“My philosophy for psychiatry is a distinctive, holistic approach that blends evidence-based psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacological modalities to achieve the best outcomes—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 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. My philosophy for psychiatry is a distinctive, holistic approach that blends evidence-based psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacological modalities to achieve the best outcomes—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. They 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 many people who haven’t seen a therapist before fear that they will be made to feel “crazy,” caricatured, shamed, talked down to, or reduced to a diagnosis, which inevitably may produce some anxiety. Seeking therapy is a powerful form of self-empowerment. It is not weak. It is not admitting defeat. It is not giving up or giving in. Above all else, it is not shameful. I think there is a place for therapy in everyone's lives. Therapy is hopeful. Therapy is movement toward a better, more resilient self. My goal in the process is to help people feel empowered, comfortable, and safe as they embark on their mental wellness journeys.
What do you think is the most important therapeutic intervention?
During my career, I have worked or trained across a broad range of disciplines, including consultation liaison psychiatry, psycho-oncology, and addiction, with both adolescents and adults from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. I have also worked in a variety of settings, including inpatient, outpatient, residential programs, and emergency rooms. I have utilized modalities like psychodynamic therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and medication management to treat clients in a holistic fashion. Throughout all of these different experiences, I have found that a strong therapeutic bond allows for the greatest and most meaningful changes to occur.
“My goal in the process is to help people feel empowered, comfortable, and safe as they embark on their mental wellness journeys.”
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