Today we sat down with the dynamic and kind Clinical Director of Primrose Healing and Wellness, Dr. Deborah Simmons. Deborah is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a doctorate in health psychology. She is an educator as well as a therapist, which is a strength she brings into her work with her clients. Read on to learn more about her work!
Primrose Healing and Wellness: What inspired you to start Primrose Healing and Wellness?
Dr. Deborah Simmons: I’ve been in private practice for many years. One of my specialities is eating disorders. I have been successful as a therapist working with eating disorders because of the holistic approach I take – and I thought this approach should be applied to all clients. I wanted to do something different with my practice, and was interested in adopting a group practice model, but knew it had to be with people who had the exact same ideas about working in a holistic environment.
And in some ways this really wasn’t my idea but it came from something bigger. I have a strong spiritual connection and I believed that I was being asked to do something bigger than just having my own private practice. This all came together because of faith, hope, and trust. My goal is to provide a variety of services to our clients, and to be able to heal and give back to our community. This is the core belief that Primrose came from.
PHW: Why did you decide to pursue psychotherapy as a profession?
DS: From the time I was in high school and took my first psychology class, I knew I was going into the field of psychology. I studied it in college too, and always knew I wanted to be in a private practice. My private practice took a long time to develop and I taught for many years as well. I knew deep inside that I wanted to be a healer and a teacher, and I never wavered from that. I am lucky to do what has always been my dream.
PHW: How do you see the relationship between mental and physical health?
DS: We cannot separate mental and physical health. We are whole people and each part of who we are is connected: mental health, physical health, and spiritual health. Who we are as humans needs to be in balance. When one part of us is out of balance, it affects the rest. If our mental health is struggling, it will affect our physical health. If we are dealing with stress in our lives, it will have physical effects. Likewise if we have a physical condition, it is going to affect our mental well-being too.
PHW: What style of therapy do you practice?
DS: Over the years I have been privileged to practice a variety of different therapies and have taught different theoretical models as well. There is no one model that I specifically adhere to, as the approach to therapy depends on the client who comes in. However, a majority of the work that I do is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), because many of my clients deal with depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and behavioral issues. CBT works incredibly well for such issues. When I see couples and families I use a communications model. But most importantly, I use a holistic model, which means I treat the whole person. Adhering to one psychotherapeutic model is not always the most effective approach.
PHW: How do you determine what type of treatment someone needs?
DS: The first thing that I do is to do a complete assessment, which includes includes family history, medical history, and history with psychotherapy. This assessment tells me a lot about the person and what they need. Depending on what the client is dealing with, I first turn towards clinically sound treatments and then incorporate holistic treatments. For example: if a client struggles with anxiety, I tend to lean towards CBT, as it has been clinically proven to help clients change thinking patterns, which can help with anxiety. But, in and of itself, CBT is not enough. I also refer my clients to practices like reiki, meditation, yoga, and massage as adjuncts to therapy. Combining a holistic approach with clinically sound traditional psychotherapy has the best results.
PHW: Finally, what’s your favorite thing about working at Primrose Healing and Wellness?
DS: I would have to say that my favorite thing about working at Primrose is our team of clinicians. I am blessed to be able to have wonderful people who are like-minded with me every day. We work well together as a team in the best interest of our clients. I love these people and I’m lucky to have them with me as part of Primrose.
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