About Heather

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I know all too well how busy and challenging the adjustment to adulthood can be. This can be even more overwhelming and exhausting during the early years of parenting. When you are experiencing mood or anxiety symptoms during this period, it can just feel like too much.

My goal is to help you reconnect with who you are and how you want to live your life by assisting you in developing
mental health and wellness.  By managing your mood and anxiety symptoms, you can get on track to being your best self and...find your JOY!

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Nurse Practitioner, Mom of 3, and Your Recovery Partner

But really...what's it like to work with me?!

I'm so glad you asked!  My approach to mental health is based on 22 years of healthcare experience and extensive training and awareness of the most effective evidence-based approaches for mood and anxiety disorders including the developmental nuances of the early adult and perinatal periods.  That said, I like to take the info and break it down it something practical, realistic, and tailored to your unique needs in the most welcoming and approachable way possible.  Therefore, my sessions are eclectic, meaning I draw from as many resources and techniques as needed to make sure you receive the individualized care you need.  I am all about making sure you obtain the information and develop the skills you need to see actual change and improvement in function and overall mental well-being.  

When it comes to medication management, your treatment should be safe, effective, and tolerable. We won't waste time repeating what hasn't worked in the past. We won't settle for trading one problem for another. We will have a short-term and a long-term plan. We will definitely NOT be throwing darts in the dark. You will understand the what, why, and how of your medication.

My clients are the center of every appointment-as they should be!  I realize that your time is valuable and I want you to get as much out of out time together as possible.  This means our sessions will be working sessions-but instead of spinning your wheels alone, you will have trained profession support. 

I value your feedback.  I check-in regularly to make sure your treatment plan is on track to helping you achieve your goals and mental health success-if something isn't working, we will explore why and make adjustments as necessary.

I show up for you!  There is a saying in healthcare that the patient has to care as much as you do.  But the opposite is also true-the provider also has to care and being willing to put in the time and effort for their clients.  This means I will challenge you when you need it-don't worry I'll do it with humor and kindness.  After all, I have my own lived experience and I'm not afraid to let you know you are not alone.  No topic is off-limits.  If it matters to you, it matters to me.  There will be laughter and most importantly, there will be recovery.

May I offer some reassurance...

What if I don't know what to say?

  • No problem! You don't have to know anything. In fact, even if you are another healthcare professional, I will encourage you to just be the client in this space. You will find I am very good at helping clients communicate and our interactions will flow smoothly. I'm good with awkward pauses, silence, and oversharing and I'll help you be comfortable where ever you fall on the communication spectrum.

What if I don't agree with your plan?

  • Creating a plan is teamwork. I will ask for feedback about our plan at every session so that if you are experiencing frustrations, confusion, reluctance or doubt, we will work at making adjustments until we are both comfortable and hopeful about our plan. This will not be like appointments you may have had in the past where a prescriber quickly dictated a plan and you left feeling frustrated and unheard.

What if I have already tried different approaches?

  • That is great information to share! We will not waste time repeating strategies that don't work for you.

What if I miss an appointment?

  • Life happens and we will reschedule. I do have no-show fee ($100) for late cancellations and no-shows that I waive if you can reschedule within the same week (if my schedule is able to accommodate this). If this happens frequently, we will discuss this in session. I will not be angry. I will be excited to see you when you are able to reschedule.

What if my schedule is inconsistent?

  • I am very intentional about managing my caseload so that I can serve my clients in a way that works for them. This is why I offer brief therapy appointments in addition to long-term therapy slots. 

Do I have to talk about my trauma?

  • No. There are ways to process trauma that do not include verbal dialogue. You will not be asked to share any information you are not comfortable sharing. That said, you will likely find that when you are ready, talking about your trauma can be healing.

What if I use profanity?

  • You do you. That said, racist, homophobic, misogynist, or sexist comments will confronted and processed and I will communicate clear boundaries if this type of speech is noted.

If I am honest, will I get in trouble?

  • Nope. Things I hope you will feel safe in sharing include drug use, sexual concerns, skipping medication, suicidal thoughts, lack of action toward your goals, etc. Bascially, feel safe and welcome to be human. This is how we grow and learn. Our relationship with be professional (not parental) and you will not find judgment, anger, avoidance, or punishment toward your thoughts, feelings, or actions from me.

Do you have experience with working with people like me?

  • I've worked in healthcare for 22 years in different settings, so chances are, I have worked with someone like you. But to be honest, if I've learned anything over the course of my career, it is that at our core, most of us have the same needs, dreams, and longings and the different ways this shows up in individuals is what brings beauty and excitement into the world. Getting to work with different people is part of what makes my job so great. I'm glad to meet you and take the time to know you as an individual.

What if I cry?

  • No problem. Crying is natural, healthy, and healing.

What if I have a panic attack?

  • No problem. We'll handle it together.

Seeking mental health services doesn't have to be intimidating.

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Professional Bio

Heather is a dually certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner with over 20 years experience in healthcare.  In addition, she is certified in Perinatal Mental Health and has training in Brainspotting.

She is passionate about helping patients bridge the gaps in understanding about the interconnectedness of mental and physical health.  Her unique blend of experience and training give her a realistic understanding of how these challenges are different, and need to be treated differently, during the stressors of the motherhood experience.

 

Heather is the founder of Joy Spring Mental Health.  Her passion for college health developed during her time working in university student health services and is the reason she pursued further training and certification in psychiatry. Her passion for maternal mental health developed in response to her own experiences in the pregnancy and postpartum periods as well as her frustrations with the lack of resources in typical medical care.  Her model is holistic, taking the time of longer appointments to build relationships with her patients so they can partner together for the patient's success.

BSN-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

MSN-Duke University

Post-master's PMHNP-Maryville University

(We pull for NCSU at our house)!

"Heather is approachable, relatable, and actually takes the time to listen."