Miscellaneous Articles

Study Proves Alpha-Stim Treatment Effective and Cost Efficient
National Institute for Health Research (NHS) of the United Kingdom Study Proves Alpha-Stim Treatment is As Effective and More Cost Efficient Than Current First-Line Therapy

May 29, 2019

The National Institute for Health Research (NHS) of the United Kingdom has released a new study on the clinical and cost effectiveness of Alpha-Stim®, a non-drug medical device designed for easy, at-home use. The study, which was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, included 161 volunteers suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), who had experienced unsatisfactory relief with other therapies.

The Sunday Times reports that “half of patients went into remission after treating themselves with the Alpha-Stim.” Only 28% of participants required supplemental treatment in addition to the Alpha-Stim. According to Dr. Richard Morriss, principal investigator of the study and Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Nottingham, “Alpha-Stim CES was more effective at achieving remission than we expected. As well as improvements in anxiety, there were improvements in depression and insomnia,” said Dr. Morriss in The Sunday Times.

Results achieved with Alpha-Stim in the NHS study prove that this neuromodulation treatment is a valuable alternative or a complement to the psychological treatment. An article in Woman and Home highlighted that the Alpha-Stim “could well be a useful alternative to treatment, for people looking for a different option – or those unhappy with the long NHS wait times that often come with anxiety treatments. Patients waiting for CBT can often wait upwards of eight weeks. A speedier, at-home option would likely be welcomed.”

In the wake of this groundbreaking research, Sky News profiled Steve Hutchinson, a father of four, who suffered from anxiety, insomnia, and depression until he discovered Alpha-Stim. “The change has been unbelievable in terms of my quality of life. It’s allowed me to do stuff that perhaps I would have struggled to do otherwise.”

In a companion article in The Sunday Times, a victim of violent sexual assault says, “After using the Alpha-Stim device, I am no longer jumping at every shadow and sound.” She reveals how after being traumatized for 16 years, she is at last finding some relief.

Posted in Anxiety, Miscellaneous Articles
Alpha-Stim vs. Prescription Drugs
Side Effects: Alpha-Stim vs. Prescription Drugs

5 September 2017, Alpha-Stim.com

One of the most notable factors about Alpha-Stim is its ability to treat anxiety, insomnia, depression and pain, without the negative side effects attached to most prescription medications.

In fact, out of over 100 clinical research studies, less than 1% of patients reported mild and self-limiting side effects, including dizziness (6 cases or 0.07%), skin irritation/electrode burns (6 cases or 0.07%), and headaches (9 cases or 0.10%).

Treating Depression

The most popular types of antidepressants are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Fluoxetine, Citalopram, Sertraline, Paroxetine and Escitalopram. The list of side effects, according to the FDA, for these medications is long, and includes a variety of symptoms.

A prescription for a patient who is battling a bout of depression can actually worsen and prolong the condition with side effects such as “thoughts about suicide or dying,” “attempts to commit suicide,” and “new or worsening depression.” When treating depression with Alpha-Stim, significant improvement typically takes 3 weeks or more of daily treatment. After the depression is under control, 2-3 treatments per week or less are usually sufficient to maintain good results.

Treating Anxiety

Anxiety can be impairing enough, without having to deal with side effects that slow you down even further. Alpha-Stim offers almost immediate relief for acute anxiety. Reduction is usually experienced during a single treatment.

“It was like it just melted the anxiety away. I could not believe the relief. How many times have I dealt with the anxiety because I didn’t want to take the drugs? Alpha-Stim allows me to fix my problem without stopping life. Life still goes on. To have a solution to the problem that allows me to go on about my life without any adverse effects i – Dakota Meyer, US Marine and Medal of Honor recipient

Treating Insomnia

Insomnia medication is often associated with a “hangover” type effect. There is no such effect with Alpha-Stim, allowing you to get more and better sleep, without any regrets the next morning. Patients usually see improvement after the initial treatment, but results may take up to 3 weeks.

Treating Pain

Alpha-Stim is Different

One of the most incredible things about Alpha-Stim is that it helps you feel like yourself again, and its lack of side effects ensures that you can return to your everyday activities, without having to worry about new illnesses being created in your attempt to treat the initial symptoms.

