Showing posts with label Definition. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Definition. Show all posts

Sunday, July 22, 2018



With almost 50 years of clinical use behind it, the field of neurofeedback has diversified into a wide range of approaches and methods. 
All neurofeedback methods tend to be effective, however how quickly you see results and how specific to your goals those result will be all comes down to the skill of the clinician and the capability of his tools.
Neurofeedback systems range from simple concentration machines right up to complete sensor arrays with deep brain imaging capability. 
  • Brand name Neurofeedback systems 
  • EEG Neurofeedback (traditional neurofeedback)


Brand name neurofeedback refers to the ever growing array of 'packaged' brain training available.
These systems often re-brand neurofeedback as 'brain state training', 'brain conditioning' or 'neural-optimization', often accompanied by a claim of uniqueness. Others fanchise a name or method, using components of dual-sensor EEG neurofeedback (see below) and a variety of pre-built training protocols. 
While generally effective, these brand name systems are limited by their built-in functions and particular style, making it difficult to zero in on particular goals or problem areas. They require minimal training to use (a few days to a couple of weeks), greatly adding to their limitations.
These systems appeal to those just starting out in neurofeedback. Basic training is provided, you have the backing of an established brand, and the equipment is relatively inexpensive so services can be offered at a low price. The limited training required makes it cheap and easy to train new staff, and quickly expand your business. 
Of course for the consumer, these are among the drawbacks.
It can be difficult to tell whether or not a provider is using a 'brand-name' system or not. There are a number of companies in the market, the dominant brands include Neuroptimal, Brain State, and EEGinfo (aka Othmer Method). 


EEG is traditional surface neurofeedback, as has been used for decades with great success. Next to the sales-savvy trademark products, EEG neurofeedback has far less flash and mystique - however it more than makes up for it in flexibility and efficacy. 
A skilled therapist can do anything that a brand name system can do, and more. With a full range of equipment and brain training approaches available, the therapist is free to work differently with each individual and take a far more active role in the brain training. 
The most common EEG neurofeedback uses two sensors; 2 brainwave sensors, 2 ear sensors, and a ground. With these, the clinician can train surface brain activity and properly tailor that training to the individual. With a good clinician at the helm, EEG neurofeedback can be highly effective for a wide range of conditions.  
Because of the greater expertise required, EEG neurofeedback practitioners are usually smaller, one-clinic businesses. This makes them more difficult to find, but well worth the effort. 
Most EEG neurofeedback therapists integrate elements of the next category into their practice, further expanding their capabilities. 

* In Malaysia, currently Hiro Koo is using EEG neurofeedback as his main tool.


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Types of Mental Health Care Practitioners in Malaysia

Types of Mental Health Care Practitioners in Malaysia

Psychiatry, psychology, hypnotherapy, counseling and coaching are overlapping professions. Practitioners -- psychiatrists, counselors, hypnotherapists, psychologists and coaches -- are mental health care professionals. Their area of expertise is the mind -- and the way it affects behavior and well-being. They often work together to prevent, diagnose, and treat mental illness. And they are committed to helping people stay mentally well. But there are differences between psychiatry, psychology, hypnotherapy, coaching and counseling. And people sometimes find those differences confusing, especially when they are looking for help. The largest difference between the types of professionals is usually what they focus or specialize in, licensure requirements and their educational background.

The key to choosing which one of these professionals is right for you is to determine what kinds of things are important to you and finding a professional that seems to fit with your needs and personality. Feel free to email me ([email protected]) for more info.

Professional governing body in Malaysia: The Association of Hypnotherapy Practitioners, Malaysia (AHPM)-AHPM is a member of The Federation of Complementary and Natural Medical Associations, Malaysia (FCNMAM). FCNMAM is a body recognized by the Department of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, Ministry of Health (MOH), Malaysia. 
Expertise: practice hypnotherapy and may practice psychotherapy but cannot do physical examinations, cannot prescribe drugs

Professional governing body in Malaysia: Lembaga Kaunselor Malaysia-The Counselors’ Act 1998 sets the minimum competence level for the credentialing of a professional counselor in Malaysia. Only a person who is licensed to practice counseling under this Act is allowed to represent himself or herself as a counselor in the country.
Expertise: practice counseling and psychotherapy but cannot do physical examinations, cannot prescribe drugs

3)Clinical Psychologist
professional governing body in Malaysia: Allied Health Malaysia-The Allied Health Professions Bill 2015 was tabled for the first reading by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam at the Dewan Rakyat. The Bill seeks to set up the Malaysian Allied Health Professions Council to register persons practising in the allied health industry which include clinical psychologist.
Expertise: practice psychotherapy but cannot do physical examinations, cannot prescribe drugs

4) Psychiatrist 
Professional governing body in Malaysia: Malaysian Medical Council-Psychiatrist need to apply for a Malaysian Medical License at the Malaysian Medical Council.
Expertise: able to diagnose and prescribe drugs, may practice psychotherapy, use electroconvulsive therapy, and admit people to the hospital.

