During my life’s diverse clinical, academic, and military trainings in diverse areas (Indian Country, Military Psychologist, assistant research professor, clinical neuroscience), I have learned people from all walks, all cultures, all occupations, nearly all parts of the globe universally want authentic conversations from the heart honestly speaking to the matter at hand. And, if possible, they appreciate knowing, if possibly, there may be deeper matters of the spirit involved. I have also learned that while we all say we want to “change”, what we all really yearn for is transformation. In short, the phrase “compassionate insight; thoughtful feedback ” fits best.
While verbal feedback is instantly recognizable delivered via voice or memo, non-verbal feedback comes in a different temporal scale; the symbolic and patterned communications of dreams, our thoughts, and how people react to us are less readily apparent, yet incredibly rich in information to be mined.
I move easily from short-term problems and goals based on my experience as a combat military psychologist, to recognizing the time needed to address deeply embedded patterns of thought and behavior significantly interfering with life satisfaction. We have an extraordinarily rich array of tools at our disposal as well ranging from psychological counseling to the use of advanced neuroimaging techniques any or all of which will give us actionable insight into what make you, you, today.
Compassionate insight; thoughtful feedback
When we start, I listen, query, assess: We will make connections between thought and deed, between intention and result. Not all problems are purely psychological in nature, nor are all problems purely biological; however, knowing which patterns need more “top-down” approach (counseling) and which patterns need more “bottom-up” approach (neurofeedback), makes our work efficient and rewarding.
I categorize my clinical work into two domains: Conditions more rooted in expressed psychological symptoms, and conditions more rooted in neurophysiological symptoms. This is a distinction reflecting years of experience in both counseling and analyzing the human EEG (AKA ‘brainwaves’). While I can counsel and treat with various forms of talk therapy, I can also analyze and train your neural pathways. In short, we can talk about the issues you face, or we can train the brain to resolve the issues.
I have substantial clinical and research experience in both domains, and that accomplishment alone make me a member of an exceptionally rare breed of psychologists: Those who can both counsel and use digital signal processing techniques to image and map your neural networks. While I have no doubt in the years to come there will be many more like me, but for now, those of us with this psychological, electro-neurophysiological skillset are a rare breed.
If any of the conditions in the following two domains are interfering with or destroying your work, relationships, or life satisfaction, then let’s have a conversation.
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Acculturation; Loss of Land
Post-Military / Deployment Issues
ADHD/ADD (attention deficit behaviors)
(traumatic brain injury ie: head trauma from fall or auto accident)
Snapping, Impulsive, Destructive Anger
Unexplained Mood Shifts
Lack of Concentration and Focus
Cognitive Decline (memory organization)
Developmental Delays (Asperger’s / Autism)
If you, or a loved one, have experienced any of the above concerns, Dr. Villanueva can help you on y0ur wellness path
If you'd like to learn more, please call the office at 858-952-7660
or complete the form below and we will contact you directly.
We will not sell your information or spam you.
I have worked as a licensed Clinical Psychologist for over 20 years. I started at UC Berkeley majoring in Old English and Latin and after graduating, I left Berkeley to earn a PhD in Clinical Psychology within a Jungian orientation. Later, while on the Hopi Indian reservation, at the age of 42, I joined the US Army Medical Service Corps as a clinical psychologist reservist and was deployed from to Afghanistan 2011- 2012 as a combat psychologist.
I started my academic career at the University of New Mexico as an assistant research professor, successfully obtaining over 5 million dollars in grant funding (K23, RO1) from the National Institute of Health (NIH) to study PTSD and substance abuse among Pueblo tribes. I left New Mexico to work with US Marines and Navy personnel, first at Twentynine Palms Naval Hospital, then later at Camp Pendleton, California.
Upon return from Afghanistan, I started the Alpha Theta Center, wherein the past 5 years we moved from strictly providing neurofeedback services, to establishing research relationships with engineers and project scientists to understand how the brain works.
If what I say here resonates with your need, then please call.
About Dr. Michael Villanueva
In addition to clinical and brain imaging work, I provide consulting in two areas:
(1) The use of computational neuroscience digital signal processing tools in the raw and statistical analysis of the human EEG using both research and commercial software (which you can read more about on the main page) and
(2) The effects of psychedelics on the human brain.
I collect and analyze human EEG data on the clinical use of psychedelics. This work requires international travel as psychedelics are classified as Schedule I substances in the US, illegal, and having no research or clinical usefulness. Although recently, a more enlightened approach seems to be evolving in the US: medicinal forms of these substances are routinely used by medical personnel in clinics in other countries to treat a variety of conditions. By obtaining pre and post EEG recordings in various countries, and by collecting behavioral and EEG data on those who microdose substances such as LSD and Psilocybin, I have developed a growing understanding of the risks involved.
If you are a provider and want clinical information on how a substance might affect a client you have that is considering the use of a psychedelic, I can orient you on how to conceptualize the clinical implications as well as how to understand the importance of follow-up and aftercare. If you are person considering a “journey”, I can educate you on some of the specifics such as the importance of “set and setting,” what to consider and look for in facilitators in other countries, some experiences to expect and, by incorporating your clinical history, including history of mental issues in your family, I can help you see how different classes of psychedelics might affect you.
My purpose is to help you understand the potential benefits and risks to your brain and your psychology so that you might make a more informed choice. Anything powerful has a dual nature. Although these substances, when used therapeutically, are a form of medicine, like any medicine, they can have unwanted side-effects that should be considered before any such therapeutic use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you take insurance? What are your fees?
At this time, Dr. Villanueva does not accept insurance. All payments are on an up front cash basis. Dr. Villanueva and his staff can create superbills that you may submit your insurance company, but that does not guarantee reimbursement. It is the patient's responsibility to verify insurance eligibility.
You may request his fee information by calling his office at 858-952-7660.
Do you offer an initial free consultation?
Dr. Villanueva personally screens all patients to ensure the professional relationship is a proper match for both parties. He offers a free 15 minute discovery phone call. You may call the office to book at an appointment at 858-952-7660.
How do you blend neurofeedback with your counseling services?
It is possible that Dr. Villanueva will recommend a neurofeedback program to accompany your counseling sessions. All treatment plans are created to the needs of the patient. He will discuss his recommendation for you at the initial consultation.
Michael Villanueva, PhD
California License #31341
6540 Lusk Blvd C175
San Diego, Ca 92121