What People Are Saying About Us…
Dr. Schwager helped improve my clients’ quality of life.
I am self-employed as a Rehabilitation Specialist. Life Care Planning is a component of my practice as a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse and Case Manager. Over the past thirty-four years, I have coordinated medical, psychological, neuropsychological, vocational and social services for hundreds of clients who have sustained personal injury. Part of my job as a Case Manager, is to identify appropriate practitioners in a variety of fields who can treat my clients.
I have recently had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Herb Schwager. He is treating two of my clients; one is a patient with pain and the other is a young man with a high level spinal cord injury.
One of the hardest things about coping with an abrupt onset of disability is that you are suddenly thrust into it with all of your able-bodied beliefs and attitudes. This is the situation for most of my clients, who not only need help to grieve their losses but also have to figure out how they are going to achieve a quality of life with realistic goals. This takes an interdisciplinary team.
Dr. Schwager is a team player. He has a relationship with professionals in a wide circle of medicine and behavioral health with whom he is willing to collaborate in order to offer his patients the opportunity to access comprehensive services.
Tele-Behavioral Medicine is a new concept for me. I have seen this work for my clients, who otherwise may not have been able to travel to an office for behavioral medicine services for a variety of reasons. For many of my clients, this is their first experience with behavioral medicine care and it is intimidating and/or seen as “not necessary”. There really is no excuse not to attend an appointment at a mutually agreed upon time, when it is in your own home. Dr. Schwager and his staff make it easy to connect for real time video-conferencing.
As a Case Manager, I appreciate Dr. Schwager’s willingness to consult with me and enjoy brainstorming with him to consider information, client’s interactions and relationships. This has been most beneficial in managing and adjusting care plans.
Dr. Schwager is prompt to respond to emails and phone calls. While using compassion in supporting his patients, he is firm in his convictions and “no-nonsense” in his expectation that his patients respect his schedule, e.g., if you have an appointment, you better show up and be on time!
I look forward to referring more clients to Dr. Schwager and collaborating with him to improve my clients’ quality of life.
I have, without doubt, been blessed to have him (Dr. Schwager) involved in my care
I injured my back in January of 2000. The injury caused significant back pain, nerve pain in my upper thighs and numbness of toes on both feet.
My PCP started me on opiate medication and referred me to a surgeon. I had surgery that April. The surgery failed to resolve, both the pain and the numbness. In fact, the pain continued to worsen and the numbness progressed to more and more of my feet.
In January of 2001, I traveled to the lower 48 and met with a highly recommended surgeon. And in April the 2001, I had a 2nd surgery. Again, the surgery failed to alleviate the pain or stop the progression of the numbness. The only course of action I was given was more pain medication.
So, when I returned home, my PCP referred me to a Pain Clinic in Anchorage. Over the next few years the only thing the Pain Clinic offered me was stronger medications with an occasional epidural. All the while, the pain and numbness continued to get worse. Also, during those years, another symptom developed: My feet started to burn (a sensation, best described as putting ice cold fingers into warm water.)
During 2010, I was introduced to Dr. Schwager. My first thought was: “Oh goody, another brain care specialist.” It was during our first meeting, he told me that the burning in my feet could be alleviated, (I had tried Wave generators, TENS unit, Neurontin and was taking Cymbalta at that time. None of which helped.) I was skeptical, but I had nothing to lose, so I took a “we’ll see!” attitude.
Within a few of weeks, the burning had been reduced by 90%! … The burning was nearly gone! It was at that moment that it became clear; Dr. Schwager knew what he was doing. It was at that moment that I knew I had a capable and thoughtful doctor on my side. And, since that first meeting, Dr. Schwager has been an indispensable part of my treatment team.
I grew up with a father that trained as a trauma surgeon during the time of the Vietnam War, and later, a cardiac surgeon. I have also received training in dealing with trauma. So, I have been around medicine my entire life. I have met countless medical practitioners, both in operating rooms and in their offices. Some of them, absolutely brilliant. Many of whom, in my opinion, are marginal at best.
Dr. Herb Schwager falls into the first category. He is a consummate practitioner of his trade. I have, without doubt, been blessed to have him involved in my care. It has also been a privilege simply knowing the man.
