Answers to Your Questions about Mental Healthcare

General Mental Health Basics

  • Do you offer medication management, therapy, or both?

    • I offer both as my schedule allows. In general, I have more availability for medication appointments. If you are interested in both and my therapy slots are full, I will help you connect with another therapist while I manage your medication.

  • How do I know if I need recurring therapy or brief visits?

    • This will be determined during your intake appointment. Brief appointments are ideal for time-limited specific concerns or for clients who are stable and transitioning out of recurring therapy or have already been in recurring therapy in the past. It is also helpful for clients who have challenging schedules or financial concerns that do not accommodate recurring therapy.​

  • Do you only see pregnant or breastfeeding women?

    • No! I see young adults and young-at-heart adults from diverse backgrounds. I have additional training and experience working with the college health and perinatal mental health populations but you do not have to identify with those groups to receive care.

  • Do you offer sliding scale or pro-bono slots?

    • I do not at this time.

  • What conditions do you treat?

  • Do you prescribe adderall, ritalin, xanax, klonopin, ambien, or other controlled substances?

    • No. My services are offered predominantly through telehealth and I do not prescribe any controlled substances.

  • Do you offer in-person appointments?

    • Yes. Clients who live locally, may request an in-person appointment.​

  • I am in college, can you help me navigate healthcare, my school, and medication?

    • Yes. I know how challenging juggling all these responsibilities can be and we will make a plan that will help you succeed all aspects of your life-including academic life.​

  • What does perinatal mean?

    • Perinatal refers to the period of pregnancy and one year after childbirth.  Because we know that mood and anxiety symptoms can occur at any time during the reproductive years, I find maternal mental health to be a better term to describe what I treat but both are often used interchangeably.  Some moms don't seek care until their kids are already in school, and they are welcome too!  And for many moms, their symptoms start before they ever consider pregnancy.

  • What if I am not currently in the perinatal period?

    • I welcome clients dealing with the difficulties of pregnancy preparation, childbirth, adoption, pregnancy loss, and early parenting in whatever time-frame is meaningful and necessary to them.

  • Do you collaborate with my obstetrician?

    • For patients receiving medication management, I send a treatment summary letter after every medication adjustment.  Additionally, your obstetrician is welcome and encouraged to consult with me as needed.

  • I had my children several years ago but I think I am experiencing mental health symptoms related to my past pregnancy, delivery, postpartum period, or ongoing struggles with the mother-role, can I be a patient?

    • Yes.

  • What conditions occur during the perinatal period?

  • Do you only see young adults if they are in college?

    • No, I see young adults who are entering the workforce without additional schooling, in community college, and who have already graduated. Each transition has its own challenges and I enjoy working with adults in any of these phases. College students often have a more difficult time accessing care so I provide additional information on my site for this group.​

  • What counts as a "young adult"?

    • The majority of my patients are 45 or younger. This is because for my purposes, I work with clients who are entering adulthood through early parenting and this happens at different ages for everyone.

  • Do my parents have to know if I seek services?

    • No. As an adult, you are legally responsible for you own mental health and you will have to sign a release of information designating who I am allowed to share information with (this is a federal HIPAA policy). I do require that every patient have an emergency contact on file. Also, if you choose to use insurance and you plan to submit your Superbill to your insurance for out-of-network reimbursement and you are on your parent's insurance, they will receive notice of this. Also, because I am an out-of-network provider, many young adults have their parents cover the cost of their appointments.  

  • If my parents pay for my appointments, does that mean that you will disclose my information to them?

    • No. You will sign a release of information and I will not disclose any information without your knowledge or consent with the exception of emergency situations which are clearly outlined in my privacy policy. Your emergency contact does not have to be a parent.

  • Can my parent attend my appointment?​

    • Only if that is your preference. My initial appointment is always with the patient only so that we can discuss this in detail. If you would like to have a parent attend at the end of the appointment or at future appointments, we will make arrangements for this. This applies to medication appointments. 

  • I am a parent of a young adult and I would like to share information or be able to have a session without them present?

    • You are welcome to share information but please note that any information you share will shared with the patient. I do not schedule appointments with parents without the patient present.

  • Will you share information with my school?

    • No. ​Your information is legally protected by HIPAA regulations.

  • Can you give me an ESA letter?

