“My goal is to provide a down-to-earth, accepting, and trusting atmosphere where people can feel comfortable talking about the reasons they are looking for help.”
What was your path to becoming a psychiatrist? What inspired you to choose this profession?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been interested in understanding human behavior. After studying clinical psychology and psychological testing, I worked in a long-term psychiatric hospital as a psychometrist and a clinical drug trial monitor. During this time, I saw the benefits of evidenced-based treatments within a multidisciplinary framework. I decided to go to medical school and become a psychiatrist. The second pivotal time in my career was when I worked in a child and adolescent hospital and encountered the resilience and optimism of children—in spite of their experiences of severe trauma. Early intervention can provide the means for a different outcome. As a result, I pursued a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry.
What would you want someone to know about working with you?
My goal is to provide a down-to-earth, accepting, and trusting atmosphere where people can feel comfortable talking about the reasons they are looking for help. My initial approach is to do a comprehensive evaluation. This includes reviewing the client’s medical and developmental history, the context of their life, and the symptoms that are disrupting functioning. My treatment recommendations may include medication, therapy, diet, exercise, sleep management, and activities that enhance self-care and growth. I guide my clients to envision the futures they want, set goals, and provide encouragement. My approach with medications is systematic and careful, with regular monitoring of response and side effects. Appointments are more frequent in the beginning to assess the suitability of a medication and to make adjustments accordingly.
How does collaboration with other providers play into your work?
It is my intention to recommend other types of treatment to enhance the goals of wellbeing and recovery. I have enthusiastically worked with many exceptional therapists, dieticians, medical doctors, occupational therapists, and teachers as part of collaborative care. Each professional brings their own perspectives, talents, and nuances to care.
What do you think is the biggest barrier today for people seeking care?
The obstacles are often the stigma about mental health care, insufficient knowledge about the help that is available, and feeling stuck, powerless, or fearful. I’d like for people to understand that struggles are a part of being human—and my approach is to normalize those struggles. Medications can be very effective, in combination with therapy, and can be a way to recognize, reframe, and create new thoughts and behaviors.
What excites you most about the evolving mental health landscape?
I am excited by the shift in psychiatry to a positive approach that emphasizes well-being and encourages deliberate life changes. This approach helps clients move from feelings of powerlessness to self-mastery. There is a deliberate focus on strengths, emotional regulation, courage, kindness, and mindfulness. Exciting developments in the mind-body connection are putting more focus on that way of thinking. In addition, the advancement of technology is providing the means for greater and easier access to care—and the means to accumulate more information.
“Struggles are a part of being human—and my approach is to normalize those struggles.”