Thanks to Dr. Schwager, Tele-Behavioral-Medicine has saved my life and allowed me to live it!
I have had more than 15 psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists in the past 30 years with no meaningful success. Some of this was due to my moving and some due to the Doctors moving or not having anything further to offer me. Consequently, I did not make any progress with learning positive life skills nor finding the proper medication that (finally) has worked for me. I never made any progress with learning new behaviors to enhance my quality of life. I barely had time with each individual to go over my past and complex history.
I have been with Dr. Herbert Schwager for some time now. I am on the correct medication, have consistent support from Dr. Schwager, and most importantly, continuity of my care. My therapy sessions have been consistent and I have made tremendous progress in learning how to take care of myself. This has only been possible because of Dr.Schwager, his associates, and the “wonder” of Tele-Behavioral-Medicine technology.
I live in a small Town; behavioral health services are limited at best. The closest metropolitan area is 2 hours away; I would have been in serious trouble if I had not been able to see Dr. Schwager through Tele-Behavioral-Medicine connectivity, and to continue seeing him, yet today, since he now spends time in Alaska.
Tele-Behavioral-Medicine is the biggest breakthrough in medicine since penicillin.
I was a strong, confident, hard working, energetic woman with five children
I was a strong, confident, hard working, energetic woman with five children. Over the past 10 years I have been challenged with many personal and medical issues resulting in 6 surgeries. Four of those surgeries were for traumatic and degenerative issues with my neck and lower spine. With nerve damage and a slow healing process, I have had more procedures for neck and sacro- ileac pain than I can count. Left with chronic pain and nerve damage, my narcotic dosage continued to increase, as my self-esteem bottomed out. As a wife and mother, leaving the financial and day-to-day responsibilities of raising our family solely with my husband, not only was I a watching my children grow up from a distance, but depression was taking over my life. The once strong, energetic mom was consumed with pain and grief. I never thought for one minute that I would ever be tied to a pain clinic and narcotics for what may be the rest of my life. I can’t even begin to express the despair and lack of purpose I felt. I desperately needed help and had no idea where to look.
About 9 months ago, I was told about Dr. Herbert Schwager PhD. He is the psychological and emotional piece that is missing in so many people’s lives that endure chronic pain. He compliments the medical interventions by working with my physicians in managing my pain. He helped me understand my pain and through his knowledge and assistance, put purpose back into my life. I am no longer a prisoner within myself; with his guidance I have rediscovered who I am and although still require medication for my pain, I have become functional, regained physical and emotional strength, and most importantly, have begun to regain a place within my family.
Dr. Schwager has built his practice by seeing his patients via the Internet. This manner of delivering care is a relatively new practice, called tele-medicine. This has allowed me to sit in the comfort of my home, for approximately an hour a week, working through many facets of dealing with my physical and emotional pain. He works with my physicians to reexamine the type of pain I have been experiencing, adjusting my medications, and helping me understand and work through the emotional distress and pain I have been feeling for many years. Emotional pain can be complex to understand and somehow looking into a camera and talking on-line with him, has helped me to see things for what they are, make changes when I can, accept the life I have now and look forward to the future, whatever that may be. All of this has happened over the Internet, in a very positive and personal relationship with a man I have never shook hands with.
Tele-medicine provides people who live with chronic pain or conditions that disrupt the quality of their life, the ability to receive care without leaving their homes, whether for convenience or necessity.
I truly believe, as a registered nurse, that as practitioners in health care, it is the commitment to care compassionately for the patient physically, spiritually and emotionally. It is only through collaboration of medical and psychological health care that healing and inner peace may take place.
My medical doctor tried for a long period of time to have me seen by Dr. Herbert Schwager
My medical doctor tried for a long period of time to have me seen by Dr. Herbert Schwager in an effort to treat me for an apparent Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I refused; I told my doctor “I don’t need a psychologist: that I know what my problems stem from and can handle them myself”. As I got obviously worse, a dear friend literally made the appointment for me, and I am glad she did.
I begrudgingly went to the appointment. I met with Dr. Schwager and on the initial and subsequent visits, realized I indeed needed outside direction and he helped me to finally start better handling my issues. He helped me regain my life so to speak, both psychologically and biologically. My only regret is that I didn’t heed my doctor’s advise far sooner.
