Survey Response: Brooke Mathews, LCSW

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This survey was last updated in May 2014.

Degrees/Licenses Held:
LCSW 27573, Licensed in the state of California
MSW from the University of Southern California
MA, City College of New York
BA, The College of William and Mary

Contact Information:
917-692-4085 or
Office Address: 3331 Ocean Park Suite 101 Santa Monica, CA 90405

Number of years in practice helping people with TMS: 9 years

Number of clients you have seen who have had TMS: 100+

What is your association to the TMS community?
For nearly a decade, I have worked with patients who suffer from chronic migraines and chronic pain disorders. As someone who has previously suffered from chronic migraines myself, I understand the intricacies of TMS/PPD from both angles.

Have you ever suffered from TMS? If so, how did you recover?
Yes; I suffered from chronic migraines for several years prior to understanding what TMS was and how it can be treated. I am happy to say that through my own personal work in the TMS community, I am migraine free for many years.

What insurance plans do you currently accept?
I am an out-of-network provider; please call so that we can discuss how to make this work for you.

Do you have a sliding scale of payment for people who are not covered by insurance?
Yes, I am happy to accept sliding scale fees to ensure that all members of the TMS community are able to access the care that they need. Please call to discuss payment arrangements.

Are you able to conduct sessions over the phone and/or via internet video services (i.e. Skype or FaceTime)?
Yes; I believe in-person therapy can be very effective; however, for many people who suffer from chronic pain the telephone is the easiest (and most painless) form of communication. Thanks to forums such as Skype, Google Hangout and Face Time, there are many other mediums in which long-distance work can be conducted very effectively.

What have you done to educate yourself about TMS, and what plans do you have for further education about TMS?
I have attended conferences, conducted independent readings, as well as consultation with colleagues and was previously a member of the PPDA board.

What mindbody books do you recommend to your patients? In particular do you recommend Dr. Sarno's books?
When appropriate, I like to recommend Dr. Sarno’s MindBody Prescription to new patients. Based on the patient’s experience and understanding of TMS, I also recommend The Divided Mind and Dr. David Schechter’s MindBody Workbook for outside work.

As we are going to post your answers on the TMS Wiki, feel free to write some text to introduce yourself.
As a former chronic migraine sufferer, I have devoted a great deal of my practice to working with and advocating for patients who can't seem to find anything medically or physically wrong. I have experience working with individuals impacted by a range of mood disorders, as well as post traumatic stress, lupus, and fibromyalgia, all of which have dramatically impacted their physical health. I have previously served on the Psychophysiologic Disorders Association board in an effort to help spread the word that just because a patient might not be able to find anything medically wrong, doesn't mean he or she doesn't need and deserve empathic treatment. I also like to incorporate family into treatment as much as possible, when appropriate, as they are often a great resource for collaboration regarding the patient’s wellness.

Questions Specific to Therapists

What is your general psychotherapeutic treatment approach?
As a psychodynamic therapist, I focus a great deal on a patient’s attachment and how that impacts a patient’s views of self, the world, and their health. Together, we can work on renegotiating a healthy attachment schema, all while utilizing concrete strategies to manage and reduce the experience of pain.

How does your approach to treating TMS differ from your general psychotherapeutic treatment approach?
In my practice, the treatment of TMS is actually quite similar to working with someone who is dealing with a mood disorder, anxiety, or addiction, as pain is frequently a co-occurring symptom with these disorders. My approach is to treat the whole person, whether you come in with pain and are subsequently depressed, or your pain is a result of your anxiety, I work with patients to address the source of the problem and resolve the issues with pain.

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