Sofia Crowe is an ACT Level II licensed clinical social worker offering behavioral health services to children and adults in Arizona, Virginia, and West Virginia. She offers a vast array of clinical services; however, her expertise lies in mood disorders, ADHD, parenting issues, family therapy, child and adolescent therapy, and substance use issues of all types.
Sofia has always had an interest in behavioral health care due to her family having many issues with mood disorders and substance use. During her teen years, she learned how valuable treatment can be when her family sought help. As a social worker for 20 years, she has been trained in many modalities, but her primary focus is to figure out how her training and skills suit her clients. Sofia wants to feel that her clients have the skills to have a life that feels meaningful and worth living.
Sofia is originally from Australia! Her parents were geneticists who travelled the world with their family. She has been doing yoga since she was 18 and is currently getting certified as a coach so she can offer free classes to Senior Living Facilities.
“There is a candle in your heart, ready to be kindled. There is a void in your soul, ready to be filled.
You feel it, don’t you?” – Mawlana Jalal-al-Din Rumi
Renata Jamison is a licensed clinical social worker offering services to adolescents and adults throughout Virginia. She has a vast array of clinical interests; however, her specialties include family therapy, marital counseling, trauma and PTSD, and mood disorders.
Renata began her career in the education field. As an educator, she saw a gap in therapy services and she felt that the mental health component was the missing piece, so she chose to pursue education in the behavioral health field to fill that gap. She believes that individuals possess the agency of their decisions and therefore, her philosophy of care is a very person-centered treatment.
She is the proud mother of five African American boys and her passions include dancing and motorcycles.
“She believes she could, so she did.” – Unknown
Cheryl Zupancic is a nurse practitioner offering services to adolescents and adults in Maryland and Virginia. She has a vast array of clinical interests; however, she specializes in ADHD, anxiety disorders, and depression.
Cheryl became interested in behavioral health care in the early 2000’s when she worked as a clinician in a variety of settings – trauma, burn intensive care and surgical intensive care. She was usually routed to patients with significant mental illness as a causative factor of their medical illness. Also, during this time, her mother was known as the “Warrior Nurse” for her advocacy to fight to save DC General Hospital. She passed in 2014, but Cheryl was proud to follow in her mother’s footsteps by becoming a nurse.
Cheryl believes in the treatment of an individual as a whole and that often medical co-morbidities are harsh life circumstances are the root cause of mental health maladies. Effective treatment includes medication management alongside therapeutic care, but also acknowledgement and modification of troubling life circumstances that impair mental health.
As a mental and physical health advocate, her favorite quote is a simple phrase “never give up”. Cheryl believes that mental health is achievable by all, regardless of circumstances and even the most so-called hopeless of cases can result in well mental health and recovery. So, one should never give up.
Fun fact: Cheryl has two master’s degrees, the first of which was earned in Communication and Culture with a focus on Health Communications. It has been essential to her to understand human health behavior as we have navigated through the turbulence of the global pandemic.
Vlatka Plymale is a board-certified psychiatrist offering services to adults in Tennessee and Virginia. She has a vast array of clinical interests; however, her specializations are PTSD, depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder and addiction.
During her tenure as a primary care physician, Dr. Plymale noted significant behavioral health issues in her patient population and felt that she did not have the right tools to serve her patients. This is what sparked her interest in moving her medical career into behavioral health care.
When deciding between MD and DO training, she took the time to learn about both options and chose DO due to its holistic 360-degree approach to the patient. She believes that treating a patient as a whole being is how one should approach medicine.
Dr. Plymale is a 10-year survivor of a civil war in Yugoslavia and served in the US Army for 10 years. Prior to entering medical school at age 34, she was a professional classically trained flute performer.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles R. SwindollDr. Shane Rau offers behavioral health care services to adults in North Carolina, New Jersey, Tennessee and Virginia. He has many clinical interests and his expertise lies in mood disorders, anxiety disorders, panic disorder, trauma & PTSD and psychosis. Dr. Rau’s interest in mental health arose at the intersection of his interests in the study of the brain and mind with a hope to make a difference in people’s lives. Dr. Rau’s prefers to take a shared decision-making approach to understand his patient’s perspective to ultimately empower his patient to improve their mental health. Dr. Rau is a huge movie buff with a special interest in science fiction and historical drama. He also loves nature and enjoys the time that he can spend outdoors. “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha
Mariam Kashani is a licensed nurse practitioner offering services to adults in Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. She has been a nurse practitioner since 2001 and is board-certified in both adult primary care and psychiatry. She has a variety of interests; however, she specializes in depression, anxiety, mood disorders and bipolar disorder. Mariam completed a doctoral degree in Advanced Nursing Practice in 2013 from John Hopkins University.
