“It brings me immeasurable joy to be able to empower and accompany people on their journey toward greater mental wellbeing.”
What was your path to becoming a certified psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner? What inspired you to choose this profession?
I became a nurse in 2012, working in inpatient pediatrics, adult ambulatory surgery, and as a sexual assault forensic examiner in the emergency department. Through these roles, I realized that my passion and strengths lie in fostering deep connections with people. The rushed nature of bedside nursing did not call to me. Rather, I yearned to be able to bring my full presence and attention to one-on-one interactions with clients, often during their darkest, most difficult moments. Becoming a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner was the clearest path for me to fulfill that desire. My nursing background informs my practice, meaning that I see each person as a whole and complex being, and my treatment takes their unique physical, emotional and spiritual needs into account. It brings me immeasurable joy to be able to empower and accompany people on their journey toward greater mental wellbeing.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
As a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, I am licensed to practice psychotherapy and to prescribe medication. Mild symptoms of anxiety or depression often can be successfully treated with psychotherapy alone. Yet sometimes the symptoms of anxiety and depression become severe enough to significantly impact our lives, and some mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are generally not treatable without medication. In such cases, it may be recommended to treat symptoms with a combination of therapy and medication. I conduct a thorough psychiatric evaluation on all of my clients to be sure that my clinical analysis and subsequent recommendations are complete. Any recommendation I make is just that: a recommendation. The client’s lifestyle, beliefs, and values always guide the treatment we choose to take together. The process and the progress belong to the client; I am merely the facilitator.
If there was one thing you wish people knew about the therapy experience who might be hesitant to try it, what would that be?
Seeking therapy is a form of self-empowerment. It is not weak, it is not admitting defeat, it is not giving up or giving in. Most of all, it is not shameful. I wish everyone could be proud to seek therapy. Therapy is hopeful. Therapy is movement toward a better self, and in turn, it is movement toward a better world.
What excites you most about the evolving mental health landscape?
I am really excited by younger generations and the work being done to bring mental health issues into mainstream consciousness. There is so much more awareness, advocacy, and language around mental health now than there was when I was younger. This brings me hope for a kinder future, where people struggling with mental illness can be accepted and valued in our society.
If you could pick one or two books that influenced your approach to therapy what would they be and why?
The book that I return to again and again is "When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times" by Pema Chödrön. This book has shaped not only my approach to therapy but also my approach to life. Chödrön is a Buddhist nun whose writing is inspirational, but also funny and approachable. Her writing teaches us how to greet our most difficult emotions — anger, envy, jealousy, greed — and how to find joy and wisdom within those dark experiences. For me, this book lights a pathway to peace, despite the inevitable torment and tumult of life.
“Therapy is movement toward a better self, and in turn, it is movement toward a better world.”