“I view medication as providing a window in which to make cognitive changes toward a whole and worthy mind that is more connected to the inner, worthy self.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
While medicine is my first career, I did not initially see myself going into psychiatry. In medical school, an instructor remarked that one picks a specialty based on the organ they like the most. So, naturally, I was interested in becoming a neurologist because I loved learning about the brain. But in residency training, the realities of medicine became clearer; medicine is not practiced in a vacuum but within a system and most of the medical system is algorithmic (if A then B, if not B then C, and so on). Psychiatry is a rare exception to this. When a psychiatry spot opened up in the hospital where I was an intern, I thought long and hard about my strengths as well as the environment in which I wanted to practice medicine. As much as I love the brain, people are much more than the 1s and 0s of their neurons. No two depressed minds are alike and that is the beauty and challenge of psychiatry.
What should someone know about working with you?
While telepsychiatry improves access and convenience for many clients, it may not be right for all clients. My consultation process consists of a brief screening to ascertain appropriateness for telepsychiatry. Throughout treatment, I make use of rating scales to track progress with the goal of sustained remission of symptoms.
What do you do to continue learning and building competencies as a provider?
Through conferences, online programs, and talks, I continually learn more about the neurochemistry of medications (specifically, antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers). With regards to therapy, I am certified in a few specific modalities that I pull from and combine during therapeutic sessions. My certifications and areas of continued study include neurolinguistic programming, coaching, CBT, hypnotherapy, and traditional psychotherapy.
How do your core values shape your approach to therapy?
I believe that all persons are inherently whole and worthy. If a client is willing, I peel back the life experiences that hinder the realization of oneself as a whole. I view medication as providing a window in which to make cognitive changes toward a whole and worthy mind that is more connected to the inner, worthy self. When I work with a client, my first priority is to be curious and understand the mind before me. I believe that therapy is simply a series of realizations about oneself. After which, one can decide how they would like to facilitate the life they envision for themselves.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
As a clinician, I am really excited about new frontiers in medication management, like ketamine for resistant depression, as well as the growing appreciation for different therapy modalities. I see different therapies as different tools in a toolbox that one can combine with medication to boost and sustain mind-healing via the creation of new cognitive pathways and new ways of thinking.
What's your view of the role medication plays in treatment?
As much as I believe in the untapped potential of our minds, my experiences both personally and professionally have shown me that a dysfunction that has held a mind (and body) for too long is like mental quicksand that one has to climb out of before a new thought environment can be established. Medication acts like a rope in helping a mind gain a foothold to climb out of the emotional quicksand. But medication is the beginning and not the goal. As a prescriber, I see medication as a window and an opportunity. Once the medication work has begun, therapy helps you sustain a new thought environment with a clearer mind. There is no “happy pill” and only a willingness to work toward happiness. That may sound cliche but happiness is a deceptively simple concept. It often takes courage to be happy, as your happiness may not look like what your family, friends, spouse, or siblings envision for you. So, a willingness to work towards one’s personal version of happiness is important. A worthy mind has clarity on that vision. That’s what I’m honored to help my clients move toward.
“Once the medication work has begun, therapy helps you sustain a new thought environment with a clearer mind.”