Heart disease is prevalent in our society and continues to be the largest single cause of death in America. For every 1 in 3 people, their 1st cardiac symptom is their last because they fail to survive. As one of those who did survive, I am honored to share a wealth of information with those who might be ready to learn more about the psychological stressors and emotional reactions that contribute to the progression of heart disease.
My goal is to help you understand what in your life may factor into your experience of the progression of CHD, and prevent your experience of a cardiac event. If like me, you’ve already had a heart attack, my goal is to help you achieve a more enriching and joyful life through better health and improved performance. I am prepared to offer you the best screening and information available to the discipline of cardiac psychology and teach you about the best medicine employed in a state-of-the-art research project involving the Denver Broncos Alumni using risk stratification assessment tools. My philosophy and support for this type of intervention have been provided in the following article on the Protective Effects of Positive Emotions and Your Heart Health.
Assessment services include a number of paper and pencil surveys reviewing your lifestyle and emotional make-up. Individuals who have a pre-existing experience with cardiac symptoms and family history of the disease are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED to participate in this screening – and – to obtain an EBT HeartScan. Dr. William Blanchet at Front Range Imaging in Boulder provides full-service physical exams, expanded lipid profiles and heart scans identify who is and who isn’t at risk of a cardiac event. They can also monitor your condition to verify whether your prescriptive efforts to reverse the progression of heart disease are being successful. Please note: This IS THE BEST MEDICINE TO SCREEN FOR CHD – your insurance carrier may or may not cover the test and blood work-up. Some insurance plans are progressive and attentive to this research, others consider this evaluation and screening protocol to be “experimental”. The research assessing the risks and benefits of heart scans is over 13 years old and is overwhelmingly positive in evidence-based research.
Executive Stress Evaluation and Follow-up
This service proceeds from Dr. Walker’s psychosocial stress evaluation and includes a review of emotional and physical symptoms of stress, assessments of depression, anxiety, anger and hostility reactions to life circumstances, “Type D” personality screening, negative affect and social isolation risk factors. In addition, he incorporates a face-to-face interview to explore specific stressors, strengths and weaknesses, input from significant others and family members who choose to participate.
This evaluation is conducted using interviews, paper and pencil diagnostics, self-reported measures and other reports. The results are provided in a written report which will be forwarded to your physician upon request including an interpretative consultation with your doctor if requested. A second interview is arranged with an opportunity to focus on the results of the assessments. Family members are invited to attend if you so choose so that treatment recommendations can be made that include those integral to your support system.
If treatment recommendations are made that include referrals, Dr. Walker will follow-up to make sure that there is a goodness of fit for each person-doctor alliance that assures a good collaboration and that the treatment goals are clearly understood by all when addressing the modification of any noted behavioral risk factor. This assessment often qualifies for insurance reimbursement and is guaranteed to be informative, helpful and considerate of each person’s capabilities, inspirational needs for motivation and personal goals.
Life Stress Assessments
Dr. Walker is available to conduct life stress evaluations that include a review of emotional and physical symptoms of stress, and simple and efficient paper and pencil assessments that go to the core of those factors that alter the biochemistry of the blood. If one thinks of heart disease as a “water quality issue” – specifically in terms of how stress hormones, poor dietary decisions, and environmental pollutants contribute to the problem – then this type of evaluation is pivotal. Stress, and our reactions to it, alter the make-up of our blood chemistry. Cardiologists rarely focus on this end of the equation, because they are specialists in managing the “events” that occur when the damage is already advanced to the point of being symptomatic. Hence, depression, anxiety-panic concerns, anger, hostility, distorted thinking patterns, and “Type D” personality factors all contribute to ones risk of heart disease – and numerous other health challenges. We will also explore skills and lifestyle adjustments while building on those strengths already in place to maximize your heart health. This evaluation is conducted using paper and pencil diagnostics and a face-to-face consultation – and – includes recommendations for things you can do right now to get yourself back on track.
Life Stress Interview
Dr. Walker can provide a brief consultation for individuals who would like to discuss how their experience of stress may increase their future risk of heart disease or interfere with their overall quality of life. Designed as a one time interview, this hour long session will focus on each patient’s experience of stress, assess their coping skills, their strengths and weaknesses, and educate them as to methods and techniques they might employ more effectively in responding to the stress experienced in their lives.
Positive Psychology Assessments
Dr. Walker is available to assist in helping those who care to pursue a more proactive approach toward optimal functioning and life satisfactions goals. The process begins by reviewing assessments that include the “Pillars of a Balanced Life,” the VIA Character Strengths Assessment, Fordyce Emotions Questionnaire (of Current Happiness), General Happiness Scale (Enduring Happiness), Satisfaction with Life Scale (Emotions about the Past), and the Approaches to Happiness Questionnaire, all available on-line at the University of Pennsylvia’s positive psychology website edited by Dr. Martin Seligman. Dr. Walker will meet with you to formulate a follow-up plan of action in a “coaching” session that enables each person to experience the satisfaction of goal directed personal growth in one or more areas.
Programs, Workshops, and Presentations for Heart & Mind
Lunch Time Presentations
Brown Bag seminars, workshops and presentations are not only time efficient but particularly good at helping people develop skills in a relaxed atmosphere. Dr. Walker is available to present a program in your lunchroom or boardroom on a variety of topics designed to be cost effective and time efficient for those employees or groups who attend. These programs are offered by appointment. Cost depends on group size, prep time, travel, and location.
Half-Day Programs and Workshops
Patterns of living and working are linked to many common conditions including mood and anxiety disorders, heart disease, obesity, and maladies leading to premature aging. Dr. Walker presents programs that are educational, entertaining, laced with humor. He diligently provides practical skills, techniques and methods for addressing a variety of concerns. In addition, he offers insights into peak performance and positive psychological states that consistently contribute and are recognized as factors in happiness. Dr. Walker will help you identify patterns that can hinder as well as those that can help, and actively demonstrate effective strategies for consciously pursuing more productive and healthy choices. These programs are designed to be offered in a half day format and are tailored specifically for each audience involving a fair amount of preparation. Cost depends on group size, prep time, travel, and location.
Complete Programs and Workshops
Day long intensives are also available and are especially designed for each group or business depending on their goals. Dr. Walker takes meticulous care in the preparation of these day long programs because they must be entertaining and productive and result in a good return on investment for each organization. Team Building is one such program, but the Mental Skills for Peak Performance is also a common topic. Cost for these programs depends on group size, prep time, travel, and location.
Please contact me for more information.