California

Dennis Patrick Wood, Ph.D., ABPP, CAPT MSC USN

Clinical Psychologist

Dennis Patrick Wood, Ph.D., ABPP, CAPT MSC USN

Dr. Dennis Patrick Wood is a Clinical Psychologist and a Retired U.S. Navy Captain. In August 1980, Dr. Wood first entered private practice in San Diego following four years as a Staff Clinical Psychologist, Department of Psychiatry, Naval Medical Center San Diego. He specializes in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and military psychology. Dennis has authored or co-authored over 25 articles that have been published in peer review journals. During the past 13 years, several Dr. Wood’s published articles have discussed the successful utilization of Virtual Reality Graded Exposure Therapy (VRGET) with warriors diagnosed with combat-related PTSD. For additional information concerning Dr. Wood, you can view his webpage at: www.dennispatrickwoodphd.com.

Education

  • B.A., Liberal Arts with a Major in Psychology - St. Mary’s College of California
  • M.A., Child Development - University of Nebraska, Omaha
  • Ph.D., Psychodiagnostics and Psychotherapy - California School of Professional Psychology, San Diego (now Alliant International University) 

Awards & Certificates

  • Crew, 3 Varsity Letters, Saint Mary’s College, Moraga, CA: 1969, 1970 & 1971
  • Honorable Discharge, United States Navy, April 3, 1975
  • U.S. Navy Commission, Ensign (Medical Service Corps), March 17, 1975
  • U.S. Navy Promotion to Captain (Medical Service Corps), October 1, 1996 
  • Golden Shellback, USS Carl Vinson (CV-70), April 20, 1999
  • Diplomate, American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), June 14, 2002
  • U.S. Naval Reserve, Certificate of Retirement, May 1, 2005
  • Member, Scientific Committee, Annual Cyberpsychology, Cyber Therapy & Social Networking Conference:  2016, 2018 & 2020

Clinical Interests

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder/Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD/PTS), Anxiety and Depression, Military Psychology

Language(s)

English

What can patients expect from you as a provider?  I have had the privilege of having gained specialized psychological skills and expertise during the past 45 years and it is my ongoing intent and endeavor to share these tools within the framework of individual psychotherapy. My treatment philosophy is to ensure that each one of my patients have the most contemporary, individualized, and specialized treatment within the comfort of the Tele-Psychology Model. For instance, I invite prospective and current patients to access not only my webpage but also the Virtual Reality Medical Center's webpage to find out more about Virtual Reality Therapy.  Virtual Reality Therapy utilizes computer technology, biofeedback, meditation, and Exposure Therapy to successfully treat our dedicated and brave men and women in uniform who deployed in harm's way so that we can continue enjoy our freedoms and quality of life in the United States.  Virtual Reality Therapy is also utilized to treat Flying Phobia, Generalized and Specific Anxiety Diagnoses and Chronic Pain.

Hopefully, within a few years, Virtual Reality Therapy can be offered within a Tele-Psychology format.  Even without access to Virtual Reality Therapy, there are fantastic and evidenced-based advantages to utilizing both meditation and biofeedback within a Tele-Psychology model.

What makes you different as a provider? Between August 1975 and August 1980, most of my patients were sailors and marines with combat experience in Vietnam. At that time, the best therapy I had to offer our combat veterans were supportive groups, individual therapies, and prayer. The concept of evidence-based therapies, for what became combat-related PTSD, were not in existence during that time frame. My mental health colleagues and I struggled to find various individualized therapies that we could utilize with our patients, including biofeedback, self-hypnosis, meditation, and prayer. We now know that those techniques are evidenced therapies for combat-related PTSD and other forms of PTSD as well! Between 1974 and 1976, I was involved in a Navy Counselor Training Program to assist Navy counselors with improving their skills with empathy. Our research showed that our counselors were very much interested in increasing their empathy not only because empathy improved the quality of their therapeutic relationships with their patients, but also improved their report of more satisfying relationships with peers and family.   

While employed at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, I worked in the Integrated Chronic Pain Program. Most of our patients had the maximum surgery they could have that would contribute to a reduction in their chronic pain levels. Our program’s mission was to find and develop non-surgical interventions that would assist with improving our patient’s quality of life and assist in reducing their difficulties secondary to chronic pain. The mission often appeared as problematic and sometimes was, in fact, impossible.  

While working on two of the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers, I was either the only mental health provider for the crew or I was one of three mental health providers. Again, I and my colleagues would often struggle with finding evidenced-based therapies to utilize with individual therapy, stress management, suicide prevention, peer and family-relationship enhancement programs and programs to help improve personnel resilience.  

Lastly, my family and the concept of “focus on the family”, have taught me a lot about patience, optimism, perspective, faith and doing “good-works”. The concepts of empathy, evidence-based therapies, experimentation, patience, optimism, perspective, faith and doing “good-works” are concepts that I bring to the “therapy-table”.

How long have you lived in Southern California?  My wife and I first moved to San Diego in August 1973 and called it home until 2019 (except for 8 years in Colorado). In 2019, we moved to Marina (near Monterey), CA.

How would you describe your family?  My wife and I began to date while we were in high school; we married in 1971 while I was still in college and have been married for almost 50 years.  We have three children and four grandchildren. My wife is my best friend.  

What sort of interests or hobbies do you have? I like to read (e.g., currently I am reading one novel and two autobiographies), I walk daily (e.g., mostly on the various Monterey Beaches) and I ride my bike a couple of times a week. I am looking forward to my local gym re-opening, and to the Coronavirus vaccine being approved. This would lead (hopefully) to a reduction in travel restrictions so that my wife and I can continue with our travel interests. We would love to visit our son, daughter-in-law, and our granddaughters who live in Colorado, our other son’s family in Rancho Palos Verdes, and our daughter who lives in Garden Valley, CA.

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