How we work
Obviously you’ll have an idea of what you (or a dependent) want to achieve. It could be help with any of a number of issues. Commonly these concern things like interpersonal difficulties, academic underachievement, concentration, ADHD, anxiety, depression, career guidance, memory problems, work stress, confidence, relationships, sleep problems, impulsivity, anger management or alcohol and substance abuse. It could even just be curiosity about yourself or a persistent feeling that you could be doing better.
A good place to start is to perform an assessment of your present functioning.
Psychologists have always had access to a wide variety of excellent assessments. Now there are some innovative instruments that are raising the bar. Neurometric analyses (or electrophysiological imaging) provide a way of viewing brain functioning that was not available even a decade ago. With software called LORETA (Low Resolution Electromagnetic Tomography) it is possible to look at the functioning of brain networks in a completely non-intrusive way. One can only imagine how useful this is when looking at students with learning, attentional or concentration problems.
With the advent of wearables, there are ways of taking assessment into real life. With heart rate data (and other physiological biomarkers) over the period of an entire day you can look at ratios of sympathetic/parasympathetic states. This is important information in terms of treatment.
Also relevant is the massive growth of genetic knowledge, molecular medicine and systems biology. This provides new ways of defining and assessing what it is to be healthy, both in the mind and body. For example, variations on just one gene called COMT can go a long way to understanding personality traits, behaviours under pressure and cognitive performance. There are others that help explain mood states.
In conjunction with other assessments under the banner of molecular medicine, this opens up new ways of assessing psychological health. With the input of a network of providers, it is the combination of putting all these assessment modalities together that is compelling.
Technology is also redefining treatment modalities. While nothing will unseat the value of relationship, new modalities can augment that. Virtual Reality Therapy can be very effective to treat fears and phobias (such as fear of heights, spiders, public speaking, social anxiety) as well as training mindfulness. Biofeedback allows one to see and influence your own physiological reactions, curing, for example, a cascade of downstream conditions that emanate from anxiety.
Another use of technology is Digital Therapeutics (also called Digital Medicine). Cogmed Working Memory Training is an excellent example of that. The need for working memory training is identified by way of an assessment and then the training is done at home, monitored online and coached by way of regular text messages and voice calls. This modality has also demonstrated success treating substance abuse.