I work collaboratively with patients to develop a treatment plan that may include medication, psychotherapy with me or their current therapist, and health-promoting lifestyle changes. My goal is to help all of my patients to develop a rich, full, and personally meaningful life.
Medications can be life saving, but they may also come with side effects, both known and unknown. For this reason, I strive to prescribe the lowest doses and fewest number of medications that will be effective. In some cases, medications are not necessary.
When making medication decisions, I combine my medical expertise with a patient's personal preferences to make appropriate choices. I use various symptom rating scales to monitor efficacy and side effects in order to adjust patient treatments on an ongoing basis.
Mental health problems occur in the context of everything that is part of a person's life. Psychotherapy can be a very powerful treatment to address unhealthy thought and relationship patterns, provide support, or help with transitions. My primary approach is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a widely studied and effective form of therapy that focuses on problems in the here and now, and how thoughts and feelings interact. Unpleasant feelings are often associated with distorted negative thoughts. By understanding and changing negative thoughts, your feelings will change too. I learned CBT from Dr. David Burns, author of Feeling Good, which has sold more than four million copies. I continue to collaborate with Dr. Burns today. To learn more about this type of treatment, please visit www.feelinggoodinstitute.com.
I also find mindfulness practices to be very helpful tools to help identify, understand, and deal with difficult emotions. My interest in mindfulness began with my practice of yoga, which I started over 15 years ago. In our busy lives, the ability to tune in to ourselves and notice what we are experiencing is invaluable. In my experience, the combination of awareness and acceptance from mindfulness practices plus the many tools for change offered by CBT is very effective.
I enjoy helping people achieve rapid improvement in mood and relationship problems with a focus on the here and now with CBT. However, present day thought and behavior patterns often have roots in past experiences. Some of these patterns may be helpful and others may cause unnecessary suffering. I help my patients understand these connections to enable them to make healthy choices in the present.
The mind and body are one. Any health promoting activity will help someone's mental state and vice versa. I consider an evaluation of a person's diet, exercise, sleep, relationships, work, and leisure time activities to be a vital part of our treatment. I work with people to optimize these important lifestyle factors.