Located in La Jolla, California, LifeMAX® Medical Group provided in-office, computer-assisted, biobehavioral treatment for Anxiety and Fear Disorders. Biobehavioral treatment is the documented treatment of choice; the computer makes that choice possible and practicable.
Heretofore, outpatient, comprehensive psychiatric treatment utilizing the full scope of therapeutic procedures based upon the biobehavioral orientation was unavailable anywhere. Providing such care was too demanding, laborious, time-consuming, and expensive. It was too demanding because it required the clinician to impart a large body of knowledge to the patient in a sequential and easily understood format. It was too laborious; it required the clinician to impart the same body of information over and over to patient after patient. It was too time-consuming and expensive; it required many hours simply to impart the basic body of information necessary.
Fortunately, computer science now has made the heretofore impossible possible. The computer allows for a step-by-step, systematic, consistent, easy-to-use, affordable, biobehavioral format. It offers each patient the necessary education about anxiety and fear and how best to relieve them. It provides an attractive, interactive platform by which to apply that information personally and individually. It enables data-entry that automatically documents clinical course in the form of a graph — an actual picture of progress. These computerized functions assist clinician and patient in selecting and tailoring the right plan to fulfill the right goals whilst enriching the total, therapeutic experience.
Computer-assisted, biobehavioral treatment obviates the commonplace demand among alternative approaches for a potentially unending commitment to a non-specific process with ill-defined goals. The computer propels mental healthcare out of the 19th and into the 21st century.
Unlike its non-scientific alternatives, biobehavioral treatment amalgamates the biological and behavioral sciences. Encompassing the benefits of both, it offers "no nonsense", clinical techniques that reflect basic, scientific guidelines. Treatment is procedure-based, not process-based; that is, similar to surgery, it offers specific procedures for specific problems versus the "one size fits all", process-based approaches of non-scientific alternatives.
Biological science offers the benefits of traditional medical practice, both diagnostically and therapeutically. It includes the limited use of medication.
Behavioral science dates back to the late 19th century, actually preceding psychoanalysis, and has a long history of empirical studies of behavior, describing its causes and effects. Behavioral science offers a scientific foundation to support specific, therapeutic procedures for changing maladaptive behavior and relieving mental distress.
Therapeutic procedures based upon behavioral science fall into one of the following, two categories: 1) respondent procedures, which address cognition, emotion, and physiology, and 2) those based upon operant procedure, which addresses behavior. Respondent procedure grew out of the pioneering work in the 1920's of I. P. Pavlov, a Russian physiologist. Operant procedure grew out of the pioneering work in the 1930's of B. F. Skinner, an American, experimental psychologist. Heretofore, systematic treatment for disabling anxiety and fear has been limited to respondent procedure (e.g., Exposure Procedure), and even that treatment has been limited in its availability. Given the advent of the computer and the development of clinical software by LifeMAX® Systems, clinicians now have a vehicle by which to provide a comprehensive range of both operant and respondent procedures — systematically and reliably.
Treatment at LifeMAX® Medical Group for Anxiety and Fear Disorders clinically incorporated computer technology. The basic Success-in-Living® Sequence is computer-assisted.
"Computer-assisted" means that the computer assists clinician and patient by presenting a necessary, basic body of information; providing an interactive venue via which the patient applies personally the information presented; and enabling data-collection that documents quantitatively the course of treatment in the form of a graph.
"Computer-based" means that the computer solely or primarily provides the entire treatment. It is well-suited only for certain, limited, clinical tasks. Desensitization Procedure is one of those tasks. The LifeMAX® Desensitization Clinical Utility is computer-based.
Prior to treatment, it is necessary to determine suitability of the program for the patient. This determination begins with a low-cost, screening session.
During the initial Screening Session, the prospective patient 1) receives a brief multimedia presentation of the therapeutic program and 2) provides the information for a truly comprehensive medical history to be taken via Hx® with a printed copy being given to the prospective patient prior to departure. The medical history then is reviewed by a psychiatrist, who determines whether a full, diagnostic evaluation seems indicated. Whatever the psychiatrist’s screening recommendation, the prospective patient may elect to proceed with the diagnostic evaluation.
During the Diagnostic Evaluation, the psychiatrist completes the comprehensive medical history begun during the Screening Session, giving special emphasis to the patient’s presenting complaint. Then, the psychiatrist completes a standardized mental examination via Mx®. Usually, only a single appointment is required. The psychiatrist determines whether the Program is suitable for the patient and makes the corresponding recommendation. If the Program is suitable, the patient then may enroll in the treatment phase; if not, a suitable referral is offered.
Treatment begins with Success-in-Living® Sequence for Anxiety/Fear. The Sequence is a 12-week series of sessions, each lasting 2½ to 3 hours. On occasion, the psychiatrist may recommend one or more pre-sequence sessions to prepare the patient better for the Sequence itself. Treatment is available on an individual or group basis, depending upon the nature of the diagnosis and the recommendation of the psychiatrist. Whether on an individual or group basis, added personal sessions with the clinician are available and sometimes recommended.
Each individual session begins with an educational, interactive period on the computer, which helps to prepare the patient to address the therapeutic topic of the day. Next, the patient sees the clinician to personalize the educational material in a collaborative fashion. Finally, the session ends with the patient returning to the workstation to formalize that personalized application via computerized questions and guides.
Groups are composed of no more than six regularly scheduled participants; a seventh may be added if that participant is making up a missed session or repeating a session. Each group session begins with a brief period of discussion followed by a series of alternating multimedia presentations to the group as a whole, individual interaction on the participant’s workstation, and additional periods of group discussion under clinical supervision.
The medical literature is clear — Anxiety and Fear Disorders tend to be chronic and recurrent. Medication may alleviate the emotional distress, but, when medication is discontinued, the suffering generally returns. Adding a therapeutic component based upon behavioral science improves the immediate outcome and decreases the chances of relapse; nevertheless, additional, follow-up treatment may be indicated. The reasons might include the following: a) insufficient time during the Sequence itself for the therapeutic procedure to exert full benefit, depending upon the requirements of the individual plan; b) based upon therapeutic measurement of progress, a need to revise the initial treatment plan; or c) occurrence of a new problem entirely different from the original, presenting problem.
Follow-up treatment is offered via the Continuing Success® Series, either on an individual or group basis. Each Series is composed of four, weekly sessions. As in the Sequence, each session is computer-assisted. The patient may enroll in as many Series as clinically indicated and appropriate. The enrollments need not be contiguous, so a patient might take off a month, two or three then return for a single Series.
Unquestionably, we live in the Computer Age. Living in the Computer Age brings great benefits accompanied by significant risks. Among the many benefits is that of enhanced access to information. Unfortunately, that benefit can lead to the risk of mischief, including invasion of privacy.
Contrary to a popular misconception, there is no specific provision in the U. S. Constitution that protects personal privacy. The absence does not mean that personal privacy, including privacy afforded to one’s medical records, should not be protected; quite the contrary.
LifeMAX® Medical Group protects patients’ privacy. LifeMAX® Medical Group does not release information to any third-party without the patient’s expressed, written permission. Furthermore, there are no Internet connections to the database.
Given the constraints of "managed care", LifeMAX® Medical Group has ceased clinical operation in San Diego. For clinicians operating outside "managed care" who desire more information about implementing LifeMAX® computer-assisted clinical services via licensing, please contact LifeMAX® Systems via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LifeMAX® Systems currently is seeking capital-investment to implement its programs through recognized, major institutions, such as academic centers. Interested parties (principals only) should contact LifeMAX® Systems via e-mail at email@example.com.