Dr. Matheson has been formally trained as a psychologist with a focus on medical issues. He began his career as a counselor at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in 1970 and first became a clinical psychologist at Rancho in 1973.
He has a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees in psychology, and a doctorate in psychology from the University of Southern California. His doctoral work emphasized Adult Development and Aging. He is licensed as a psychologist in both Missouri and California and is a Certified Vocational Evaluator and a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.
Dr. Matheson has worked with children and adolescents who have a variety of serious medical problems including brain injury, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, severe burns, amputations, progressive neuromuscular diseases, and visual and auditory impairments.
With adults, Dr. Matheson has extensive experience with people who have cardiac and brain injuries including stroke, spinal cord injuries, severe chronic pain, and progressive neuromuscular diseases.
Dr. Matheson has received formal training in behavior therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and gestalt therapy, both with people who have medical impairments and people who do not.
Typically, Dr. Matheson uses a cognitive behavioral counseling approach with a strong focus on client-selected goals in a brief psychotherapy format. Clients work with Dr. Matheson for four to six weekly sessions and then transition to monthly or quarterly follow-up that focuses on maintenance of new learned behaviors and progress toward their goals.
He integrates career development whenever appropriate and is trained to administer and interpret more than 100 tests of personality, ability, and interests that are immediately available in his office.
Recognizing that faith and spirituality can be very helpful in the development and maintenance of a full and resilient quality of life, Dr. Matheson will integrate these into treatment at the client’s request.
Having received training in the Ericksonian model of hypnosis for control of chronic pain, Dr. Matheson uses hypnosis within a biopsychosocial model to facilitate treatment and to improve participation. He also uses hypnosis to assist medication effects for pain, anxiety, and depression as an adjunct to cognitive behavioral therapy counseling. He also teaches self-induction techniques to address insomnia.
Dr. Matheson has integrated recent developments in Positive Psychology with his intervention philosophy in “Value Development Coaching” (VDC), defined as “the thoughtfully-intentional development of resources selected to achieve goals that define a career encompassing the full breadth of the client’s life”. The focus of VDC is to establish and maintain optimal quality of life. Keying on occupational competence within the context of family and community, VDC expands career to encompass the client’s full life space. Using a coaching approach based on the VDC model, Dr. Matheson guides and encourages his clients beyond psychotherapeutic intervention.
Dr. Matheson is happy to explain over the telephone likely intervention strategies that he may employ (see clinic contact information). Once the initial interview is concluded in the office, he will fully describe the intervention strategy that he believes is most likely to be useful for each individual client.
He believes that every client must be an active participant in the intervention process and, in order to do so, each client must be fully informed of the rationale for, and in agreement with, the selected approach.