    • No. I do not evaluate or train animals. If you have had at least 3 appointments and I can provide a statement of your diagnosis and that you find your pet to be helpful. This letter does not provide any legal requirement that your landlord must follow. I will not submit any additional documentation for this purpose and you will need to sign a release of information for this letter.

  • I am struggling academically, can you provide testing and treatment for ADHD?

    • Our first appointment is a comprehensive assessment and we will review the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. In most situations, if you are experiencing ADHD symptoms and mood symptoms, treating the mood symptoms first is recommended and then we will reassess ADHD symptoms. I am not able to provide diagnostic testing for learning disorders. I do not prescribe controlled substances. If you have a previous diagnosis or suspect ADHD and are interested in stimulant medication (Adderall, Vyvanse, Concerta, etc), you will want to work with another provider. I do prescribe non-controlled medications for ADHD and work with you on skill development for management of ADHD symptoms.

  • I am only interested in as-needed medication. Do you prescribe Xanax?

    • No. I do not prescribed controlled substances. For many reasons, I recommend a different plan of care.

  • I have a lot of anxiety and I am not comfortable talking on the phone and I don't know how pharmacies work.

    • No problem! This is common. You can schedule your appointment online and I will make sure you understand how to access medication services. 

  • I'm a parent and I am very afraid of my adult child taking medication and not being a part of their care. I need reassurance.

    • The transition to parenthood of an adult child is a developmental task as well. My goal is to help my clients learn how and when to set safe and healthy boundaries and also learn how to advocate for themselves and communicate effectively. I provide a summary and care plan (often including handouts) at every visit and you may want to ask the patient to share this information with you. I also provide education at every visit so your family member should be able to share as they are comfortable. I provide the care to my clients that I would want my children and (and myself) to receive and I take this responsibility very seriously.

Telehealth for clients seeking 1-on-1 mental healthcare in NC and VA

  • Do I have to use my device's camera during appointments?

    • Yes, in order to provide effective care, I must be able to see you.  You are not required to use your camera for asynchronous classes.

  • Can I have a phone appointment if my camera is not working?

    • No, you will need to reschedule.   Please be aware there is a cancellation fee for appointments not cancelled within 24 hours.​​

  • What is appropriate Telehealth attire?

    • The best feature of Telehealth is the convenience!  Come as you are, baby drool, messy house, and all.  

  • What are the technology requirements?

    • You will be able to access your appointment from any device with internet and a camera.  Due to state licensing regulations, you must be in NC or VA at the time of your appointment.  Please try to give yourself a quiet and private place.  (Some patients find their vehicles (parked-not driving!) or bathroom to be great escape locations for their appointment.

Practice Policies for clients seeking 1-on-1mental healthcare in NC and VA

  • Can I keep my individual therapist and only see you for medication management?

    • Yes, I will collaborate with your individual therapist.

  • Do you prescribe controlled substances?

    • No.  Due to the boundaries established by the DEA system, providers cannot prescribe controlled substances to patients they have not initially seen in person.  It is anticipated that the COVID pandemic exception will expire.  That said, I have many modalities that are safe and effective and provide a long-term solutions so that controlled substances may not be necessary. I am committed to helping patients connect with their best-selves (which involves the courageous exploration of a values-driven life, rather than avoidance and symptom management).

  • Do I have to be in therapy or having medication management to access other services?

    • No.

  • If I have a provider who manages my medication, can I continue with that provider for my medication and see Joy Spring Maternal Mental Health for other concerns?

    • Yes. Please plan to sign a release of information so I can communicate with your medication provider as needed.

Online Workshops for moms seeking support through virtual training and courses about maternal mental health-available regardless of location in the US.

  • Can courses be viewed in a group setting?

    • No.  Courses are individual specific and must be logged into on an individual basis.  They may not be reproduced or shared without the express permission of Joy Spring Maternal Mental Health.

  • Once I purchase a course, how long do I have access?

    • This depends on the course and this information is available on the individual course pages.

  • Do I have to live in NC or VA to take an online workshop?

    • No.  Online workshops are available to all.

  • Are online courses a substitute for therapy?

    • No!  In fact, each course comes with a disclaimer to denote that this course is not meant to provide therapy or medical care.  However, not everyone is ready or able to access therapy or medication management for a variety of reasons.  In addition, many patients may want or need to supplement their therapy and medication with alternative methods of support and online courses are a great way to meet patients where they are and make sure they have access to the information they need.

