I was exceptionally lucky in my early exposure to brain science as well as psychotherapy. I trained under some of the pioneers of modern psychiatry; Sam Guze, Eli Robins, Barb Geller, to name a few. I had a firm foundation in brain research and basic science working in the lab as an undergraduate with Gerry Fishbach, who was a pioneer in studying how nerves grow and make healthy chemical signaling connections.
This basic pharmacology work prepared me well for the flood of new medications that have come into common use in psychiatry. Though my primary role in the clinic is to support psychotherapy with medications, I still view medications with a healthy dose of caution. I was deeply influenced early on by family systems therapy, which shifts focus from individual disease to seeing behavior as a product of a system of family and community relationships. In my fellowship program in child and adolescent psychiatry my training concentrated on family systems therapy, dyadic play therapy, interpersonal therapy, dynamic trauma therapy, and forensic interviewing for sexual abuse cases. I also continued work in the lab on the side, working on genetic studies for autism, bipolar disorder, and Tourette’s syndrome; this led to yet another year extension of my training as I went on for a post-doctoral fellowship in genetics of personality development at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh. With Advanced Behavioral Medicine, I have worked to create an evidence-based clinic relying on state-of-the-art methods in both psychotherapy and sensible, informed use of medications. We aim to improve not just the quality of life of our patients, but to improve the whole community, sharing collaboratively with local physicians, mental health providers, lawyers, law enforcement, and schools.