MEET DR HELFAND
Relaxation and Relationship Coach
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, I want every client to receive outstanding support, and I also find that a dash of humor goes a long way when dealing with serious topics.
As a high school student in Vermont, I struggled with similar issues of identity and frustration that many adolescents encounter. The world did not match my beliefs and I refused to bend to its demands. My parents (therapists themselves) encouraged me to read about meditation and other relaxation techniques. I borrowed books from their library along with a small thermal-biofeedback machine that I could use to monitor my progress. 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 oak wood floor. As someone who struggled with sleep for what felt like an already long life, I decided I needed to learn more about this seemingly magical technique.
I completed my bachelors degree in psychology from the University of Vermont. During my enrollment, 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. My cousin eventually invited me to attend a Vipassana style meditation retreat in Joshua Tree, CA with her. This retreat became a turning point in my personal meditation and reflection practice. Of course, ten days in silent meditation can have that effect.
When I returned from my meditation retreat, I met with the director of the community mindfulness program on campus which I had been attending regularly for over one year now. She agreed to let me lead meditation groups, and I became the first student volunteer in the program. Around the same time, I found a Kripalu Yoga Instructor, who introduced me to a style of yoga that I immediately fell in love with. The blend of mindful movement and strength building was exactly what I needed to help tame this adolescent mind. I began developing a theory that majority of human suffering could be traced back to dysregulation in the brain. I shared my novel theory with anyone that would listen, and it turned out that there was already a technology that had been built upon similar principles: neurofeedback. In my senior year of college, I created another independent study this time focused on neurofeedback. I found a local mentor, read several books on the subject, and recruited an adviser from the neuropsychology department at the university.
Since that time I have continued to further my education, and I have also been fortunate enough to start a family with a wonderful partner. I continue to love helping others find fulfillment and peace in life, and I am learning every day how to deepen my own practice both personally, professionally, and as a member of a new family.
While studying psychology and philosophy at the University of Vermont, I created an independent study course in Neurofeedback. I also started my first job in social work at this time at a drop in center for at risk youth. Later on, I was hired as a respite worker in their residential programs and eventually a residential manager for their juvenile boys program. After finishing my bachelors degree in 2009, I moved to Massachusetts and continued my work in social services. I received training in yoga at that time and started a business called Conscious Being Yoga where I taught in local studios, offices, and people’s homes, I quickly realized I had to further my education in order to really help people, so applied to programs in the area.
In 2011, I enrolled in a graduate program at William James College (then named the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology). I also taught community yoga classes and meditation groups during my enrollment. I finished my doctorate in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in Health Psychology in 2015, and was then hired to start a neurofeedback practice in Beverly, MA. After about 2 years at that group practice, I decided it was time to leave so that I could offer clients what I had found to be the best combination of my expertise blending together meditation, yoga, neurofeedback, and psychology.
My work to find the best solution for clients is never over. I have been fortunate enough to meet Anna, my wonderful wife, who is also in the world of psychology and therapy. We are working on developing a retreat program for families where we would each provide specialized support to members of the family based on their unique needs. It is our hope that through working on stress, relationships, and families the world can be a more peaceful place for everyone.
"As of 30 years ago, I've been suffering from chronic panic attacks that would hit me at any given time and place. Last year I experienced a severe panic attack while heading to spring vacation with my family. I felt horrible and my wife and kids for the first time saw me experiencing and attack…
"My husband and I got more done in 3 hours with Dr H than in several years of therapy with multiple therapists."
"After just one neurofeedback session my wife said I was a changed man. I was more pleasant, had more energy, and I slept great that night."