofeedback is effective in treating?

Biofeedback has been shown to be useful in treating the following:

  • Migraine or tension headaches
  • Chronic pain or other chronic diseases
  • Disorders of the digestive system
  • Incontinence
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiac arrhythmias (abnormalities in the rhythm of the heartbeat)
  • ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder)
  • Epilepsy
  • Paralysis, spinal cord injury, and other movement disorders

Biofeedback is also used to improve academic and athletic performance, and its technology is being utilized in the emerging science of brain-computer interface and the development of applications in video/computer games.