Specialized areas of training Dr. Somjee has include:
Clinical Health Psychology
Dr. Somjee specializes in delivering medical psychology services to patients with chronic medical conditions providing them with treatments to manage their health, alongside their existing medical treatments. She works with individuals managing various medical conditions including heart disease, chronic pain, weight management, diabetes, cancer, fertility issues and gastrointestinal disorders.
Her expertise in clinical health psychology includes a focus on implementing integrated and inter professional models of healthcare delivery within medical settings. She has consulted to physicians on patient engagement and integrated approaches to healthcare, and provided psychosocial precepting to medical residents and fellows.
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.
Dr. Somjee sees couples dealing with a variety of issues. These can include, couples who are dealing with chronic medical illnesses, infidelity, family conflicts, working together/co-owning businesses, strained communications, and couples who have drifted apart.
The complexity and challenges of life can create discord between a couple. Stressors in life can manifest in one’s relationship and if not attended to on a regular basis, relationships can deteriorate. Not only does this impact the health of the couple but it can also impact the health and well being of the people in it.
Couples psychotherapy is an in-depth treatment for couples who are experiencing difficulties. It offers couples an opportunity to assess the sources of their problems, examine what interferes with their ability to work together more effectively, as well as develop approaches to be stronger and closer.
Couple psychotherapy aims to understand what lies behind current difficulties, paying attention to present factors and influences from the past, in order to bring about change. Most people decide on couples psychotherapy to build a stronger relationship, some to assess if they can remain together, and some to break up amicably and continue working together on behalf of their children, their business and so forth.
What to Expect
Every couple will have an initial consultation. This consists of usually one to two meetings, each lasting forty-five minutes each. During these meetings you will discuss your difficulties and provide background information regarding various aspects of your lives and health. After the initial consultation, you will focus on the work of assessing patterns that contribute to your difficulties and learn tools. Some couples are helped sufficiently by a few consultations but some will need further treatment.
Couples psychotherapy is not covered by most insurance companies. However, it is a good idea to call your insurance company and check. Sometimes your employer’s EAP program might cover a few sessions. The majority of couple’s do pay out of pocket.
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.