Brooklyn, NY – Psychiatry, like most forms of conventional medicine, is often focused on the treatment of symptoms and disease. In contrast, nursing has traditionally been oriented towards healing the whole person. Indeed, nursing was the original healing profession.
Rhoda Berger is a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and the founder of Integrative Psych NP. As an integrative practitioner, Rhoda’s approach to healing begins by getting to know her clients as complex individuals with an innate ability to heal. This holistic approach requires an understanding of the relationship between the physical, cognitive and emotional aspects of the person.
“Medical professionals, including psychiatrists, tend to take a mechanistic approach to healing people: this is what I’m treating and nothing else,” says Berger. “I really believe when nurses meet people, we meet them in a different way than doctors. I’m not only addressing the specific thing they came for. I’m seeing the whole person.”
Berger says that when she evaluates her clients’ mental health issues, she’s not only evaluating on the basis of how, for example, their depression may be affected by neurotransmitters, but also how they’re living their lives, what they do for fun, how they sleep, what their relationships are like, what their belief system is. Sometimes changing their diet or learning how to use their breath for healing can accelerate the process.
“I feel nourished by being present for other people so I’m proud when I see them blossoming. I find it enlivening,” says Berger. “Everyone is born wanting to seek happiness, to become the version of you that you were meant to be. We have to integrate our adaptive selves with our authentic selves. It is a process of remembering who we are.”