Specialized areas of training Dr. Somjee has include:
Clinical Health Psychology
Dr. Somjee has specialized training working with patients around their medical issues. She has worked with individuals managing various medical issues including chronic pain, weight management, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, fertility issues, and gastrointestinal disorders.
Her experience has included providing family practice, primary care, and OB/GYN residents psychosocial precepting (supervision) to provide integrative care to their patients. Additionally she developed and implemented this type of supervisory experience for cardiology fellows at a major VA medical center.
Why health psychology?
According to the CDC mental and behavioral health plays a significant role in prevention, diagnoses, and treatment of the fifteen leading causes of death in the United States. Treating the biological component is key, however, when treated exclusively patients are not treated effectively since other factors that impact disease are ignored.
What is a Clinical Health Psychologist?
Clinical health psychologists view medical health and illness as a product of biological characteristics, behavioral factors, emotional factors and social conditions of patients. These psychologists apply psychological knowledge to help try and prevent medical illness and manage/treat medical health. This is done alongside the patient’s existing medical treatments.
Examples of Clinical Health Psychology Services:
- Providing tools to cardiac patients to assist in managing hypertension
- Providing psychotherapy for patients experiencing depression or anxiety as a result of their medical issues
- Providing pain management techniques to a patient with lower back pain
- Providing stress management techniques to a patient with hypertension, or fertility issues
- Providing patients with cancer coping skills to get through treatments that are often difficult to endure (surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapies)
- Improving a diabetic patient’s ability to comply with a complicated medical regimen
- Providing weight management strategies to a patient who is obese
Did you know ….
- Nearly 60% of physician visits are for problems that have a significant psychological or behavioral component.
- In patients with coronary artery disease, depression predicts future cardiac events such as stroke, surgery, or death.
- Thirteen of the fifteen leading causes of death including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes have behavioral components in which psychological prevention, intervention, or rehabilitation techniques can impact the progression of the disease.
- The efficacy and cost-effectiveness of psychological interventions for chronic pain are so compelling that the National Institutes of Health published a consensus statement calling for wider acceptance and use of behavioral treatments in conjunction with medical care.
Disaster Mental Health
Dr. Somjee has training in disaster mental health training. Much of this was through the Disaster Mental Health Institute as well as the American Red Cross. She also has trained in Critical Incidence Stress Debriefing. As a result, she has provided psychotherapy to many patients who have been involved in disasters, including first responders and other medical providers. She has presented to professionals and students in this area and provided consultation to organizations focusing on disaster response.
Dr. Somjee has training in working with populations including, but not limited to, individuals of varied ethnic backgrounds, race, religion, sexual orientation and SES. Her training has helped her work with populations that might not normally see a therapist and be sensitive to their cultural needs in psychotherapy, assess how their culture impacts their world view as well as be sensitive to the political realities that potentially impact people. Dr. Somjee has also provided training to mental health professionals to help them increase awareness of their own values and biases and how that might impact patient care.