“Unlike many psychiatrists, I seek to understand your psychotherapy needs and, rather than focusing solely on medication management, I focus on interpersonal issues and character traits.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
I began college with the plan of becoming a physician, though I had no interest in psychotherapy. I expected to become an internist, but in my second year at NYU, I discovered that I did not have the passion for chemistry or biology that other pre-med students had. Instead, I gravitated towards psychology and philosophy. Although I did end up completing medical school and obtaining a residency in internal medicine, I could not help but feel that I was not on the right path. I entered a psychiatry residency at Downstate Medical Center and began reading the works of Freud, Sullivan, Adler, Winnicott, and others. I entered into my own analysis and eventually solidified my identity as a psychiatrist who provides psychotherapy as a regular part of my work.
What should someone know about working with you?
Unlike many psychiatrists, I seek to understand your psychotherapy needs and, rather than focusing solely on medication management, I focus on interpersonal issues and character traits. I usually need two intake appointments to truly understand my client and I usually avoid prescribing medication until I develop a formulation. Once this development occurs, I will discuss this plan at length with my client so that they can make a choice as to what treatment they prefer.
How does collaboration with other providers inform your work?
I have worked with many different providers and have begun to introduce non-traditional treatment into my plans. I make acupuncture referrals more frequently, especially for individuals with anxiety. I also work with providers who are more focused on non-psychodynamic therapies, such as CBT and DBT.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
I believe that there is a broader acceptance of the treatment in general. I have the opportunity to lecture and supervise psychiatry residents and am very excited by the renewed interest in psychotherapy and humanistic approaches. It appears that we are looking at the whole person more and this can only improve care.
Have you done any research-based work that you found particularly exciting? How does it inform your practice today?
My research over the years has focused on the provision of care; I am concerned about the obstacles that exist for individuals attempting to access care. My research centered around individuals who were unable to pay for care and those who could not receive care due to their being considered “high risk.” My goal is to provide access to care that is timely and person-centered. To alleviate financial barriers, I accept insurance in order to allow individuals to seek therapy even if they can’t pay out of pocket. And I define “high risk” not based on previous history alone, but also in the motivation to change and the ability to engage in treatment.
“My goal is to provide access to care that is timely and person-centered.”