While some major prescription medications are highly addictive or have an accommodating effect (meaning that your body gets used to the medication and you have to increase dosage over time), Alpha-Stim is the opposite and treatments are cumulative. This means that over time, you’ll receive the same relief with fewer treatments.

Posted in Miscellaneous Articles
Alpha Stim vs. TENS
Comparing Alpha-Stim vs. TENS for Pain Relief

Alpha-Stim Newsletter, December 5, 2017


How does the technology used by Alpha-Stim compare to the technology used by a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) device?

In order to understand the difference, we need to first look at the purpose of each device. While a TENS device serves to treat localized pain, Alpha-Stim is FDA cleared to treat pain, anxiety, insomnia and depression.

When treating pain, Alpha-Stim uses microcurrent electrical therapy (MET) to provide fast, safe and proven effective relief for patients battling chronic, acute and post-traumatic—including post-surgical pain, through the use of either Smart Probes or AS-Trodes.

MET differs from TENS in that it uses far less current, while delivering the current in longer pulses. With a TENS device, the current can be several hundred times stronger than with Alpha-Stim. Although TENS can be quick to initially reduce some pain, the body typically accommodates to it, and as a result, maintaining a therapeutic effect requires an increased amount of current.

In contrast, MET and Alpha-Stim’s complex, patented waveform modulates the pain signal, instead of blocking it.  The effects from Alpha-Stim are not only fast-acting, but long-lasting and cumulative, with patients being able to decrease use over time. There is also a significant amount of research supporting the safety and effectiveness of Alpha-Stim.

Patient Paul Schaum noted that he experienced “limited use” and “no lasting benefits” from TENS, but saw a significant difference with Alpha-Stim: “I have multiple areas of pain and once was pretty much limited to a wheelchair except for short distances; some days I couldn’t even lift up a pen. I was introduced to Alpha-Stim without being told what it was at a VA doctor’s appointment. The amazing effect of the device still astounds me. I have seen it have a similar effect on military, disabled vets and civilians. I am not pain-free, but it is manageable. Drugs were of little help and the untoward side effects were certainly not helpful. My medication list was cut in more than half after being on Alpha-Stim for a brief period. NO, I am not a paid spokesman just a thankful patient.”

As Schaum referenced, in addition to providing lasting relief that is not available with TENS, Alpha-Stim stands apart from prescription pain medications by offering a treatment that comes with no risk of addiction and no lasting side effects.

Posted in Miscellaneous Articles
Dental Anxiety
Alpha-Stim Treats Dental Anxiety, So You Can Keep Your Dentist Appointment and Your Healthy Smile

February 14, 2018, Alpha-Stim Corporation

If going to the dentist gives you anxiety, you are certainly not alone – as many as 40 million Americans avoid going to the dentist as a result of their anxiety or fear, according to Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. There are many aspects of a dental visit that can bring on feelings of panic – the anticipation of discomfort; fear of the unknown; worry about needing painful procedures; or any number of other factors. But there is no need to let your anxiety prevent you from having a sparklingly clean smile. Alpha-Stim® is here to help.

Alpha-Stim is a handheld, non-invasive medical device that provides immediate relief from anxiety without medication. There is no risk of addiction with Alpha-Stim, and there are no lasting side effects. Relief from anxiety is attainable in just 20 to 60 minutes of treatment, which can take place before or during visits to the dentist – whenever your anxiety is at its worst. On top of that, the effectiveness of Alpha-Stim on dentist-specific anxiety has been studied – and patients reported an average of 61% less anxiety during procedures.

Brenda Pokorny of Charlotte, NC has done exactly that, with success: I have regularly been using my Alpha Stim device for all my dental appointments and procedures. I start using it 5-15 minutes before my appointment as I am then in full alpha wave mode for the procedure. Last week I had a 3 and a half hour extraction done. The tooth was abscessed with bone loss. Alpha Stim kept me feeling calm and at peace and out of fight or flight mode with no other sedation. All the yanking, pulling, scraping, etc. did not phase me or cause me any fear or anxiety. I will never go to the dentist without my Alpha Stim device. It makes a very emotionally hard situation more than bearable.”

