I am interested in helping each person I work with find positive growth from adversity, build resilience, develop adaptive coping skills and learn effective problem solving. I seek to promote optimistic thinking that can help children, adolescents, and adults respond to the challenges that are encountered on a daily basis, and to apply these skills in many contexts, including relationships with peers and family, lifelong learning, and other activities. I hope to provide skills that buffer against the effects of stress. I emphasize a strength-based approach to treatment that helps one to overcome their areas of vulnerability.
As a psychiatrist, I am also aware of effects that adversity, stress, and maladaptive coping can have on the brain. I use this understanding, and I consider carefully the information that you have provided me with to make medication recommendations to address the symptoms that can be addressed with medications. I consider carefully the balance between the potential risks of a medication, the potential benefits of the medication, and the likely outcomes with and without medication intervention, and I discuss this in detail with my patients and families. I am aware that making the decision to take medication or to give medication to one’s child is a very difficult decision to make, and I want to be certain that you have all of the information you need to make the best decisions possible. I listen carefully to your concerns, and discuss the thinking process behind my decisions.
As a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I have learned and observed how nurturing and neglectful experiences affect brain development, and determine how future events will be perceived and responded to by an individual. I remain astonished at the capacity of we humans to be malleable—that is, how we are able to display such an extensive repertoire of adaptive behaviors when life issues its challenges. I have observed the striking effects of early intervention and treatment in facilitating positive outcomes from negative events. I have learned the value of incorporating advocacy and education, into my practice model, to facilitate the most optimal outcomes for each individual and family that entrusts me with their concerns. I believe in a team-approach to care, where each family member brings a valuable set of concerns, perspectives and ideas about the issues that we are attempting to address. And I believe that this team also includes other care providers, such as family doctors and pediatricians, speech and occupational therapists, nutritionists, educators and their support staff, providers of community services, and providers of complementary interventions (such as yoga, meditation, or acupuncture).
I do not believe that child and family mental health and well-being can be improved solely by the changes made in clinical settings, and that it really does take a village. I believe in social responsibility, and am an active political advocate for mental health issues. I believe that our legal system provides the most just decisions when appropriately informed about issues at the psychiatry-legal interface, (forensic psychiatry). I travel yearly to Capitol Hill to speak with legislators about topics germane to promotion of healthy child development. I provide developmentally-informed consultation in forensic psychiatry matters, in the criminal and juvenile courts, civil courts, and family courts.