Biofeedback: "A very fun course"

Monday 8 January 2018

Drs. Daniëlle M. Matto, BCIAC is a certified clinical psychologist and child psychologist with interest in neuropsychology, with over 15 years of experience in biofeedback and stress management. In her private practice she combines biofeedback with cognitive behavioral therapy, stress management techniques and audiovisual entrainment. In addition to her clinical work she teaches biofeedback classes for psychologists and physical therapists and acts as a mentor for biofeedback therapists.

The choice to take on the study of psychology was pure coincidence for drs Matto. "I actually didn't want to study, my parents had to force me. Medicine was the only study I liked, but my curriculum in high school did not match the requirements to start studying medicine. My second choice was catering or tourism. I went to an information evening of the VU University Amsterdam and the only seats available were for the psychology faculty! I decided to enter that study, telling my parents that I was going to stop after a year. In that year though, I learned about neurophysiology, which I found extremely interesting so I decided to continue. I then focused on clinical and child and youth neurophysiology and after six years, in 1990, I finished my studies in these two disciplines.

Drs. Matto has a broad interest and considers herself an all-round professional. "I like doing lots of things. I found that I like to teach, I'm from a family of teachers, but I also noticed that the fun wears off when standing in front of a class for too long. I'm only enjoying it when the students are genuinely interested in the subject. That is why the biofeedback course I'm teaching every year is a very fun course to teach. In the last few years, I have developed myself more as a psychologist and I discovered my talent to guide people with stress and anxiety problems.

"By taking courses for her weaker points, she tries to develop herself even more. "Right now I have gained enough experience to help people coping with grief and loss as well. The variety of clients and problems appeals very much to me. There are no standard clients. I get to deal with all kind of problems: depression, fear, sleeping disorders, work related problems, problems after a divorce or the loss of a job, problems with assertiveness, and so on. I like the fact that I can switch between having talks with patients, doing biofeedback and Audio Visual Entrainment (AVE). There are no dull working days and I'll easily manage to keep this up for many years. Besides that I do a lot of work for the Biofeedback Foundation of Europe, as senior administrator. What appeals to me is that I can develop my English. I think I'm actually quite bilingual by now. I also get to build a network of biofeedback professionals from all over the world."

Like with her study, she also ran into biofeedback by accident. "During my study I delivered frozen meals to elderly people for a home care institution. After my study I couldn't get a job, so I stayed with this institution for a while doing administration. I was allowed to participate in some projects, one of which was a research about the effect of light therapy in winter depression. The light cabinets in that study were supplied by Medasto and that's how I met Hans Stodel, CEO of Medasto. He is the uncle of Erik Peper, who was at the time looking for a representative for Larry Klein to import biofeedback equipment and he asked Hans. Since Hans didn't know anything about biofeedback he asked me to look into what biofeedback was. One thing led to another and soon I was working for Medasto as a 'Product Specialist Biofeedback'. I did this for eight years until Medasto was taken over by another company and my role was more and more directed towards sales. I started missing the practical work as a psychologist and I cut the knot in 2003 to leave the company."

Surprisingly, drs. Matto did not learn about biofeedback during her study. "I can only remember one practice lesson in which muscle tension was being measured. Only later did I realize that this was biofeedback. Besides that, I had never heard of biofeedback during my study."

Drs. Matto has been playing a significant role in the BFE. "After it was founded I helped organizing BFE's annual meetings. Soon enough I was doing the registration for each congress. At one point I was asked to become the executive director, which I did for a few years until it was too much work and I could not combine it with my job."In 2004 she started working for BFE again as senior administrator, responsible for finances, administration and conference organization. Since 2007 I represent the Netherlands in the BFE advisory board."

Drs. Matto mostly uses the NeXus-10 in her practice. The choice for the NeXus device was because of the software. "I had already been using the BioTrace software, which is very user friendly. I really like the easy way you can build your own screens. I sometimes use the games of the Emwave PC and Wilddivine to make practicing with biofeedback more fun for my clients. I think the BioTrace software can be improved by adding even more games. For Audio Visual Entrainment I use the David Pal, both for clients to teach concentration or to calm the brain down. I even use it for personal use, to improve my sleep."

About Drs. MattoDrs. Daniëlle Matto, BCIAC owns a private practice for psychology and biofeedback. She is also a teacher, educating clinicians on biofeedback. She's a founding member and senior administrator of the Biofeedback Foundation of Europe (BFE). In 2006 she founded the Dutch section of the BFE. She is also a member of the Dutch Society of Psychologists (NIP) and of the International Stress Management Association (ISMA).

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