Dental practitioners are also aware of the tremendous benefit Alpha-Stim can provide to patients during cleanings and treatments. Dr. Lisa Lucey of Meridian Point, Ireland, “introduced the Alpha-Stim to her practice and for some patients it has been life changing. It’s an alternative to oral medication with zero down time. You can still pop in for a visit on your lunch.”

If your anxiety has been keeping you away from the dentist’s office – or has left you dreading routine visits – Alpha-Stim can help. FDA cleared and available by prescription (in the U.S.), it can relieve your anxiety both before and during your appointments.


Posted in Miscellaneous Articles
Practicing Gratitude: Better than an Antidepressant
Practicing Gratitude is awesome!Gratitude is a thankful appreciation for what an individual receives, whether tangible or intangible. There is significant research in positive psychology that demonstrates that gratitude is associated with greater happiness. And, more importantly, the research shows that people can grow in their ability to express gratitude. Consequently, as a part of our holistic approach to counseling, alternative therapies and affirmation therapy, we encourage people to keep a gratitude journal: write down each day 3 – 5 things for which the person is grateful.

Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. In one study by two of the leading research psychologists in this area, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, after keeping a gratitude journal for ten weeks, people were more optimistic and felt better about their lives. They also began to exercise more and went to the doctor less often.

Other research has shown that practicing gratitude enhances relationships. In one study, individuals who took time to express gratitude for their partner felt more positive toward the other person and felt more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.

In family counseling we educate parents about the benefits of having their children keep gratitude journals, as well as themselves. Research (Froh, Sefick, Emmons, 2008) has shown that children who practice grateful thinking:

• Have more positive attitudes toward school and their families.

• Are more likely to achieve personal goals. (Students who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress toward important personal goals–academic, interpersonal and health-based, over a two-month period compared to the control group.)

• Have closer relationships

• Get better grades: Middle school students who kept gratitude journals for three weeks had an increased grade point average for the whole school year.

• Have greater energy, attentiveness, and enthusiasm.

As for its role in decreasing depression, the editor of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2011, Kim A Jobst wrote, “This is ground-breaking work of global significance. It applies in all cultures at all times but especially in our pharmaceutically dominated culture of dependence. (Practicing gratitude is a)… low cost highly effective means to help people submerged in the sea of depression.” Jobst comments were in support of research published in the journal that demonstrated that Positive Activity Intervention (PAI), such as gratitude, allow people to “increase their positive cognitions, emotions, and behaviors…”

Reference: Kristin Layous, Joseph Chancellor, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Lihong Wang, P. Murali Doraiswamy. Delivering Happiness: Translating Positive Psychology Intervention Research for Treating Major and Minor Depressive Disorders. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2011; 17 (8): 675 DOI: 10.1089/acm.2011.0139

Posted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Miscellaneous Articles
Tourette Syndrome – A Brief Overview
Tourette Syndrome (TS) is defined as a nervous system disorder in which twitches, movements, or unwanted sounds are experienced repeatedly. Generally speaking, people who have tics cannot stop their body from doing these things. The Center for Disease Control estimates that approximately 138,000 children suffer from TS in the United States and those impacted by TS often also experience Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Attention Deficit Disorder.

While medication has been the traditional treatment preference for individuals with TS, medication doesn’t always work and can cause unwanted side effects. Recent research suggests that Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics, or CBIT (pronounced see-bit), is a viable alternative treatment to medication management for individuals suffering from unwanted tics.

CBIT is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that was developed to teach a people with tics to become aware of their behavior and help them change what they do in a very careful and systematic way. As with traditional CBT, CBIT treatment generally involves 8-10 sessions of about 50 minutes each. CBIT has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for children and adults with TS. While it is not a cure for TS, it has been shown to reduce the frequency of tics in children and adults.

During CBIT, a therapist helps an individual become more aware of their tic and the behavior leading up to the tic. Once this awareness is achieved, the therapist teaches the individual how to perform a different and carefully chosen behavior instead of the tic. The new behavior replaces and makes it difficult to perform the original tic. For example, a child with a frequent throat clearing tic could be taught to engage in slow rhythmic breathing whenever he or she felt the urge to clear his or her throat. This can effectively reduce or eliminate the original problem.