When another tragedy struck, he once again is there walking me through the healing process, both emotionally and intellectually. He not only listens, he actively participates and teaches alternatives, while he truly cares.
I have seen him both in person and by remote telemedicine and it’s about to get even better. I will be able to have my sessions with him in the comfort of my own home through his new improved telemedicine application. I will no longer have to make a 70 mile round trip, to his office. This is a phenomenal advance in behavioral medical care; one that is greatly appreciated, especially to those of us who live in rural areas.
I am writing to inform all of you what a difference the experience of Tele-Behavioral Medicine
I am writing to inform all of you what a difference the experience of Tele-Behavioral Medicine and my ongoing therapy relationship with Dr. Schwager has favorably impacted my life as a whole.
I feel that I must write with the hopes of helping others who may be struggling with their addictions. I have been addicted to all sorts of “mind altering substances” since the age of 13. As with probably a majority of clients, I started out experimenting with substances at a young age. Then, we all know how the story progresses from there to where experimenting turns into addiction. This process happened very quickly with me.
I began going to 12 step meetings when I was 14 years old and had maintained that pattern of going to meetings, therapists, etc… throughout my life. There were intermittent periods of sobriety and then once I put a mind-altering substance into my body, it was all over. The vicious cycle of addiction!!
In April of 2007, I was introduced to a colleague of Dr. Schwager’s in Phoenix Arizona by the name of Dr. Suzanne Sisley. I was again at my lowest point and had tried everything, so I thought. Dr. Sisley introduced me to Suboxone a treatment alternative for opoid dependence. As a requirement of the Suboxone Treatment, she told me I needed to see a Therapist to help me get through my present “mindset” and to assist me with titrating off of the Suboxone, when that time was right.
Dr. Sisley suggested that I contact Dr. Schwager and said that “he lives and works out of Alaska”. I laughed and said, “don’t you think that’s a little far to travel”? She told me about the “Tele-Behavioral Medicine” program that he had set up and at first I was very reluctant to try it.
I finally did what was suggested of me in May of 2007 and contacted Dr. Schwager first via a phone call. After our first phone conversation, he explained to me that I didn’t need to come to Alaska to see him but that we could actually have our “Therapy Sessions” online, using a secure HIPAA compliant video conference application, in our case using a program called “Skype”.
Since May of 2007, Dr. Schwager and I have engaged in Therapy Sessions via “Skype” one to two times per month. The relationship that we have developed has really changed my life in many ways. The fact that I did not have to go to a Doctor’s Office and wait to be seen was a big plus for me. Although I had done such in the past with Doctors who were prescribing me narcotics, this opportunity to visit with Dr. Schwager online was part of me being willing to go to any length to “recover” from my addiction.
I have to say that the “Tele-Behavioral Medicine” aspect of this program has been very convenient for me plus allowing Dr. Schwager to enlighten me in many ways as to my addiction, behaviors and my ultimate recovery from Narcotics, all in a safe, secure, professional environment.
I look forward to our meetings online and it is amazing to me that I can actually see and hear Dr. Schwager as if we were meeting face to face, yet with me being in Arizona and Dr. Schwager being in Alaska. I appreciate the honesty in our relationship and the guidance and suggestions that are given to me. Dr. Schwager is always on time with our appointments and he spends however much time with me that I need in order to get to the bottom of whatever “my current issue” may be. He maintains close contact with my prescribing Suboxone provider. A virtual team is in place!
As a result of the “Tele-Behavioral Medicine” program and my relationship with Dr. Schwager that has developed since May of 2007, I have gone from being “Hopeless” with regards to my recovery to being “Hopeful” that I can pass this treatment experience on to someone else who may be, at what they believe to be the “End of Life”, as they have known it.
I am now Self Employed and own a successful Nationwide Commercial Company. This is something that I could never have imagined until I began the Suboxone Treatment and my therapy sessions with Dr. Schwager. Suboxone has done wonders for me however; the addition of my relationship with Dr. Schwager via “Tele-Behavioral Medicine” sessions has given me hope, strength and courage (that no medication alone could) to face the day that lay in front of me.