5) Coach
professional governing body in Malaysia: None
Expertise: practice life, business, wellness or corporate coaching but cannot do physical examinations, cannot prescribe drugs

6) Neurotherapist
Professional governing body in Malaysia: None
practice neurotherapy/EEG biofeedback/neurofeedback technique. It is a safe, non-invasive, alternative treatment option that relies on EEG biofeedback machine to monitor and visualize brain activity, and is used to help a variety of psychological and medical problems. But cannot do physical examinations, cannot prescribe drugs.

What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnotherapy -- uses guided relaxation, intense concentration, and focused attention to achieve a heightened state of awareness that is sometimes called a trance. 
The person's attention is so focused while in this state that anything going on around the person is temporarily blocked out or ignored. In this naturally occurring state, 
a person may focus his or her attention -- with the help of a trained therapist -- on specific thoughts or tasks. 
Hypnotherapy can be used in two ways, as suggestion therapy or for patient analysis.

1)Suggestion therapy: The hypnotic state makes the person better able to respond to suggestions. 
Therefore, hypnotherapy can help some people change certain behaviors, such as stopping smoking or nail biting. 
It can also help people change perceptions and sensations, and is particularly useful in treating pain.
2)Analysis: This approach uses the relaxed state to explore a possible psychological root cause of a disorder or symptom, 
such as a traumatic past event that a person has hidden in his or her unconscious memory. 
Once the trauma is revealed, it can be addressed in psychotherapy.
The hypnotic state allows a person to be more open to discussion and suggestion. 
It can improve the success of other treatments for many conditions, including:
-Phobias, fears, and anxiety
-Sleep disorders
-Post-trauma anxiety
-Grief and loss
Hypnotherapy also might be used to help with pain control and to overcome habits, such as smoking or overeating. 
It also might be helpful for people whose symptoms are severe or who need crisis management. 

What is Counseling?
Professional counseling is a professional relationship that empowers diverse individuals, families, and groups to accomplish mental health, wellness, education, and career goals. Counselors work with clients on strategies to overcome obstacles and personal challenges that they are facing. Counseling is a collaborative effort between the counselor and client. Professional counselors help clients identify goals and potential solutions to problems which cause emotional turmoil; seek to improve communication and coping skills; strengthen self-esteem; and promote behavior change and optimal mental health. How long does counseling take? Ideally, counseling is terminated when the problem that you pursued counseling for becomes more manageable or is resolved. '

What is psychotherapy?

In recent years, significant advances have been made in the field of psychotherapy. Psychotherapy, sometimes referred to as talk therapy, works on the assumption that the cure for a person's suffering lies within that person and that this cure can be facilitated through a trusting, supportive relationship with a psychotherapist. By creating an empathetic and accepting atmosphere, the therapist often is able to help the person identify the source of the problems and consider alternatives for dealing with them. The emotional awareness and insight that the person gains through psychotherapy often results in a change in attitude and behavior that allows the person to live a fuller and more satisfying life.

Psychotherapy is appropriate in a wide range of conditions. Even people who do not have a mental health disorder may find psychotherapy helpful in coping with such problems as employment difficulties, bereavement, or chronic illness in the family. Group psychotherapy, couples therapy, and family therapy are also widely used.

Most mental health practitioners practice one of six types of psychotherapy: supportive psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, psychodynamic psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy.

What is coaching?
International Coach Federation (ICF) defines coaching as partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential, which is particularly important in today's uncertain and complex environment. To determine whether you or your company could benefit from coaching, start by summarizing what you would expect to accomplish in coaching. When an individual or business has a fairly clear idea of the desired outcome, a coaching partnership can be a useful tool for developing a strategy for how to achieve that outcome with greater ease. Since coaching is a partnership, ask yourself whether collaboration, other viewpoints, and new perspectives are valued. Also, ask yourself whether you or your business is ready to devote the time and the energy to making real changes. If the answer is yes, then coaching may be a beneficial way to grow and develop.

What is EEG biofeedback/neurofeedback/neurotherapy?

EEG biofeedback is a painless and drug-free way of helping an injured brain or impaired brain function return to a healthy state. It helps the brain to do a better job of regulating itself and the body. It is biofeedback for the brain and the body. EEG biofeedback is a method used to train brain activity in order to normalize Brain function. 
The electroencephalogram (EEG) is a measure of brain waves. Like other computers, the brain gives off tiny impulses that appear as electrical waves. The raw EEG can be separated into waves that vibrate at different rates or frequencies; beta (fastest) to alpha, theta, and delta (slowest). Brainwaves should be faster at front, slower at back; faster at left and slower at right. A “backwards brain” (slow at front and left, fast at back and right) tends to be poor in focus and attention, depressed or anxious. Brainwave slowing suggests brain injury and impairs normal brain function.


