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April 26, 2020

Head Talks: Pacific Brain Health Center Offers New Series of Support Groups

by Ryan Glatt

A new series of groups at Pacific Neuroscience Institute’s Brain Health Center is set to support patients with cognitive and psychological well-being in the context of neurodegenerative diseases.

New Head Talks Support Groups

With the most recent expansion of the Pacific Brain Health Center, “Head Talks” has been of particular interest to the center’s team of providers, patients, and community members alike. Head Talks are meant to include everything from group medical visits to therapeutic programs and guest speakers, and a specific conference room has been developed in anticipation of these much-needed programs.

And then… COVID-19 hits.

Virtual Support Groups

Luckily, the team at the Pacific Brain Health Center has quickly pivoted to offering these groups virtually. The first instance of one of these groups, the PLUS (Parkinson’s Living: Understanding & Support) Group, caters to patients living with Parkinson’s disease, to discuss the needs of the psychological, cognitive, occupational and medical concerns associated with the condition.

“It’s a dream come true!” said David Merrill, MD, PhD, director of the Pacific Brain Health Center. “In the midst of a pandemic, Pacific Brain Health team members successfully launched a weekly Zoom group for Parkinson’s disease patients that includes both a complementary ‘lifestyle coaching’ AND conventional group psychotherapy.”

Dr. David Merrill, Director Pacific Brain Health Center

Social Worker and regional APDA liaison Sheila Moore, Clinic Supervisor Kyrsten Cardenas, and I spearheaded this well-received PLUS group in early April. “We had 11 registered participants almost immediately,” commented Moore. “More will join in next week allowing us to reach almost 15 patients!”

Head Talk Support Group Details

Each Head Talk group registers up to 15 participants for an 8-week series of sessions. Benefits include a group of individuals going through patient-centered therapy and coaching and developing a strong sense of community, empathy, and support with each other and the providers involved.

This first group will become a template and inspiration for additional groups over time, such as for those with Multiple Sclerosis, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Dementia, and caregivers for a variety of conditions.

The Brain Health Center is facilitating collaboration among eligible licensed providers, coaches, and support staff for co-facilitating these various groups.

It’s a new horizon of support amidst uncertain times, and the team at the Pacific Brain Health Center and beyond is looking forward to exploring the possibilities.

For more information, contact our specialists at 310-582-7641.

About the Author

Ryan Glatt

Ryan Glatt

Ryan Glatt, FAFS, BSc, is a Psychometrist & Brain Health Coach who develops curricula specifically targeted towards those with dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease, coaching them towards their optimum brain health. He is at the Pacific Brain Health Center at Pacific Neuroscience Institute, Providence Saint John’s Health Center.

Last updated: May 5th, 2020