Soon after Mariam began practicing in primary care, it became clear to her that the mind and body are not separate entities, but parts of the whole person. In her practice, Mariam utilizes a person-centered approach in order to treat the whole body to achieve mental health balance. Mariam’s philosophy is that mental health is at the core of overall wellness and each person can benefit from a customized treatment plan to empower their health. She also believes that every individual possesses the intrinsic ability to heal and lead a happy and fulfilling life.
“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.” – Rumi
Dr. Nicole Christian-Brathwaite is a board-certified psychiatrist offering services to children, adolescents and adults in Illinois, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Utah and Virginia. She has a variety of clinical interests; however, she specializes in mood disorders, child and adolescent psychiatry, trauma and racial trauma. Her philosophy of care is patient-centered and strength-based.
Dr. Christian-Brathwaite became interested in mental and behavioral health care after working as an elementary school teacher. She realized that the children who were having the most difficulty were those with a history of trauma or mental health concerns.
Dr. Christian-Brathwaite is originally from Philadelphia and will always be an Eagles and Sixers fan. Her favorite singer is Whitney Houston.
“Statistics don’t lie, statisticians do.”
Andrea Davis is a licensed clinical social worker offering services to children, adolescents and adults in Virginia. She has a variety of clinical interests; however, she specializes in mood disorders, parenting, marriage and relationship counseling, anxiety disorders and family therapy. In her practice, Andrea’s philosophy of care is centered around the belief that we are all in it together. She believes that we all have our struggles and sometimes it takes someone outside of the situation to help with gaining non-judgmental perspectives. Andrea sees her role as a mental health professional, as being like a chameleon of sorts where her approach changes to blend and partner with those she’s working with in order for successful outcomes. Together, she and her patients learn through trial and error until they resolve all issues.
Andrea’s interest in mental and behavioral healthcare began when she interviewed her school counselor for career day in 7th grade. As she developed as a professional, she realized that she was a stable presence for those in crisis and those dealing with more complex problems like chronic mental illness and severe mood and anxiety disorders. Through working with youth and families, she grew a passion for taking problems that seem complicated and breaking down solutions with manageable, bite sized steps toward healthy living.
Andrea enjoys animals and learning facts about animals with her kids; they visit zoos and animal exhibits often. When Andrea feels overwhelmed, she enjoys organizing and cleaning. A goal of hers is to visit all US territories and states, so far, she’s been to all states between Texas and Maine and several islands in the Caribbean.
“The mark of a wild heart is living out the paradox of love in our lives. It’s the ability to be tough and tender, excited and scared, brave and afraid-all in the same moment. It’s showing up in our vulnerability and our courage, being both fierce and kind.” – Brene Brown
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”- Princess Diana
Rhonda Schwindt is a psychiatric nurse practitioner offering services to adult residents in Virginia and New Jersey. She has a variety of clinical interests; however, she specializes in the treatment of mood, anxiety, thought and substance use disorders as well as post-traumatic stress. She also has extensive experience assisting people who are ready to quit smoking. While she enjoys working with all patient populations, she has a special interest in serving the LGBTQ community. Rhonda’s philosophy of care is deeply grounded in two fundamental principles. First, each person has the capacity for healing and possesses a unique set of strengths. Second, mental health care is not about a specific disease state or a list of criteria found inside a diagnostic manual. Rather, it is about soliciting each person’s life story and creating a collaborative plan that respects their individuality.
In addition to maintaining an active clinical practice, Rhonda is an associate professor at The George Washington University School of Nursing and Director of the Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program. She has extensive experience in graduate education and has an established program of research focused on reducing the disproportionate impact of substance use disorders among those living with mental illness.
Rhonda is also a martial artist and an avid runner.
Nena Forshee is a licensed clinical social worker offering services to child, adolescent and adult residents in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. She specializes in anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and adolescent and early adulthood therapy. Nena’s philosophy of care is centered around the belief that the most important part of providing care is understanding where patients are in their mental health journey and meeting them at that point. She enjoys taking a collaborative approach with clients to determine how they will work together in meeting their set goals.
Nena’s interest in mental and behavioral healthcare stems from her innate passion for helping others. She took a strong interest in mental health in high school which continued into college. She began working with children and adolescents in a residential program, where she became increasingly interested in diagnostic evaluations and different treatment models for therapy. Nena then went on to pursue her master’s in social work.
Last year Nena explored Europe visiting Ireland, France and England. She is extremely family oriented and her favorite place to be is on the beach listening to the ocean.
“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places…” – Ernest Hemingway