Postdoctoral Fellowship in Addiction, Behavioral Health, and Technology
University of Virginia Health System
Ph.D., Psychology, Clinical
M.A., Health Education and Health Behavior
B.S., Psychology, Concentration in Health Promotion & Exercise Science
Appalachian State University
CURRENT PROFESSIONAL ROLES OUTSIDE OF PRIVATE PRACTICE:
Staff Psychologist, McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Affiliate Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Virginia Commonwealth University
President, Richmond Academy of Clinical Psychologists
My appreciation for evidence-based practice grows out of my participation in research over the years. I have been involved in research to advance our understanding of behavioral health problems like anxiety, insomnia, drinking, etc. as well as how to help people using behavioral interventions, including CBT and Motivational Interviewing. I have had a particular interest in researching ways we can harness the Internet and phones to enhance and or provide therapy.
You can find more information about my scholarly work and peer-reviewed publications here.
ADVANCED CLINICAL CERTIFICATIONS:
- International Obsessive Compulsive Disorders Foundation Behavioral Treatments Training Institute
- Veterans Health Administration Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia
- Veterans Health Administration Prolonged Exposure Therapy
- Veterans Health Administration Motivational Interviewing and Motivational Enhancement Therapy
- I was a consultant for the Veterans Health Administration Motivational Interviewing and Motivational Enhancement Treatment initiatives meaning I taught other mental health providers how to implement these treatments in Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country
CURRENT MEMBERSHIP IN PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS:
- American Psychological Association
- Division 38, Health Psychology, American Psychological Association
- Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine
- International Obsessive Compulsive Disorders Foundation
- TLC Foundation for Body-Focused Repetitive Behaviors
- Association for Veterans Affairs Psychologist Leaders
- Virginia Academy of Clinical Psychologist
- Richmond Academy of Clinical Psychologists
Over the years, I have worked and studied in university centers, academic medical centers, outpatient clinics, research clinics, private practice, and a Veterans Affairs hospital. Prior to graduate school, and after college, I lived and worked in New York City as an assistant program director at an international advertising firm, a corporate recruiter, and doing my favorite combined gig- research assistant during the day and waitress at night. Along this journey, I have been involved in development and testing of evidence-based treatments and creation of treatment manuals. Also, in addition to publishing peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, I have written for the popular press in venues such as Columbia University’s “Go Ask Alice!”, a website that enables readers to anonymously ask all sorts of fascinating mental and physical health-related questions. Currently, I am serving as a subject matter expert to help the Department of Veterans Affairs develop a completely automated and interactive website to screen and treat Veterans with insomnia and other sleep problems.
MY PASSION AND INTEREST IN HELPING PEOPLE WITH OCD, ANXIETY, AND INSOMNIA…
Every day, courageous clients share the most personal details of their lives with me and trust in our relationship as a vehicle for meaningful change. I provide the CBT framework as well as support and encouragement. I have seen clients make small and large changes in their ways of thinking and acting that have led them to be able to live the lives they desire. It feels good to help people using evidence-based therapy.
Because I am also a “big picture” person, in addition to my clinical interactions with clients, I am involved in other domains of psychology. As mentioned earlier, I am involved in research. Additionally, I am engaged in psychology professional associations and political advocacy to advocate for mental health care reform at the local, state, and federal level.
In 2016, my main political advocacy goal was to support the United States Congress as they considered passing comprehensive mental health care reform to improve timely access to high quality mental health care for all Americans. Here’s a photo of me and my colleagues, Dr. Cathy Rea, Dr. Paul Perrin, and PhD candidate Michael Trujillo, meeting with US Congressman from Virginia, Rob Wittman (R).
While CBT is no panacea, it has been found to be an effective way to help people with anxiety, OCD, and insomnia. I was very fortunate to train at one of the top clinical psychology PhD programs in the nation to develop clinical and scientific cognitive behavioral skills. I am also trained in health education, health psychology, and the art and science of motivation. I incorporate a gentle and non-judgemental counseling style into CBT called Motivational Interviewing. Further, as a health psychologist, I am aware of the dynamic interplay between body, mind, and community/environment. I bring all these perspectives to bear when working with clients. I always look for the unique strengths in my clients and help them explore these while developing awareness of the ways certain ways of thinking and acting can hold them back emotionally, physically, and relationally.