I support people in the agency in a variety of ways including treatment planning, supporting ongoing patient care (medication and psychotherapy), working with clinicians for psychotherapy supervision, as well as working with management on assessing, improving and expanding the quality of our services. We work with patients on social and recreational aspects of their life and we brainstorm as a team, how to help them build capacity to do these things. We work to build a life worth living and what needs to be in place to establish and maintain a healthy, well-rounded life.
What is involved in your role?
I am the lead psychiatrist for the First Step Early Intervention Psychosis Program and psychiatrist for Adult Services, the Flexible Assertive Community Treatment (FACT) team, and Children’s services. I provide diagnostic evaluations, clarifications and treatment plans, including medication, psychotherapy, functional and occupational therapy needs. I help to gather a complete picture of the person and what interventions are needed to facilitate recovery.
Why did you become involved in the mental health field?
Originally, when I attended medical school, I thought I would do something that involved surgery or procedures. I considered Gastroenterology because of my previous research and publication experience during my pre-medical studies, Orthopaedic Surgery because of my passion for sports and exercise and Anesthesiology because of my interest in the blend of pharmacology, physiology and procedures. During medical school, Psychiatry was the only specialty where I was felt fully intellectually and emotionally engaged and that I could get to know people well, which really appealed to me. I enjoy not only the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric illness but also knowing people on a deeper level and understanding what it is like to be them and live their lives every day. I also like the combinations of treatments we have available to us as psychiatrists in the form of biological, psychosocial and functional interventions to help with their recovery. The treatment is appealing to me because over time, we can partner with our patients and embark on the journey with them together towards recovery and see them through each step in the process until their lives have improved.
What brought you to CMHA?
I respect and appreciate how the staff members take care of their patients and the dedication of everyone involved whether they are therapists, management, Health Information Management or Occupational Therapists. Everyone works together as a team to provide the best care. I like the opportunity to fully use my diverse training in treating children, adolescents, adults with medications as well as psychotherapy to provide care in the different services lines within the agency.
Have you always worked in mental health?
No, in fact I have never considered the field until I learned more about it in Medical School. However I have always worked in industries over my different careers that involved significant interactions with people. While I was studying in University growing up in Sydney, Australia, I worked as security manager and general manager at a nightclub. When I moved to the United States, I received my Master’s degree in Hospitality Management with a concentration in Marketing. After that, I worked as a sales and marketing manager for a luxury hotel company and then transitioned into pharmaceutical sales. It was after my experiences working in the pharmaceutical industry when I decided to go to medical school. The skills I developed in each of those jobs have helped me to become more psychologically minded and gave me the ability to be able to connect with people from different racial, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.
How do you support people at CMHA in your role?
I support people in the agency in a variety of ways including treatment planning, supporting ongoing patient care (medication and psychotherapy), working with clinicians for psychotherapy supervision, as well as working with management on assessing, improving and expanding the quality of our services. I have been trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Child-Parent Psychotherapy (CPP), Family Therapy, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Intense Short Term Dynamic Psychotherapy (ISDTP), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Good Psychiatric Management (GPM) for Borderline Personality Disorder. I was previously the medical director for a community mental health agency as well as founder and president of my private practice. I have used these diverse experiences in my various roles to support better treatment outcomes. We work with patients on social and recreational aspects of their life and we brainstorm as a team, how to help them build capacity to do these things. We work to build a life worth living and what needs to be in place to establish and maintain a healthy, well-rounded life.
What are you proud of during your time at CMHA?
I am proud that I have the privilege to be working with many talented and caring members of the different teams in our services to help meet the needs of our clients. I am also proud that I can use the unique parts of my training to add something new to our delivery of service and treatments and what we as a team can do for our community.
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