  • Are online courses guaranteed?

    • The courses offered are constantly expanding and involve a significant time and research commitment by the course developer.  We guarantee you will learn skills and information that can be applied to daily life in a manner that is engaging and interactive.  That said, because of the online platform, course are not eligible for refund.  

  • When will more courses/workshops be available?

    • Thanks for asking!  I am committed to bringing you courses that are thorough, factual, and fun!  I have​ several planned and loved suggestions for more.  It typically takes several months to organize the information so it can be offered in a user-friendly format. AVAILABLE COURSES

Brainspotting for clients in NC and VA seeking 1-on- mental healthcare

  • What is Brainspotting?

    • Brainspotting is an exciting and rapidly expanding modality used for trauma-processing.  It is based on the science of brain development which involves the subcortex ("primitive brain" responsible for bodily regulation and instinct that becomes over-activated when trauma occurs) neocortex ("thinking brain" responsible for things like time, hope, values and language) and the limbic system ("emotional brain").  When a patient experiences trauma, the communication between these parts of the brain may be disrupted, resulting in symptoms of anxiety, rumination, flashbacks, and more.  Since the brain is internal, and cannot be visualized or touched externally, we need different assessment tools to identify the areas where injury is located.  When it comes to trauma, assessing for subtle changes in the visual field of gaze can help us pinpoint where we need to target our efforts of healing.  It may help to think of this in terms of physical therapy for the brain.  

  • Why Brainspotting?

    • For many patients it is VERY effective, even when other modalities have not been.  For many patients, they are able to have much more rapid trauma resolution than seen in other modalities.  Because patients take the lead, it is an empowering approach that can feel more gentle and tolerable.  Because it doesn't require talking, it can feel more safe and private.

  • What happens during Brainspotting?

    • You will be asked to bring to mind a concern or experience that you feel is causing you distress or disrupting your functioning.  When patients bring to mind uncomfortable concerns or experiences, we call this "activation". Holding this activation, your provider will work with you to locate the area of your gaze that correlates with this trauma-based tender-point in your brain​.  Once this area is located, the provider will use a pointer to "mark the spot" so that you can return your gaze to it as needed.  By using this "spot" as a focus point for mindfulness, the brain is able to heal the area of injury.

  • What is a Brainspot?

    • An eye position that correlates with a brain-based location of traumatic memory

  • What is attunement?

    • Attunement is the intentional sharing of presence between the provider and the patient that allows the limbic system ("emotional brain") to fulfill its role in trauma processing.  With attunement, the patient is gently reminded that they are not alone and they are in-control while they do focused mindfulness on their issue of activation.  

  • Is is painful?

    • Emotional pain is real and the thought of doing something that might require leaning into this discomfort, even for a short period, can be very scary!  That said, when we do trauma work it is because there is already pain.  This is a modality that works to resolve the pain.  Just like physical therapy, it does require "stretching" tender areas.  However, your provider will work with you to make sure it is tolerable and you will be in control at all times.

  • Are there risks?

    • No, but there may be side effects such as temporary changes in energy, emotion, focus, or sleep while your brain is healing itself. These are typically mild and resolve within a few days.  Keep in mind, living with unresolved trauma has MANY risks.

  • How long does it take?

    • It depends on the individual.  Some patients need a few minutes 1 session, others may work full-sessions for weeks. 

  • Will I have to talk about my trauma?

    • Only if it is helpful to you.

  • Why use music?

    • Bilateral music has been shown to facilitate processing.  Some patients find it comforting and have more rapid resolution of their activation when bilateral music is incorporated in their processing.​ It is optional.

  • Do I have to keep my gaze on the pointer the entire time?

    • No.  Once the Brainspot is found, you will use this as a starting point for your focused mindfulness but then may find you want or need to move your gaze.  Your provider will hold the position of your Brainspot so you can return your gaze to it whenever you need.​

  • Do I have to keep my eyes open?

    • No.​

  • What if I become upset or tearful as I process?

    • I will continually be monitoring to make sure you are not overwhelmed and do not exceed your level of activation tolerance.  I will be with you the entire time and available to help if needed.  Tears are fine and common for some.  Because of how my brain will also be using its limbic system, I may get tearful with you and that is fine too.

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