Meet Dr Helfand
I believe that everyone deserves the best chance at living a happy, fulfilling, and peaceful life. After years of working in mental health, I started realizing that working intensively with people often produced the most significant changes. It seemed that as soon as the 30 or 45 minute session was over, we had just started. I am passionate about the work I do, and I want every client to receive outstanding support.
The Longer Version
Meaning & Purpose
I became a doctor to teach people how to live a better life. I have spent years learning and practicing biofeedback, neurofeedback, yoga, meditation/mindfulness, health psychology, and general lifestyle skills to figure out the most effective tools to identify and correct the underlying reasons that prevent my clients from having a fulfilling and fun life. I started developing a theory in high school that the majority of human suffering could be traced back to dysregulation in the brain or nervous system in general. I have refined this theory over time, but the original principles seem to hold true to this day.
Like many adolescents, I found myself experiencing disruptive levels of anxiety and depression at a time in my life when the culture suggests that your life should be carefree and wide open to possibilities. I managed to find methods to cope, was a relatively good student despite some behavioral issues in school and lived what most outsiders would describe as a normal life. Inside however, I felt a constant struggle. My parents (therapists themselves) encouraged me to read about meditation and other relaxation techniques. I borrowed books from their library along with a simple biofeedback machine that I could use to monitor stress. My first attempt to relax was marked by waking up and realizing the machine was still turned on and the book had fallen onto the hardwood floor beside me. As someone who struggled with sleep for what felt like an already long life, I decided this new method warranted further investigation.
Education & Training
During my enrollment at the University of Vermont, I began attending a weekly community mindfulness group led by volunteers on campus. The university also offered an introductory course on yoga, which I completed and then created an independent study to continue my education. I attended my first of several 10-day meditation retreats during this time which became a turning point in my personal meditation and reflection practice. Ten days in silence can often have that effect. Upon returning from the retreat, I was given the opportunity to lead one of the community meditation groups that I had been attending now for over one year. I became the first student volunteer in the program. Around the same time, I found a Kripalu Yoga Instructor, and I immediately appreciated the blend of mindful movement and strength building in this yoga style. In my senior year of college, I created another independent study this time focused on neurofeedback. While engaged in my own neurofeedback treatment, I noticed my alcohol consumption began to decrease, which was unusual for someone who just turned 21. After discussing the phenomenon with my mentor, we concluded that alcohol was a form of self-medication, and since my brain was becoming more balanced, it no longer needed the chemical induced relaxation.
After college, I moved to Massachusetts in hopes of furthering my career in psychology and mental health. During this time, I became a certified Kripalu yoga instructor. I founded Conscious Being Yoga and provided private yoga retreats and classes in my students’ homes or offices. While growing the new yoga business, I was also working with families in their homes providing therapeutic and psychological services. It soon became apparent that in order to really help people, I would need to push my education even farther, so I applied to graduate schools and was accepted into the doctoral program at William James College (formerly known as The Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology).
My graduate studies were mostly in health and clinical psychology, and I completed my dissertation on the therapeutic relationship during neurofeedback treatment. During graduate school, I also became certified in neurofeedback and worked as a technician in an office for over three years honing my craft. After graduation, I started a neurofeedback program within a group practice in Beverly, Massachusetts. I grew the business for a couple of years until I decided that it was time to start my own business once again. I founded LifeWise, LLC to finally bring my vision of care to those in need. It has been an amazing journey of self-exploration, being of service to others, and finding balance with a growing family.
My wife and I share a similar view on health and connection. We regularly work on our relationship and commitment to each other while building a business and raising a family. I look forward to her joining the practice one day when we can offer family retreats in addition to working with couples and individuals. I believe the world is striving for balance and health. Unfortunately, most of us are not taught how to balance and calm our nervous systems, how to strengthen or repair our relationships, and how to move through the world with meaning and purpose. It is our hope that through working on stress, relationships, and families the world can be a more peaceful place for everyone.