Since tics are often exacerbated by stressful situations, it is also important to work with a therapist to identify situations that trigger the tics and to develop healthy coping mechanisms. While the research may be recent, Brownback, Mason has been offering cognitive-behavioral help for tics for many years. If you are interested in finding out more about cognitive behavioral therapy for you or someone you know suffering from TS, please contact our office.

Posted in Miscellaneous Articles
8 Helpful Hints For College.
iStock_000015266973XXLargeSometimes students with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) can make it all the way through high school without it interfering with getting good grades, only to find that the combination of independence in prioritizing tasks and the increased demand for multitasking in college overwhelm students’ ability to fight past the interference with learning created by ADD. Research supports permanent change for one’s cognitive functioning through neurofeedback, and we have extensive experience with using QEEG-guided neurofeedback training to free a person from the difficulties created by having ADD.   While learning strategies won’t get rid of ADD, they sometimes can help a student manage its effects.

Here are some that might be helpful:

Sit in front of the class: there are fewer distractions if you sit close to the lecturer.

Resist the tendency to skip class: build self-discipline and momentum in learning.

Hang a large wall calendar where you will see it frequently. Write down when assignments are due in different color markers for different classes so you can have perspective.

Participate in class and in study groups: asking questions helps keep your brain engaged.

How to get the most from your reading assignments: while this technique may seem like a lot of work, it will actually save you time because it keeps you from tuning out while reading and protects you from studying material that you have already mastered.
Read one paragraph at a time. At the end of the paragraph, decide what was the main point/points.
Write each main point down on an index card in the form of a question. Put the answer on the other side of the index card.
By the end of one chapter, you may have as many as 100 cards filled out.
Go through the cards and read each question.
If you don’t know the answer, put an X on the top.
If you do know the answer, put a check.
Once you have a card with 5 checks on it, put in a review pack.
Keep testing yourself on the cards with less than 5 checks.
If you find you keep struggling with the same several cards, ask yourself why: perhaps you need some additional help with a concept, perhaps you need a mnemonic device to help you remember, etc.
Before a test, review all the cards that are now in the review pack.

How to take notes in class. Keep on the writing surface a post-it with BROILV
B: Write down anything the teacher writes on the board. Why? Because writing on a board takes effort beyond talking, so it is probably important to the lecturer.

R: Write down anything the lecturer says twice

O: Write down anything the lecturer says will be on the test, and then put a * beside it.

I: Write down anything the lecturer says is important or in some way indicates that it is significant.

L: Write down any lists of information

V: Write down any new words, items, terms, places, dates or people

Create as much structure as you can possibly be comfortable with. The more routines you have, the less likely you are to allow a responsibility to fall through the cracks. Structure includes:
Lists (and whenever possible, create cellphone alerts to remind you to periodically check the lists)
Rituals (doing routine behaviors the same way consistently)
Notes to self

Utilize color coding because one, many people with ADHD are visually oriented. Two, it is another way to build structure: for example, build a system for your files where the color of the folder represents a topic, a course, etc.

Posted in Anxiety, Miscellaneous Articles, Parenting
5 Ways to Enhance Your Counseling Experience
1. Don’t story-tell. Up to a certain point, the counselor needs to understand the events that are going on in your life.  This is called story-telling.   It isn’t therapy  if all you do in your time together is review what has happened in your life since your last meeting.  Good counseling always looks beyond the story to the underlying patterns, and then makes an intervention in the pattern in order to bring about change.  So resist the urge to fill your therapist in on all the details of your life.

2. Don’t be afraid to express how you feel about the counseling to your therapist.  Some of the best sessions occur when people get frustrated, or even angry with the therapist for some reason or other.  One of the important things a competent counselor will do is acknowledge when he or she has missed the mark. More important, he or she will be able to handle and contain your negative emotions, including, especially, your anger.

