Robert N. Grove, PhD
Following graduation from Minnesota, I briefly taught at Cal State San Bernardino. I then joined an exciting clinical research team in Chicago combining pharmacology, physiology and behavior. While there, I divided my time between clinical work in Cook County medical clinics and similar research on conditioning principles in primates.
During this period, I was able to learn even more about other medical stress triggers and how to manage them using simple psychophysiological conditioning techniques. For example, people with arthritis had difficulty warming their hands in winter. Based on conditioning principles, I successfully coached patients to take a big breath and when they exhaled, to shift attention to sense fullness and tingling in their hands. With much repetition over a few days, they reported that their hands had less pain and their joints were more mobile. Importantly, their erythrocyte sedimentation rate, a sign of inflammation, was much lower.
This was a wake-up moment for me. Human beings are susceptible to what we call conditioning by triggers that sensitize our minds to thoughts of immediate danger. Danger is biological too, releasing hormones and activating protective behaviors. It is not danger itself that causes most problems. It is over-thinking danger that causes hyper-arousal that goes unchecked, allowing us to feel out of control even when safe. I worked with a team to explore realistic self-directed protocols to manage those fears. This led me to research protocols for PTSD. From a neuroscience perspective, PTSD involves exaggerated negativeruminations. These ruminations can cause anger, depression, anxiety and a re-kindling of traumatic memories, often interfering with restful sleep and relationships. These thoughts trigger immediate arousal and arousal triggers danger sensations. These sensations are usually ignored at first due to preparation to possibly fight, flee or freeze. This is not a time for reasonable thought. We found that a simple repetitive technique, thought interruption, could make most excessive ruminations manageable.
The technical label for this is thought interruption training. It takes about 10 seconds for the body to fully respond on danger. However, by interrupting within about five seconds, something else occurred. This five-second warning allowed patients to sense the beginnings of hyper-arousal, before a full-blown episode of PTSD could sometimes be manifested. Thought Interruption is a powerful technique to regain a sense of internal control over when these thoughts or events occur.
At UCLA/VA Sepulveda, I had the opportunity to work with traumatized veterans. This group of post-Vietnam vets had PTSD. Their PTSD was resistant to every known drug and behavioral treatment, including cognitive behavioral therapy. However, I led a team that used similar psychophysiological conditioning principles, employing neurofeedback training techniques. Using voluntary brainwave training, they were able to sense the very beginnings of a PTSD episode. They not only lessened symptoms, but also changed their compulsions. It also changed their brain maps. It was not just due to suggestion. (Later work by Eugene Peniston also trained a group of PTSD veterans with alcohol problems. Peniston found that five years after neurofeedback retraining, most of the group remained without significant symptoms and also had control over their drinking.) Today we use similar neurofeedback retraining protocols for first responders and victims of physical pain or emotional trauma.
As I embarked on the second part of my career, I focused on several issues. I needed to remind consumers that my practice was truly general and was for adults, couples, and parents with children. Personality and stress-depression problems are a part of my training as well.
I have worked with many kinds of injuries and disorders. In 2017 I attained privileges at Eisenhower Medical Center and consulted with the now-closed Wellness Center. I also work with injured adults. Other issues such as migraine, other headaches, arthritis, Raynaud’s Disorder, scleroderma, TBI, and complex regional pain disorders can be attenuated using psychophysiological techniques that I employ. I also see adults with ADHD and adult Autistic Spectrum Disorder for testing, counseling and, if appropriate, EEG-guided neurofeedback.
My practice in Bermuda Dunes is expanding. Medicare, Medical are accepted. The list of approved insurance companies is also expanding. Private pay and self-insured are also welcome. We have easy parking, wheel chair access and a ground floor entrance.
- English, French
- 43 years
- 7 years
- Sepulveda Veterans Hospital - UCLA
- University of Minnesota