For over 10 years, I’ve been a nurse and nurse practitioner in the “traditional” healthcare system. I’ve worked in all sorts of settings, from managing a busy panel of patients at a telemedicine psychiatry practice, to volunteering as a clinician and educator in Bangladesh, to working at a fast-paced Veterans Hospital with recently discharged veterans. In fact, I still work part-time as a nurse practitioner.
Yet time and time again, I keep seeing the same thing. Our traditional healthcare model works…sometimes. “Western” medicine – that which is taught in medical and nursing schools around the globe – is really good at some things, particularly clear-cut problems with a “fix” (broken bones, infections). As a medical provider, I have a healthy respect for evidence-based practice and Western medicine.
And, the Western healthcare model falls miserably short sometimes – and nowhere does it fail us more than in the realm of mental health.
The traditional Western model separates mind and body – which we now know (via constantly-emerging neuroscientific research) simply does not work. We’re learning new information every day about the inextricable link between the mind and body, and the need to offer treatments that look at individuals as a whole – not just as a diagnosis.
Other cultures’ medicinal practices are much better at acknowledging this link between body, mind, and spirit.
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My interest in these more holistic methods started mostly out of personal interest; I spent most of my teens and 20s desperately trying to heal my own nervous system from debilitating symptoms of anxiety and depression. Utilizing a combination of traditional Western practices (talk therapy, medication, etc). along with holistic practices – yoga, meditation, etc. -is when my life truly began to change.
After growing interested (and then obsessed) with more holistic practices like meditation, Reiki and yoga, I trained with the Center for Mind-Body Medicine to become a certified mind-body medicine provider in 2017. I later took a sabbatical from the US healthcare system to travel and volunteer abroad, working with UN agencies in Greece and Bangladesh, volunteering in a monastery hospital/hospice in Myanmar, and learning Spanish in Colombia. I decided I never wanted to go back to a traditional “9-5” role, and began working in telemedicine, seeing patients all over the world who were based in the US.
In 2020 I transitioned into a nurse practitioner role in tele-psychiatry, helping patients navigate their mental health needs just as the COVID-19 pandemic started to rage. I watched as the Western psychiatric model became inundated, with providers on a seemingly desperate quest to squash the blooming mental health crisis growing before our eyes. There was never enough time with patients, never enough connection made.
I started to see the patterns – that depression & anxiety breed in isolation. Trauma and emotions are stored in the body. The mind is immensely more powerful than we give ourselves credit for. Humans need to feel seen, heard, and validated to heal, and this extends to their clinical experiences. And in the current mental health model in the US, this isn’t possible.
Thus, in the fall of 2020, I became a certified health coach – and soon after, I launched my own mental health coaching platform, CS Wellness (CSW).
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At CSW, I strive to help all individuals feel seen, heard, valued, and never judged. We’ll look at the entire menu of mental health treatment offerings, and you’ll never be reduced to a diagnosis. Your treatment plan will be customized to your individual needs.
Working together, we’ll identify self-limiting beliefs, heal trauma patterns, and help you manifest a happier and healthier existence – mind, body and spirit. We’ll help build your mental health “toolbox” together – so that you foster more resiliency, joy, and abundance into your daily life.
I follow with gratitude the work of clinicians before me, such as Stan Grof, MD (a pioneer in the movement of psychedelics and non-ordinary states of consciousness), James Gordon, MD (“The Transformation”, Center for Mind-Body Medicine), Bessel Van Der Kolk, MD (“The Body Keeps the Score”), Nicole LePera, PhD (“How to do the Work”, @the.holistic.psychologist) and Emeran Meyer, MD (“The Brain-Gut Connection”).