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Victoria L. Little, MS, LCPC, CPLC

     I am a health psychology therapist, an integrative health coach, neurofeedback practitioner, meditation trainer, reiki master, and cancer survivor/thriver. I use mind-body medicine (MBM) as well as other models of medicine and healing to support people in optimizing their own innate healing capabilities and be whole. My primary means to get you healthier is YOU, that is a “self-regulated” you!

     Our state of health and wellbeing all begins in our brains. The ability to heal resides in our amazing plastic brains that change themselves. Thus, effective therapy that produces quality results needs to start with the brain. I developed this approach of care ~ “integrative brain health” (IBH) where YOU and your brain direct the journey to a healthier you.

     With IBH model, your brain is assessed and a personalized treatment protocol is obtained. Know too that no two brains are alike, and the QEEG brain mapping assessment allows us to look directly at your brain live, enables a concrete analysis of your issues, and removes any guessing as to what needs to be done to get healthier. Moreover, the results are measurable. I take pre and post assessments and measure the comparative differences. Thus, the exact percentage of change that brain retraining had formed is mathematically equated throughout each training session.

Education and experience overview:

     I have three degrees. One of my undergraduate degrees is in mental health and the other in Psychology. I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland in 1990.  My area of expertise then were with crisis intervention and trauma. I had worked with families and victims of domestic violence, incest, and rape for over a decade. I provided services as a counselor with individuals or groups, worked on a crisis hotline, provided court advocacy for victims, provided emergency room companionship for rape victims while the rape evidence kits were collected, and was an educator/trainer to prevent sexual abuse throughout many of Maryland’s private schools.

     My undergraduate research work was original work and was on the effectiveness of rape prevention training.  Specifically, I wanted to know if rape prevention classes that included fear-provoked vignettes of women being stalked induced fear restrictive behaviors, such as avoiding going out when dark, or nonrestrictive confident behaviors, such as going out at dark but making smart choices such as going out with a buddy or parking in a well-lit area. Thus, even in my early years of undergraduate studies, I was questioning the various approaches of therapy that were used and assessing whether the approaches used were of benefit or not.

     From graduate studies, I got temporally derailed and decided to forego doctorate studies until my son was grown. This decision was made with the mindset that I would be able to return easily to school at any time. Little did I know, I would get stage three, triple negative breast cancer at the early age of 41 or that I would be in the position to have choose to go back to graduate school with the challenges imposed by having chemo brain.

     I did go to graduate school for my master’s degree. This time spent was invaluable, predominately in two ways. First and foremost, it was the place where I put to use neuroplasticity and had to learn to balance smaller studying periods with intermittent breaking, while still getting all the work done in a timely fashion. This is extremely challenging mostly because you will suffer with high anxiety when you overtax the brain and at that point cognitive functioning ceases.

     Secondly, it was invaluable in that I had learnt a lot from the experiences of working with the university’s disability office. During orientation I had met with the university disability advisor and appropriate accommodations were granted to offset the disabilities I had returned to graduate school with: chemo brain, advanced stage lymphedema, and history of repeated infections with a compromised immune system. These experiences were intensely stressful; particularly since at this level of education, a graduate level or above, the use of accommodations to offset some of your “problems” is at the discretion of each professor, even though disabilities office has accessed you and “prescribed the allotted accommodations”.

     Nonetheless, I prevailed in completing graduate studies and with honors, in spite of the health challenges I face. I received my master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Baltimore in 2015. This was twenty-five years after doing my undergraduate studies. Essentially, I had found that little had changed in psychology over all those years, particularly from a theoretical viewpoint, short of the addition of feminism.

     Thus, studies this time around, presented an excellent opportunity for me to go beyond the core studies of psychology and expand my learning to other models of healing. I used this time in graduate school to critically think and present my case, with hard science and research, the value of using MBM, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), integrative psychology, as well as other models of healing. Whereby, I set the goal early in my career as a practitioner to treat people as integrated beings~ mind, body and spirit ~ and to bridge the gaps in treatment so there is little to no divide between psychology and medicine.

     Likewise, during graduate school and beyond it, I have had the good fortune of being able to provide integrative therapies through excellent internships and externships. I had the rewarding experience of working as Mind-Body Medicine (MBM) Therapist with cancer survivors and their caretakers at Upper Chesapeake Hospital (UCH) Kaufman Cancer Center, an affiliate of University of Md.  Additionally, I had also worked as medical health psychologist therapist at Crossroads Integrative Medical Center, an affiliate of Life Bridge Hospitals.