Monday, March 30, 2015











责任编辑 / 张伟  
封面设计 / 王宁

Monday, June 23, 2014


1、神经症:抑郁症,酒瘾症,烟瘾症,强迫症,焦虑症,紧张症,恐惧症,口吃症,怯场症,自卑症,厌食症,固执症,恐病症,厌学症,疑病症,网瘾症,神经 官能症,妄自菲薄症,自我完美症,自毁自贱症,神经衰弱症,脾气暴躁症,过度压力症,惶恐不安症,自信缺乏症,书写痉挛症,过度食欲症,食欲缺乏症,情感 挫折症,失恋痛苦症,亲子代沟症,择业茫然症,精神紧张症,离休综合症,抑郁自闭症,社交恐怖症,产后忧郁症 




5、其他用途:增强自信心,增强行动力,提升销售业绩不良习惯的改变,提高记忆力,提高学习能力,克服恐惧,如戒酒,戒烟,减肥,减轻压力,术后镇痛,疼 痛控制,无痛分娩,减轻癌和关节疼痛,改善肌体抵抗力,破坏或消除由于病毒引起的湿疣和其他疾病等等,年龄回溯,前世回溯。

(1) 催眠可以建立信心,肯定自我价值:改善你的自我观感,导正负面行为。增进自信与自许,强化自尊,善处逆境心情。 
(2) 催眠可以增加心灵财富:心灵财富丰富的人,是对自己满足的,金钱无处不在,当你需要时,它自然能出现,让我们时时刻刻丰富自己的心灵。 
(3) 催眠可以控制体重与饮食问题:更新饮食习惯,促成体重增减,维持适当目标体重,增强体能与运动动机。 
(4) 催眠可以消除睡眠困扰:脱离事务、职业烦恼。自我催眠带来欲睡前奏,醒来有如充电饱满。 
(5) 催眠可以处理生活各式压力:学习减压或消除压力技巧,改善特殊行为模式,降低血压,放松身心。 
(6) 催眠可以掌握演说能力:不再害臊,终止羞怯。获得谈话信心,消除面谈紧张,降低演出、 演讲或讲课的恐惧。 
(7) 催眠可以终止焦虑、恐慌、恐惧与恐怖症:消除对事务的恐惧,如登高、航空旅行、人群、蜘蛛、疾病等。学习面对事务之不同反应,以新的正确的态度克服恐惧。 
(8) 催眠可以改善生活品质:以积极的动机,目标的设定及达成,实现个人的满足。以成功般的满足舒适心灵。 
(9) 催眠可以克服学习困难:增强教学技巧,改善学习习惯,提升记忆力与集中力,导正学习态度,增强应试技巧。 
(10) 催眠可以增强运动表现:强化运动成效,集中重点,启发成功感、胜利感、成就感。增强毅力与协调性。增强全方位的意向态度。 
(11) 催眠可以提升个人创造力:开启写作、绘画、表演艺术潜能。启动创作动机。增强洞察力,问题解决能力。 
(12) 催眠可以促进健康身体:缓解及减低慢性病症状,如结肠炎、肌肉痉挛和溃疡。控制气喘、偏头痛等。缓解皮肤疾病。改善免疫系统与促进自然痊愈。 
(13) 催眠可以疼痛控制:安全、自然的方法以替代麻醉,如外科手术止痛、烧伤止痛,牙医止痛等。控制慢性病的病痛,如关节炎或背痛。 
(14) 催眠可以革除坏习惯建立新习惯:增强积极动力,提升正面行为。消除负向思考,解脱忿怒、忧郁、挫折。 
(15) 催眠可以协助自然生产:减低疼痛,轻松分娩,恢复迅速,建立亲子亲密关系。 
(16) 催眠可以解除感情与肉体创伤:重现并去除人生创伤或悲剧事件。搜寻记忆,年龄回溯,时间回溯。 


Sunday, June 15, 2014

10th Malaysia Festival of the Mind

I just attended the 10th Malaysia Festival of the Mind at KTAR Setapak.
I had some great conversations and met some very nice people. 
Yea, it is an interesting and fruitful event.

Quite many exhibitors talk about how our unconscious mind works.
I'm glad I'm not the only one who talk about it:)

What is the unconscious mind?
Your brain is just like an iceberg.
The part that's visible (above the surface) is your conscious mind,
and the part that's hidden (below the surface) is your unconscious mind.
"The mind is like an iceberg, it floats with one-seventh of its bulk above water." 
By Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis.

I also believe that your behavior is driven by your unconscious mind (emotional factors) rather than your own conscious mind (cognitive factors).
Clinical hypnotherapy works on your unconscious mind level.
Skillful clinical hypnotherapist able to deal with your emotional factors and then create a life you desire.
For example:
We all consciously know smoking is bad for us, but why people still smoke?
The part of you that won't let you stop smoking is your unconscious mind.
The secret to change is to reprogram your unconscious mind. 
I can create a bridge between the conscious mind and unconscious mind so that positive suggestions can be communicated to your unconscious mind.

Clinical Hypnotherapy induces a natural state of mind (alpha and sometimes theta brainwave).
Alpha brainwaves serve as a bridge between the conscious mind (beta brainwave state) and the unconscious mind (theta brainwave state).
I am trained in biofeedback technology, thus I can read your brainwave state during your hypnotherapy session. 
This cutting edge technology offers a totally safe and non-invasive way to help you.

Contact me for more information.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Stop Smoking in One Session

Without a doubt, your own will and determination to stop smoking are the best quit aids available to you. They are also mandatory requirements for successful, long term smoking cessation. With solid commitment in place, any quit aid of your choice will help. Without it, nothing will. So, with that said, let's take a look at hypnosis as a tool to help you stop smoking.

What is Hypnosis and How Does it Work?

