I have thought long and hard about how to explain how I approach psychiatry, mental health and treatment. The best way to explain my approach is to explain a bit about my own struggles with anxiety. I grew up in a very anxious family – genetics definitely played a strong role. I didn’t completely realize it at the time how anxious I was and no one else really knew either because I kept quiet about it. It wasn’t until I went off to college that I really struggled with social anxiety. I thought that my problems were more physical in nature so I thought I must have stomach cancer. That was my explanation for why I was always nauseated and losing weight. I was placed on Prozac and it literally did change my life. It completely reduced the ruminating thoughts I experienced and allowed me to focus on just being myself and feeling comfortable in my own skin. My anxiety flared up again in medical school and I was introduced to cognitive behavioral therapy where I learned that just because I think or feel something doesn’t mean that it is actually happening or true. CBT pushed me to evaluate my thoughts before just accepting them as the truth and it allowed me to fight back against these illogical fears. Ultimately anxiety is generally pretty illogical. We overestimate the risk of something happening and underestimate our ability to deal with it.
Because of my own struggles with anxiety it has made me acutely aware of how important it is to really understand an individuals situation, job, relationship, etc. There are definitely check lists that can help to establish a diagnosis, but I am not one to fall back on simply running through a checklist. I have heard numerous individuals start to tell me about their issues and then quickly apologize and explain, “I’m sorry, that’s a therapy issue.” At first I was really perplexed, but what I’ve grown to understand is that a lot of mental health professionals do create that sort of boundary between running through a checklist and talking about what is going on in one’s day to day life. I can only assume that the people who apologize have been shut down by a mental health professional in the past and were told to “save that for your therapist”. I don’t think one can realistically make that sort of distinction and in order for me to be able to really help I think it’s extremely useful to know and understand what is going on your life and what is motivating you.
Medical School - University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston 2003-2007
Residency - University of Texas Southwestern in Austin 2007-2011
Board Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology as of 2012