Over my career as a psychologist, I have learned that having closely coordinated care among your various medical and mental health providers is a crucial part of creating and sustaining positive change. Communication and consultation can help your providers work together in complementary ways, which can help you achieve better results in your treatment. I have had a fantastic opportunity to work with a multidisciplinary team of therapists from diverse training and personal backgrounds during my nearly nine years working for The Catalyst Center. I have significantly benefited from consulting directly with my colleagues on clinical topics or cases during that time. This has consequently helped enhance the care I can offer my clients.
Until recently, I’ve always had to coordinate care with external prescribers if my clients were ever taking medicines because The Catalyst Center didn’t provide psychiatry. This has worked well enough at times, but there were other times when I couldn’t work as closely with external prescribers for many reasons, including difficulty aligning busy schedules or limited communication/access (e.g., phone tag between providers). Although this might not have always been disruptive to a client’s overall care, I have yearned for the opportunity to work with an in-house prescriber because of the advantages I felt it would have for clients. My wish came true when The Catalyst Center added a prescriber, Adrienne Long, PMHNP, to our clinical team. This has allowed us to expand our service offerings to include psychiatry. Adrienne has been a highly competent and knowledgeable provider who has brought our clients a fantastic layer of care. Our therapists have also benefited from learning from her immense medical expertise. I have worked alongside Adrienne for nearly six months and wanted to describe some of the immediate advantages I have noticed with having her as our in-house prescriber.
First, she has helpful and complementary care options for clients in all phases of mental health care. When I have had clients interested in medications, she has been able to see them promptly and has had customized approaches to each client’s needs. For instance, she has spoken with various clients about medications and recommended specific nutritional and herbal supplements to help with symptom management. She has educated clients about health choices they could make to improve their lives, and my clients have noticed numerous improvements after following her recommendations. Notably, she and I can easily discuss her medical perspective for each of my clients, which allows me to integrate or reinforce her recommendations into therapy sessions. Similarly, I can share information about symptom patterns, environmental factors, or social/emotional layers to inform how Adrienne approaches her role as a prescriber. In both cases, we offer unique and mutually informative data to one another that enhances the job we do for our clients.
Another advantage is that Adrienne is accessible and available for ongoing consultation, which has helped us coordinate care more effectively. She and I work next door to each other, so I have often found it helpful to quickly check in with her about any questions about medication, medical conditions, or nutrition. In addition, she and I can formulate and make adjustments to our treatment plans for our shared clients as often as we need to. We don’t have to worry about relying on the phone or email as our only method of communication, and there are fewer delays with care coordination. I’ve deeply appreciated having fast access to her expertise because it also allows me to have a constant resource to improve my clients’ overall health and wellbeing.
A final advantage is that I have had the opportunity to nurture a sense of professional trust with Adrienne, which is essential to optimizing client care. As Adrienne and I work together, we build this trust, allowing us to seamlessly integrate our roles and promote ongoing communication. This directly benefits our clients because they hear a consistent message regarding care from both of us. They also get a carefully customized plan of service that is meant to address each client’s specific needs and goals. It also allows our clients to communicate with us more efficiently and know that we can collaboratively handle a question or concern. I am grateful that clients who come to The Catalyst Center have the option to consult with a medication provider if desired, and I am also thankful that every therapist has access to a wealth of medical knowledge that can help enhance the therapy they provide.
These are just a few of the benefits of having an in-house medication prescriber. Not every client will need or want medication, but Adrienne has been a beneficial resource for our staff. Although I always advocate that clients receive their medicine from a provider they know and trust, I would certainly say there are advantages to having a prescriber and therapist who can work closely. If clients ever request any information about medication or medical issues, I always look to Adrienne as my first option. Suppose you are considering a first-time medication evaluation or looking to transfer your care from another prescriber. In that case, I hope you can see the advantages of having your care under the same roof.