I approach treatment with the aim of empowering my patients with knowledge and the expression of their own preferences. I take a collaborative approach, often tailoring my recommendations to my patients’ philosophies, life goals, and constraints. While it is the job of a therapist to listen to patients, my past experiences as an educator and service director help me to recognize the value of active communication in healing as well. Many patients have expressed to me how much they appreciate my sharing of ideas and opinions.
Prior to initiating treatment I offer a consultation. This is usually a 60-70 minute meeting in which I gather information regarding symptoms, life circumstances, and past medical and psychiatric treatment history. Towards the end of this meeting I offer my reflections on the problem at hand, as well as recommendations for treatment. After the consultation, I offer a follow up meeting, either 30 minutes in length for cases of medication management, or 45 minutes for psychotherapy (which may or may not include the prescribing of medications.)
Sometimes other therapists in the area refer their patients to me for medication consultation. After an initial consultation, meetings with these patients are 30 minutes in length, and may involve ongoing communication with the referring therapist.
I try with great sincerity to balance the patient’s need for a trusting and private sharing of emotional troubles, with the certain benefits of involving people’s support systems (families, teachers, other healers) in their treatment plans. I exercise great discretion and subtle thinking in reaching decisions together with my patients about how to maximize the opportunity for healthy and supportive relationships in their lives.
I help patients who are struggling with the misuse of alcohol and other substances. My approach to these problems is informed by the principles of "Motivational Interviewing." This model encourages the reflective exploration of patient ambivalence towards changing one’s substance use patterns.
With regards to the use of psychiatric medications, I rely heavily upon my years of training and experience as a medical doctor in assessing the overall health of my patients prior to and during the course of medication treatment. I am informed in the evidence-based use of alternatives to traditional prescribed medications for a variety of conditions.