Hypnosis activates an altered state of consciousness in which a person is fully awake while being deeply relaxed and more susceptible to suggestion. Exactly how hypnosis works isn’t known, but one thing is certain: people in a hypnotic trance can't be convinced to do things they wouldn’t normally do. They are in full control of their free will.

You might be surprised to learn that you probably experience a self-induced hypnotic trance at least once a day. Have you ever been driving your car only to suddenly realize you can't remember some of the trip? Do you sometimes "lose yourself" while reading a good book or watching a movie? Three-dimensional life fades away, and you're immersed in a different reality, often vividly complete with emotions and physical sensations. That sense of disconnection from your present surroundings while awake and alert signals a hypnotic trance. Rather than being sleep-like, while under hypnosis, people are actually in a state of increased attentiveness, and suggestions offered can take root more easily.

Hypnosis as a Quit Smoking Aid

As a smoking cessation aid, hypnosis has one very important benefit that other quit smoking tools aren't able to offer. Because it uses the power of positive suggestion to help you stop smoking, it actually has the ability to help you develop and strengthen your will and determination to succeed. In my mind, that's a significant benefit!

Most smokers start their quit programs on shaky legs. Nicotine addiction makes us think we are weak and unable to live without our cigarettes. Given time and a healthy attitude though, we can tip the scales in our favor. With every smoke free day completed, you are proving to yourself that quitting is possible. Add some hypnosis to your smoking cessation plan, and it will help you develop the attitude you need to succeed. Further, if you use hypnosis in conjunction with another quit aid, such as the nicotine patch or bupropion (Zyban), your chance of long term success is even higher.
All retrieved from

Hypnosis Statistics for Smoking Cessation

Contact me for free consultation: [email protected]
Here is a brief review of some of the research evidence on the effectiveness of hypnosis for smoking cessation:
90.6% Success Rate for Smoking Cessation Using Hypnosis
Of 43 consecutive patients undergoing this treatment protocol, 39 reported remaining abstinent from tobacco use at follow-up (6 months to 3 years post-treatment). This represents a 90.6% success rate using hypnosis.
University of Washington School of Medicine, Depts. of Anesthesiology and Rehabilitation Medicine, Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2001 Jul;49(3):257-66. Barber J.
87% Reported Abstinence From Tobacco Use With Hypnosis
A field study of 93 male and 93 female CMHC outpatients examined the facilitation of smoking cessation by using hypnosis. At 3-month follow-up, 86% of the men and 87% of the women reported continued abstinence from the use of tobacco using hypnosis.
Performance by gender in a stop-smoking program combining hypnosis and aversion. Johnson DL, Karkut RT. Adkar Associates, Inc., Bloomington, Indiana. Psychol Rep. 1994 Oct;75(2):851-7. 
PMID: 7862796 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
81% Reported They Had Stopped Smoking After Hypnosis
Thirty smokers enrolled in an HMO were referred by their primary physician for treatment. Twenty-one patients returned after an initial consultation and received hypnosis for smoking cessation. At the end of treatment, 81% of those patients reported that they had stopped smoking, and 48% reported abstinence at 12 months post-treatment.
Texas A&M University, System Health Science Center, College of Medicine, College Station, TX USA. Int J Clin Exp Hypn. 2004 Jan;52(1):73-81.Clinical hypnosis for smoking cessation: preliminary results of a three-session intervention. Elkins GR, Rajab MH.
Hypnosis Patients Twice As Likely To Remain Smoke-Free After Two Years
Study of 71 smokers showed that after a two-year follow up, patients that quit with hypnosis were twice as likely to remain smoke-free than those who quit on their own.
Guided health imagery for smoking cessation and long-term abstinence. Wynd, CA. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 2005; 37:3, pages 245-250.
Hypnosis More Effective Than Drug Interventions For Smoking Cessation
Group hypnosis sessions, evaluated at a less effective success rate (22% success) than individualized hypnosis sessions. However, group hypnosis sessions were still demonstrated here as being more effective than drug interventions.
Ohio State University, College of Nursing, Columbus, OH 43210, USA Descriptive outcomes of the American Lung Association of Ohio hypnotherapy smoking cessation program. Ahijevych K, Yerardi R, Nedilsky N.

Hypnotherapy For Smoking Cessation Sees Strong Results

Hospitalized patients who smoke may be more likely to quit smoking through the use of hypnotherapy than patients using other smoking cessation methods. Smoking patients who participated in one hypnotherapy session were more likely to be nonsmokers at 6 months compared with patients using nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) alone or patients who quit "cold turkey." retrieved from

Efficacy of hypnosis in smoking cessation - A review

A larger meta-analysis of research into hypnosis to aid smoking cessation (Chockalingam and Schmidt 1992) (48 studies, 6,020 subjects) found that the average quit rate for those using hypnosis was 36%, making hypnosis the most effective method found in this review with the exception of a programme which encouraged pulmonary and cardiac patients to quit smoking (42%) using advice  from their doctor (such subjects are obviously atypical as they have life-threatening illnesses which are aggravated by smoking and therefore these people have very strong incentives to quit). 
Retrieved from the review of Michael O' Driscoll B.Sc., M.Sc. (Oxon).