3. Don’t talk to everyone else about your therapy.  Quite often, people will begin to confront uncomfortable aspects of their personality in the counseling process. In their discomfort, which is usually experienced as some type of anxiety, they will talk in detail to their spouse, or to their friends, about what is going on in the therapy. They get differing opinions regarding their experience and unknowingly reduce the effectiveness of the counseling.  You can talk about your counseling, but a good rule of thumb would be to discuss only those parts of the counseling where issues have been resolved, or are close to being resolved.

4. Don’t worry about becoming dependent on your therapist. One of the issues people all work on in counseling is that of trust. Many see a professional counselor because they have trouble trusting others with very much of themselves-they are “loners” emotionally. Usually this difficulty in trusting others stems from emotionally detached relationships in early experiences, in particular, with one’s parents. In a manner of speaking, clients need to go through a re-parenting process with their counselor. This usually happens when clients look at those early issues of trust, although it can happen in any good counseling.

5. Don’t limit the goals of your counseling. Often people go to a counselor to resolve a specific problem. But the counseling experience can also be an opportunity to learn new skills, and new, more effective behaviors-to become a more balanced person.  Our training and objectivity as professional psychologists and therapists will help you see your blind spots, which will enable you to resolve the problem that brought you to our office and to learn things that will enrich your life.

Adapted from the book Seeking Wise Counsel by Dr. Dave Stoop

Brownback, Mason and Associates is a group of counselors located in Allentown, Pennsylvania who have been serving the Lehigh Valley area for more than 30 years. Clients come from Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and beyond to meet with one of our counselors to discuss their goals toward future wholeness.

Posted in Miscellaneous Articles
3 Things to Look For in a Therapist
Therapists hold a variety of degrees and titles.  Some of the more common credentials include: Psychologist (MA or Ph.D.), Social worker (MSW), Professional Counselor (MA) and Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT).  A good therapist, whatever his or her degree, demonstrates commitment to the client, community and one’s own profession through ethical practices.

Aside from common professional courtesies such as being punctual and returning phone calls, a good therapist is a dependable person with whom you can explore every aspect of your life.   The bond should be one of trust, encouragement, and support.  That doesn’t mean that a good therapist won’t challenge you about dysfunction in your life, but it will be done in a safe and empowering manner.

When selecting a therapist ask about:


What degree/s do you hold?
In what year did you obtain your degree and from what University?
In what state are you licensed and what is your license number?
Do you hold any specialized certifications or trainings?

How long have you been in practice?
Do you have experience treating people with issues similar to what I am experiencing?
Do you obtain regular supervision?
Practice Orientation

What types of therapy do you offer?
What role can my spirituality play in therapy? (If applicable)
Do you believe people can change?
Brownback, Mason and Associates is a group of therapists located in Allentown, Pennsylvania who have been serving the Lehigh Valley area for more than 30 years. Clients come from Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton and beyond to meet with one of our therapists to discuss their goals for future wholeness.

Posted in Miscellaneous Articles
What is a Psychologist?
By Brownback, Mason and Associates of Allentown, Pennsylvania

Psychologists are involved in every aspect of human thought, feeling and behavior and can provide counseling, psychotherapy, and diagnostic assessment or “testing” services.  They are trained to help people deal with many of life’s problems and can provide treatment for adjustment problems, emotional disorders and mental illness.

Common areas of concerns for which people seek the help of a psychologist include depression, anxiety, phobias, panic disorders, eating disorders, stress related problems, and relationship problems.  Treatment is available for people of all ages and to individuals, couples, families and groups.

Using interviews, questionnaires, and measurement tools, psychologists can chart an individual’s skills, personality features and personality style, emotional status and emotional style, or problems they may be having in adjusting to life. These measurements are often essential for clarifying the diagnosis of a mental illness or an addiction.

Some psychologists use the term clinical psychologist or counseling psychologist as opposed to research oriented psychologists.  A psychologist usually holds a doctoral degree (Ph.D.) and may be called “doctor,” but is not a medical doctor (M.D.).  Consequently, psychologists usually do not provide medications and are not allowed to write prescriptions.  Psychologists have to pass licensing examinations and should be members of the American Psychological Association.

We are a group of psychologists and mental health counselors located in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Brownback, Mason and Associates has been serving the Lehigh Valley area including Bethlehem, Easton and beyond for more than 30 years.


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