Dr. Schwager told me in the very beginning that “we would do whatever it takes to get this done”. He has certainly lived up to his end of it and I will continue to strive to live up to my end of it.
I hope this helps others that may be struggling, hopeless or even reluctant to try the “Online Tele-Behavioral Medicine” program.
Thank you, Dr. Schwager, for your encouragement, honesty, and hard work in advocating, on many different levels, to make sure that we have the option of a “Tele-Behavioral Medicine” program, like that you are pioneering, as first line treatment of substance abuse issues and other mental health problems.
I suffer from chronic pain due to an industrial injury
I suffer from chronic pain due to an industrial injury. My back and both of my knees were injured. When all of the surgeons said I wasn’t a good candidate for back surgery and both knees had so many surgeries the only thing left was replacement (at my age not an option), I was told I’d have to learn to live with the pain.
At their recommendation, I found myself in the care of a pain management clinic. I complied with all of their advice and instruction – for 14 years. I never got better. I got worse.
Almost a year ago I found Dr. Schwager, who along with Dr. Sisley saved my life.
Come to find out, none of the medications I was taking were helping my pain, molecularly impossible. All I could claim to be was an opioid and benzodiazepine addict with a lot of pain.
These two doctors orchestrated my inpatient treatment for cessation of all of the prescription medications. The hospital told me I was within a few months of death.
I still see Dr. Schwager twice a month. I see Dr. Sisley once a month.
I have never seen doctor’s with so much REAL compassion for their patients. There are no narcotics of any kind in my house or my body now. I am being given medication that is actually designed to help “my” pain and my pain levels are lower than they have been for 15 years.
You Can’t Be Serious!
“You Can’t Be Serious! Talking to a ‘shrink’ to change pain levels”? That was me, over twenty years ago when I first began my journey with chronic pain. Through a thirteen year period I had some sixteen surgeries for seven different work related injuries. I am thankful as I realize there are many folks out there far worse than I. Here goes;
In the beginning, for the first time in my life, I didn’t know what to do. I began self-medicating by means of shear inner determination, occasional pain meds when the Dr’s believed me and alcohol somewhat masked my physical limitations in helping me with “painted smiles and laughter”. I was extremely careful not to expose any weakness, i.e. the accompanying mental hurdles which were the toughest to control.
I could not allow anyone to perceive my character and pride was an insufficient tool to overcome any obstacle within my life. I FOUGHT hard from deep within to portray still being “me” all the while trying to regain that part of “me” I thought I had lost because of not being able to do what I used to!! As a rule, I didn’t much care for head doctors – still don’t, except for one. By the grace of GOD I found a bit more strength and reluctantly, spoke with Dr. Schwager.
I’ll never forget, the office was arranged in the good’ol traditional manner, which wasn’t so good for me. All of a sudden I was sitting a few feet away from another man, Dr. Schwager, in an attempt of seeking this so-called mental help. We began discussing my perception of personal failure and weakness as this is what I brought to the table. This man then sees my tears. I’m thinking “What the hell’s happening here”? That was my start. Face to face was the most difficult and humiliating and embarrassing thing I could ever imagine, and it was the very thing that kept me self-medicated for so long. I had NEVER spoken of this inner turmoil, not even to my then-first wife. “The man was the backbone of the family, hurt or not, end of story”.
That first visit still bothers me more than any other I’ve experienced. In my opinion Dr. Schwager is a true professional and good man; otherwise I would have never have faced him again. I’m still unsure how he helped me find the strength to continue, but I have.
I had many reservations when Dr. Schwager relocated and this new fangled thing called “tele-behavioral-med” was being implemented. I grew quite accustomed to the entire concept and its infinite possibilities almost immediately! I honestly feel had tele-medicine been available at the beginning of my twenty year story of pain and unhappiness, I would have sought help much sooner!
I am certain there is a vast array of people who would otherwise not seek these services to enrich their lives due to the same reasons I avoided it for so long. Tele-Behavioral-Medicine IS the alternative for many different reasons. Maintenance of pride, personal space and integrity being at the top of my list, to mention but a few.
Whoever you are out there, if you’ve read this you’re reading it for a reason. Please don’t wait any longer, you owe it to yourself. Thank You Dr. Schwager for your continued efforts.
Movin Forward in Arizona