Studies on the Effectiveness of Hypnosis for Smoking Cessation. (2009, April 8). Retrieved from

Now we offer one stop specialist smoking cessation service in Malaysia!
Therapeutic and non drug approach to STOP SMOKING in 1 session!
What is included in the price? Our included services:
-Homeopathy doctor with medical doctor background (Dato Dr) Consultation
-Traditional Chinese Medicine Consultation
-Clinical Hypnotherapy
You can come for a free consultation first to know more about quit smoking service at SOL proactive healthcare centre.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Complementary and alternative medicine techniques in Psychology

Alternative techniques

Today’s psychologists are increasingly integrating complementary and alternative medicine techniques into their work with clients. Here’s an overview of the most popular treatments, the research on their efficacy and the ethical concerns they raise.
By Jeffrey E. Barnett, PsyD, ABPP, and Allison J. Shale, MS
April 2013, Vol 44, No. 4
Print version: page 48

People have used many CAM treatments for thousands of years, but it was not until 1999 that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) created the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) with a mission of defining "the usefulness and safety of complementary and alternative medicine interventions and their roles in improving health and health care" (NCCAM, 2011e).
Now, incorporating CAM into both daily life and health care is part of a larger movement that focuses on more integrative and holistic care. The psychology profession — with its strong history of integrating innovations — is among those embracing CAM.
Interestingly, Eisenberg et al. (1998) determined that people visited CAM practitioners 243 million more times than they visited primary-care physicians in the preceding year. According to 2007 data from NCCAM, 38.3 percent of adults and 11.8 percent of children reported having used a form of CAM in the preceding year (Barnes et al., 2008). This corresponds with nearly $34 billion being spent each year on CAM products and services (Briggs, 2007). Although this amount accounts for only 1.5 percent of the total amount spent on health care, it is nearly 11.2 percent of out-of-pocket health-care costs (Briggs, 2007).
While much more research remains to be done, studies have begun to demonstrate the effectiveness of many CAM modalities for treating a wide range of ailments and disorders. The literature documents dozens of CAM interventions that fall within four main categories: mind-body medicine, biologically based practices, manipulative and body based practices and energy medicine (NCCAM, 2011e). CAM may also be viewed in the context of whole medical systems, which include traditional Chinese medicine, ayurvedic medicine, naturopathy and homeopathy.
In this article, we describe 14 CAM modalities in the order of their frequency of use as reported in a large national survey conducted for the National Institutes of Health (Barnes, Bloom, & Nahin, 2008) and additional use data. They are dietary supplements, meditation, chiropractic, aromatherapy, massage therapy, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, spirituality, religion and prayer, movement therapy, acupuncture, Reiki, biofeedback, hypnosis and music therapy.

Dietary supplements

Dietary supplementsMany dietary supplements are used to promote health and wellness as well as to treat pain, depression and anxiety. Commonly used supplements include ginkgo biloba, St. John's wort, vitamin supplements and echinacea. Dietary supplements are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) but are held to very different quality standards than more conventional forms of medicine. Of specific note, the FDA does not review the safety and effectiveness of any supplement before it is sold to consumers. As a result, the potency or composition of the supplements may vary between manufacturers or even within a single manufacturer's batch. Much of the research on dietary supplements varies due to this lack of regulation. 

It is essential that psychologists be aware of the risks that may come with using dietary supplements so that they are able to competently advise their clients about their use, such as by referring them to their physicians when indicated. Despite the risks, 17.7 percent of people surveyed had taken a dietary supplement in the past year, according to Barnes et al. (2008). While psychologists might educate clients on the substances themselves, they should be making referrals to primary-care physicians, who can monitor patients' blood levels as well as watch for potential interactions.


MeditationMeditation is a process by which people learn to focus their attention as a way of gaining greater insight into themselves and their surroundings (Duke Center for Integrative Medicine, 2006). Meditation is used to treat a variety of symptoms, such as elevated blood pressure, anxiety, stress, pain and insomnia, as well as to promote overall health and well-being (Grossman, Niemann, Schmidt, & Walach, 2007; Rainforth et al., 2007). 

In 2007, 9.4 percent of adults surveyed by NIH reported they practiced meditation (Barnes et al., 2008). When meditating, clients must focus their attention on "breathing, or on repeating a word, phrase or sound in order to suspend the stream of thoughts that normally occupies the conscious mind" (Mayo Clinic, 2010b).
There are several different forms of meditation, each of which falls into one of two categories: mindfulness meditation and concentrative meditation. Mindfulness meditation focuses attention on breathing to develop increased awareness of the present, while concentrative meditation aims to increase overall concentration by focusing on a specific word or phrase (NCCAM, 2011c). Although there are many different types of meditation in each category — such as Vipassana, transcendental and walking meditation — most forms of meditation have four elements in common: a quiet location; a specific, comfortable posture; a focus of attention; and an open attitude (NCCAM, 2011c).
Meditation can be integrated into ongoing psychological practice, but it is important that both clinicians and their clients are appropriately trained before attempting to meditate on their own. While there are no formal qualifications necessary for those who practice general meditation, a variety of organizations offer certification in specific forms of meditation, such as mindfulness-based meditation and transcendental meditation. Psychologists who want to integrate meditation into their practice will want to first assess the legitimacy of particular organizations before seeking certification through them.


