“I take a warm, personable, holistic approach to psychiatry that blends evidence-based treatments to achieve the best outcomes for you while always maintaining your autonomy.”
What was your path to becoming a psychiatric nurse practitioner? What inspired you to choose this profession?
My path began with a heartfelt passion for human sciences, starting in college when I investigated the various correlations between physiological, biomechanical, and psychosocial dynamic principles. Coupled with my experience as a college basketball player, I became fascinated with how much mental wellness affects physical performance. Following graduation, I started working as an RN on a medical unit. I often found myself dedicating time to listen to people’s stories, fears, adjustments, and anxieties. I realized how much attending to their psychological needs during periods of medical illness had an impact. I started conceptualizing how mental health is both an art and a science—and I realized how rewarding it was to help others feel empowered. These experiences then led me to pursue advanced studies in psychiatry.
What led you to focus on addiction?
I initially became interested in the field of addiction because it seemed like an area of mental health that was particularly stigmatized. I contributed to research on athletes and we found that clients often fell vulnerable to addiction as a way to help mitigate pain, trauma, fatigue, stress, and insomnia. Ironically, some of these symptoms are similar to the experiences of clients who are not athletes and which contribute to vulnerability to addiction. I find a lot of reward in helping clients the tools to achieve the best version of themselves. In the end, some of my clients' greatest pains have become their greatest strengths.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
During our first session, my goal is to work with you to get a good understanding of what brings you to treatment. I will ask questions along the way to help me learn about you, your values, your preferences, and what you’re struggling with. We will discuss treatment options based on my clinical experience and the latest evidence. Together, we will weigh the risks and benefits of various treatments and develop a plan that best suits your individual needs. I take a warm, personable, holistic approach to psychiatry that blends evidence-based treatments to achieve the best outcomes for you while always maintaining your autonomy.
What do you think is the biggest barrier today for people seeking care?
Stigma is one of the biggest barriers for people seeking mental health treatment. Oftentimes, people can be misguided by the idea that seeing a mental health care provider is “weak,” or they may think their concerns aren’t serious enough to seek help. Clients can also be misinformed about the use of medications in mental health treatment or about the process of therapy. Environmental factors, religion, culture, media, politics, and peers can influence the way we think about mental health. We have recently, as a society, made tremendous strides recognizing the importance of mental wellness. My mission is to continue to break the stigma associated with mental health through education, client advocacy, and providing access to care.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
I think clients who haven’t seen a therapist before fear that they will be made to feel “crazy,” shamed, talked down to, or reduced to a diagnosis, which inevitably may produce some anxiety. Seeking mental health and wellness treatment a powerful form of self-empowerment. It is not weak. It is not admitting defeat. Mental health and wellness treatment is a movement toward a better, more resilient self. My goal in the process is to help clients feel empowered, comfortable, and safe as they embark on their mental wellness journeys.
“In the end, some of my clients' greatest pains have become their greatest strengths.”