“I love learning about someone’s unique way of being in the world and collaborating with them to find a way through current difficulties.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
I came to the field of psychiatry from the humanities, having completed a B.A. in classical civilizations followed by a master’s degree in philosophy. During graduate school I did volunteer work at a psychiatric hospital. As I spent time with patients and saw the potential of psychiatry to address their suffering, I realized I wanted to be a part of this field. In many ways, my career in psychiatry has been a continuation of my previous interests in mind/body issues, identity, and human nature, however, with different methodologies, at different levels of abstraction, and crucially with an end goal of healing and helping people reach their potential.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
I love learning about someone’s unique way of being in the world and collaborating with them to find a way through current difficulties. In a typical first session, after listening empathically and attentively and asking questions along the way to help me further understand what you are struggling with, we will discuss treatment options based on my clinical experience and my understanding of current evidence. Together we weigh the pros and cons, risks and benefits of courses of action, and in light of your values and preferences, we collaborate on the best way forward.
How does collaboration with other providers play into your work?
It is central. Many clients consulting with a psychiatrist are already doing other forms of treatment or are referred by their therapist or another provider for a consultation to address symptoms that medication might treat well in combination with other treatments. If someone is not already in treatment with other providers I will make a thoughtful referral if they have needs beyond what I may provide or that could be better met by another provider or type of treatment. With a client's consent, I am always happy to speak with and collaborate with other providers and this is usually helpful for all involved.
What research has impacted how you practice?
Studies done on mindfulness, meditation, and emotion showing the ability of meditation or mindfulness to change the brain have motivated me to recommend it to clients and practice it myself. All of the research being done on neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to change throughout our lives, provides well founded hope and inspiration for clinical practice.
What excites you most about the evolving mental health landscape?
The impact of technology. Whether it is through facilitating communication or reducing barriers to care through telemedicine and other platforms, facilitating collaboration and education through innovative use of real or virtual spaces, or by generating insights from larger or novel data sets, or even providing new models of the mind or novel forms of treatment, technology has the potential to transform the mental health landscape in exciting ways.
“All of the research being done on neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to change throughout our lives, provides well founded hope and inspiration for clinical practice.”