The main theory behind chiropractic practice is "that nerve and organ dysfunction is often the result of misaligned vertebrae of the spine" (Kuusisto, 2009). Chiropractic physicians use noninvasive treatments, such as spinal manipulations or chiropractic adjustments (American Chiropractic Association, 2011). The purpose of these manipulations "is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile — or restricted in their movement — as a result of a tissue injury" (ACA, 2011). The ultimate goal of chiropractic is to realign the spine so that the body functions best and can in turn heal itself.
Chiropractic is used by 8.6 percent of Americans each year to treat a range of ailments from pain and headaches to stress and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), among other conditions (Assendelft, Morton, Yu, Suttorp, & Shekelle, 2008; Bastecki, Harrison, & Haas, 2004; Tuchin, 1999).
To practice chiropractic, one must obtain a doctor of chiropractic degree, which takes several years of graduate work. While most psychologists aren't likely to obtain such degrees, it is important to recognize that serving as a client's chiropractor at the same time as serving as his or her psychologist is inappropriate due to the type of touch needed for spinal manipulations. This use of touch would likely constitute a significant boundary violation, a topic that will be discussed in further detail later.


Aromatherapy is "the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit" (National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy [NAHA], 2010). There are three different types of aromatherapy: clinical, holistic and aesthetic (Metcalfe, 1989). Clinical aromatherapy focuses on relieving symptoms that are typically addressed in psychotherapy, such as stress and anxiety. Holistic aromatherapy focuses on the whole person, aiming to improve overall well-being and quality of life. Aesthetic aromatherapy, also termed nonclinical aromatherapy, uses aromatic essences in various oils and creams that are traditionally used in skin care (Metcalfe, 1989).
Using various scents and oils for therapeutic purposes has been in existence for thousands of years. In recent years, research finds that aromatherapy can help treat pain, anxiety and agitation specific to dementia (Han, Hur, Buckle, Choi, & Lee, 2006; Lehrner, Marwinski, Lehr, Johren, & Deecke, 2005; Lin, Chan, Ng, & Lam, 2007). Aromatherapy can be integrated into ongoing practice, and while certification is not required, it is recommended. Several organizations, such as the NAHA, offer certification to become a registered aromatherapist. There are risks associated with aromatherapy use related to toxicity, skin irritation and dosing regulations that competent professionals will want to be aware of.

Massage therapy

Massage therapy is a manual procedure that involves manipulating the body's soft tissue as a way to relieve tension and pain as well as anxiety and depression (Moyer, Rounds, & Hannum, 2004; Rich, 2002). Massage therapists use their hands, fingers and sometimes their forearms or feet as a way to "relieve pain, rehabilitate sports injuries, reduce stress, increase relaxation, address anxiety and depression, and aid general wellness" (NCCAM, 2011b). There are several different types of massage, each utilizing slightly different techniques. For example, Swedish massage, the most commonly used form of massage in the United States, involves "a combination of long strokes, kneading motion and friction on the layers of muscle just beneath the skin" (DCIM, 2006, p. 469). Other well-known forms of massage include sports massage, deep tissue massage and trigger point massage (NCCAM, 2011b). In 2007, 8.3 percent of adults were reported to have used massage therapy in the past year (Barnes et al., 2008).
The use of massage has been studied for its effectiveness in treating various psychological symptoms, such as depression, anxiety and stress, and thus it may be relevant for integration into some clients' treatment. However, even if the psychologist is appropriately trained, this integration must be done by referral to qualified massage therapists, due to boundary concerns mentioned previously.
The regulations for practicing massage vary from state to state. Presently, there are 43 states that regulate massage therapy, but national certification can be obtained through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork.


YogaYoga incorporates several techniques, such as meditation, breathing exercises, sustained concentration, and physical postures, which work to increase strength and flexibility (Khalsa, Shorter, Cope, Wyshak, & Sklar, 2009). A main focus of yoga is to relax the client while working to "balance the mind, body and the spirit" (NCCAM, 2011f). 

There are many different types of yoga such as Hatha, Ananda, Anusara, Bikram, Kundalini, and Viniyoga. Yoga has been increasingly studied of late, and it has been shown to be effective at treating numerous symptoms including anxiety, depression and chronic pain (Harner, Hanlon, & Garfinkel, 2010; Mehta & Sharma, 2010; Sherman, Cherkin, Erro, Miglioretti, & Deyo, 2006). With such a wide range of uses, it is not surprising that in 2007, 6.1 percent of adults indicated that they had practiced a form of yoga in the preceding year (Barnes et al., 2008).
Since yoga does not require any physical manipulation of the client by the psychologist, it is an area that may be integrated into ongoing treatment, as appropriately trained psychologists may choose to begin a session by utilizing various poses to promote relaxation. Also, clients who might benefit from yoga in addition to their ongoing psychological treatment may be referred to qualified yoga practitioners. As with many other CAM modalities, certification is required to practice yoga, but the certification process is not standardized.