     At UCH Kaufman Cancer Center, I developed, facilitated and supervised a mind-body medicine support team that provided services directly in the chemotherapy infusion rooms or other treatment locations on site. The MBM services that were provided to the cancer patients & their caretakers included wellness counseling, meditation training, guided imagery, affirmations/mantra work, breathwork, reiki, aromatherapy, using foods therapeutically to heal through organic foods and ayurvedic cooking demonstrations, and yoga.  Additionally, at UCH, I developed a unique blended combination therapy of reiki with talk therapy. This combination of modalities allowed patients time after a reiki session to process what came up (energies shift) during the session through traditional talk therapy.

     Whereas, at Crossroads Integrative Medical Center, as a medical health psychology counselor and integrative health coach, I expanded my clinical skillset to include neurofeedback with psychotherapy as well as other MBM modalities, such as meditation. Under the direct clinical supervision of a medical doctor, Dr. Warren Ross, I received training in three neurofeedback systems: QEEG Clearmind Neurofeedback System with Brain Mapping and Entrainment, NeurOptimal, and Brain Synchronicity/Open Focus. Then, I applied the use of this knowledge and had the opportunity to work alongside the medical doctors while patients were being seen and treated.

     This type of therapeutic environment is key to better care. Specifically, this collective care, across psychology, medicine, and neurology, permits an in-depth view and assessment of patients; consequently, yielding better treatment protocols and improving patients ability to be healthier. Additionally under Dr. Warren Ross, my area of expertise stretched to include psychoneuroimmunology ~ brain + immune loop, as well as gut-brain axis, and lymph + brain connection.

     Moreover, to affect stagnant lymph flow and be on the forefront of lymph + brain connection, I became certified as lymphatic enhancement therapy (LET) trainer. I received this certification at the end of 2015. This type of therapy improves the lymphatic system and promotes wellbeing through clearing up stagnant lymph flow. Plus, LET is a noninvasive, gentle detoxification therapy to improve overall immune system wellbeing and functioning.

     Finally, given the complexity of providing care, particularly in psychology when it comes to touching, I elongated my ability to help others by becoming an integrative health coach. I cannot offer LET to patients I treat with psychotherapy. However, I can offer combined treatment protocols of LET with neurofeedback or any other mind-body medicine modalities as an integrative health coach. Thus, in 2016, I became certified as a Professional Life Coach and had also completed the advanced coach skills training at the end of that same year.  Also, offering services as an integrative health coach is ideal for someone who is not suffering with mental health problems, but still wants to improve their overall health and wellbeing.

     Then from that place of rich experiences via my education, clinical training, and personal experiences as a cancer survivor/thriver, I proudly opened my own private practice in April of 2017.  I am the founder and executive director of the Integrative Brain Health & Wellness Center in Fallston, Maryland. At my own wellness center, I am developing and fine-tuning my own programs which aim to fill the gaps in medical care and mental health care. Additionally, I personally monitor the feedback of therapy and continually refine assessment methods and treatment protocols that are employed based off the optimization of ideal results and outcome measures.

My own health crisis

     I am a cancer survivor, one who is challenged, creative and adaptive in managing debilitating chronic illness. I have found in my own health crisis, a newfound resolve to be creative, adaptive, and resourceful in promoting my own innate healing capabilities.  I was a cancer survivor, I am now a new person. I have transformatively changed to a survivor/thriver.

           I am twelve years out from my initial diagnosis of stage three, triple negative breast cancer! That’s a huge triumph especially when I was told by my oncologist “that if I was lucky I would have another six months to live”. I also suffer from debilitating chronic illness because of the allopathic medical treatment I had received. I had traditional therapy of chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.  Specifically, I suffer with lymphedema, history of infections with compromised immune system, and chemo brain. These conditions are each a result of the medical treatment I had received, not from the cancer I had started with, and are referred to as iatrogenic disease.

           Over the years, I evolved and grown in my approach to caring for myself. I started with strict reliance on allopathic medicine.  Then after using allopathic medical model of care for two years and not getting any better, rather constantly struggling with death at my door, I decided to do something more. I expanded my approach and outlook of how best to care for myself. I expanded my approach by first being open to other models of medicine and healing, as well as being open to exploring how other models of medicine and healing could personally affect for the better my health and wellbeing, and the overall quality of my life.

          This was the best health choice I could have made to improve my situation; particularly since strict reliance on the allopathic medical model had no solutions to the problems I was left to deal with. The very treatment I received for cancer led to a life that is marred with consequences of that care.  I am grateful to have a precious human life but just wish the treatment I had received was not so harmful or compromising to my overall quality of life.

          Nonetheless, please know that I am alive and doing as well as I do today because of my choices to want more than what allopathic medicine can offer, my willingness to think outside of the box, and my openness to do things significantly different. Likewise, through the peculiar gifts presented with having cancer and finding the healer within me I want to extend my unique skillset to you and share with you how to affect your own wellbeing. Thus, we can collaboratively affect your own journey to be transformatively well and heal!

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