Progressive muscle relaxation

Through this technique, the client learns to sequentially tense and relax muscle groups to promote greater relaxation. Progressive muscle relaxation, or PMR, is often beneficial for clients experiencing anxiety, tension or stress-related symptoms. However, even though PMR has been accepted and integrated into psychologists' practices for years, results of an NIH study showed that only 2.9 percent of adults had used PMR in the prior year (Barnes et al., 2008).
PMR requires significant effort and outside time-commitment by the client. The technique should not be viewed as a simple solution to stress reduction, and it is important that clients are aware that their success with PMR is highly dependent on the effort that they put into learning the process and practicing in between treatment sessions (Lehrer & Woolfolk, 1993). Psychologists may want to take clients through various PMR exercises during a psychotherapy session followed by offering them a recording of a relaxation sequence that can then be used outside of psychotherapy. PMR is one area of CAM that psychologists can effectively integrate into their practices with minimal training.

Spirituality, religion and prayer

SpiritualityThe U.S. Religious Landscape Survey found that 56 percent of those surveyed indicated that religion was very important to them while 26 percent reported that it was somewhat important to them (The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, 2008).

Spirituality and religion are two separate entities: Spirituality tends to be more personalized, while religion is often more formally organized. Clients may identify themselves as only spiritual or only religious, neither or both. Spirituality, religion and prayer are three areas that have been difficult to study. Some studies, however, have shown that they have been commonly involved in the treatment of addiction, depression and the symptoms of trauma (Cook, 2004; Nasser & Overholser, 2005; Vis & Boynton, 2008).
Spirituality, religion and prayer can all be integrated in psychologists' ongoing practice, and technically no certification is required to do so, but the psychologist will want to be competent about the religion or faith-based practices being used. Psychologists will also want to be aware that practicing a particular faith does not make one competent to utilize it into their psychotherapy practice. While spirituality, religion and prayer can be a part of ongoing practice, psychologists should not exceed their clinical roles and take on the role of clergy. Clinicians who are interested in integrating spirituality, religion or prayer into an ongoing practice will want to first obtain the education and training necessary to ensure their clinical competence.

Movement therapy

Movement therapy is the "psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote [the] emotional, cognitive, physical, and social integration of individuals" (American Dance Therapy Association [ADTA], 2009b). Often referred to as dance/movement therapy (DMT), it focuses on "movement behavior as it emerges in the therapeutic relationship" (ADTA, 2009b). A goal of DMT is to use the body's movement as a way of expressing the unconscious (Levy, 1988). Dance/movement therapists believe that the mind and the body do not function separately and that by focusing on the body, one should be able to affect his or her mind and therefore relieve a variety of symptoms (Levy, 1995).
More research is needed to support and guide the use of DMT. However, the ADTA has reported some support for using the therapy to help treat a variety of symptoms such as those associated with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dementia, depression and a variety of physical disabilities, as well as to promote overall well-being (ADTA, 2009a). DMT is one of the lesser-known CAM modalities, with only 1.5 percent of adults reporting that they had used the therapy in the previous year (Barnes et al., 2008). Certification is required to practice DMT and it requires a graduate degree from an ADTA-approved program.


This technique to improve health and functioning "through stimulation of specific points on the body" has been used for thousands of years (NCCAM, 2011a). Barnes et al. (2008) reported that 1.4 percent of adults said they have used acupuncture in the preceding year.
Typically, acupuncture involves penetrating the skin with needles, which are then manipulated by the acupuncturist's hands or by a form of electrical stimulation (NCCAM, 2011a). The needles are inserted into specific locations on the body as a way of balancing "the flow of life energy," also known as qi (pronounced "chee"). Acupuncture has been shown to be effective at relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as migraines and other forms of chronic pain (Furlan et al., 2010; Roschke et al., 2000).
Certification is required to practice acupuncture, and only physicians who have completed additional training, acupuncturists and doctors of oriental medicine can practice acupuncture. Some states require licensure to practice acupuncture, while others require certification through the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in addition to licensure. Psychologists, even if certified, should not serve as a client's acupuncturist as well as his or her psychotherapist since acupuncture often involves the client removing articles of clothing, a clear boundary violation. Also, in some states, it is illegal for psychologists to provide any forms of treatment that involve piercing of the skin.


The term Reiki means "spiritually guided life force energy" (International Center for Reiki Training, 2011). Reiki involves the passing of energy from a trained Reiki practitioner's body to the client's body as a method of healing. The client can remain fully clothed, as it is believed that the Reiki energy can easily pass through clothing or other objects (Plodek, 2009). The Reiki practitioner utilizes a series of established hand positions as a means for allowing the energy to move freely between the bodies.
Only 0.5 percent of the population report using Reiki (Barnes et al., 2008), and there is little research on its efficacy. Despite this, Reiki has been shown to help with stress and pain management, as well as to promote relaxation (Bowden, Goddard, & Gruzelier, 2010; Olson, Hanson, & Michaud, 2003).
Certification is required to practice Reiki. Referrals should be made for Reiki services, as opposed to integrating them into ongoing practice, as the hand positions will likely cross psychologists' ethical boundaries: Even though there is no direct contact, the clinician's hands are placed very close to the client's body.


This technique uses electrical sensors to provide information to a client that can help him or her improve health and/or performance (Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback [AAPB], 2008). The three most common forms of biofeedback are electromyography (EMG), which focuses on muscle tension; thermal biofeedback, which focuses on skin temperature; and neurofeedback, or electroencephalography (EEG), which focuses on brain activity (Ehrlich, 2009). A fourth form of biofeedback, heart-rate variability (HRV), is becoming increasingly popular and is growing in use.
Biofeedback has been shown to be effective in the treatment of ADHD, pain, depression and headaches, among other symptoms (Fuchs, Birbaumer, Lutzenberger, Gruzelier, & Kaiser, 2003; Hawkins & Hart, 2003; Karavidas et al., 2007; Nestoriuc, Martin, Rief, & Andrasik, 2008). It is reported that 0.2 percent of adults use biofeedback (Barnes et al., 2008). The Association of Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback reports having more than 2,000 professional members (AAPB, 2008), and the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance reports having approximately 1,600 certified members (Judy Crawford, personal communication, Feb. 20, 2012).
Biofeedback is an area of CAM that can be integrated into ongoing treatment with relative ease by appropriately trained psychologists using biofeedback equipment. While formal certification is not required, it can be obtained through the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance (BCIA), "the certification body for the clinical practice of biofeedback" (BCIA, 2011).


The Society of Psychological Hypnosis defines hypnosis as a process by which "one person (the subject) is guided by another (the hypnotist) to respond to suggestions for changes in subjective experience, alterations in perception, sensation, emotion, thought or behavior" (Green, Barabasz, Barrett, & Montgomery, 2005).
Only 0.2 percent of people use hypnosis (Barnes et al., 2008). In fact, when many people hear the term hypnosis, they think entertainment, not health care. As a result, psychologists will want to educate clients about the utility of hypnosis, which is commonly used to treat pain and fatigue, as well as nausea and vomiting that occur as a side effect of cancer treatments (Castel, Salvat, Sala, & Rull, 2009; Jensen et al., 2011; Montgomery et al., 2001).
Hypnosis can be integrated into ongoing practice and one may obtain certification, although this is not standardized. Several organizations offer certification, with one of the most well-known being the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH), which offers entry-level and advanced-level certifications (ASCH, 2011).

Music therapy

Music therapyThe American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) defines music therapy as "an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals" (AMTA, 2011a). Music therapy involves singing, writing music, making music, listening to music and lyric analysis, among many other techniques (AMTA, 2011b). 

Music is not what affects the therapeutic process. Rather, the focus is on helping clients to explore their thoughts and feelings through the use of a music intervention. Music therapy is a multidimensional approach that focuses on a variety of "facets — physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic and spiritual" as a means to improve health (Boyer College of Music and Dance, 2011).
Some evidence supports music therapy's use in reducing anxiety, depression and pain, although the literature is limited (Castillo-Pérez, Gómez-Pérez, Calvillo Velasco, Pérez-Campos, & Mayoral, 2010; Lin, Hsieh, Hsu, Fetzer, & Hsu, 2011). Music therapy may be ethically and appropriately integrated into ongoing psychological treatment by appropriately trained psychologists. Certification is required and can be obtained after earning a graduate or undergraduate degree from an AMTA-approved program, plus 1,200 hours of supervised music therapy experience. Additionally, there is a written exam required to become board certified as a music therapist (AMTA, 2011a).

Why CAM is important to psychologists

Psychologists are uniquely positioned to educate clients about CAM, to monitor their use of CAM, to communicate with primary-care physicians, and, if possessing the needed competence, to make crucial decisions about when CAM may be appropriate to include in a client's treatment. Recognizing when it is appropriate to integrate a specific modality into a client's psychological treatment as opposed to making a referral to a CAM practitioner, and knowing how to do this effectively are essential components of each psychologist's competence.
Elkins, Marcus, Rajab, and Durgam (2005) assessed CAM use among 262 people who were currently in psychotherapy. They found that 65 percent of respondents indicated that they had used at least one form of CAM in the past year. This finding specifically highlights the relevance of CAM in psychological practice because even if professional psychologists are not the ones presenting the modalities as treatment options, many of their clients are likely to be independently utilizing them. This further emphasizes that to provide the highest quality of care, psychologists will find it important to be educated on various forms of treatment, both those that many clients may already be using when they enter a psychologist's care and those that may be additionally beneficial to them. Also, psychologists must be aware of when clients should or should not continue with a CAM modality that has been previously implemented. Thus, psychologists must remain educated and up-to-date on the field of CAM as well as the various modalities and their diverse uses.
CAM is also relevant to psychologists and the care that they provide to their clients in the context of evidence-based practice in psychology (APA, 2005), described as "the integration of the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of patient characteristics, culture and preferences." The emphasis on the consideration of "patient characteristics, culture and preferences" when selecting treatment strategies and techniques is directly relevant to earlier reported data on societal trends toward health promotion, wellness and spirituality, as well as the data on how many Americans are now seeking out CAM treatments. The emphasis on "the best available research" highlights the need for psychologists to focus their research efforts on the many uses of CAM to create an expanded knowledge base about CAM, its uses and its limitations. The emphasis on "clinical expertise" makes clear the need for psychologists to develop competence regarding CAM so that it may be appropriately applied to meet clients' ongoing needs.