Meet Laurie

Laurie Arena, PMHNP

Co-founder, A Path to Wellness Integrative Psychiatry

Mind-Body & Spirit Guide

Laurie Arena

Credentials

Master’s of Nursing, Boston College

Psychopharmacology Fellowship through Cambridge Health Alliance

Master of Social Work (MSW) from Boston University in 2006 

Bachelor’s Degree, Music and Psychology, Queens University of Charlotte

Yoga Teacher Training, 200-hour

My approach to supporting people with their mental health needs is holistic and comprehensive. I specialize in Psychopharmacology and Lifestyle or Holistic Psychiatry. I also offer Mindfulness/Meditation techniques, Yoga for Mental Health, Psychoeducation, and Psychotherapy—with a focus on coping skills, self-compassion, and assertive communication and boundaries. My work in trauma-informed, LGBTQIA-allied, and prioritizes inclusion and social justice.  

I have experience in working with various mental health issues, including Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder), PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), Women’s Prenatal and Post-Partum Mental Health, Psychotic disorders (Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective disorders) with the use of Long-Acting Injection (LAI) antipsychotic medications, and Substance use disorders/Addiction treatment (including MAT-Medication Assisted Therapy with Suboxone or Naltrexone/Vivitrol).

My philosophy with psychiatric medications is to work with you to find the most effective medications, with the fewest risks or adverse effects. While for some people, numerous psychiatric medications may be necessary, with distinct mechanisms of actions, I work to avoid or reduce polypharmacy. 

As a disclaimer, I prescribe controlled-substances sparingly and only for FDA-approved indications. Additionally, many supplements and herbal remedies have an evidence-base for psychiatric conditions, and while I can discuss such research and options with you, I do not formally prescribe supplements (although most do not require a prescription). 

Therapeutic approaches will be woven into your medication management sessions as needed. Therapeutic influences of my work include Irvin Yalom and Existential Psychotherapy, Marsha Linehan and DBT (Dialectic Behavior Therapy), Internal Family Systems (Richard Schwartz), Terry Real and Relational Life Therapy, The Gottman Approach, Solution-Focused Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Person-Centered, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Narrative Therapy, Mindfulness and Meditation/Buddhist-based Psychology (Tara Brach), Motivational Interviewing, and Psychodynamic.

Professional Training

Laurie L. Arena, MSW, PMHNP is the co-founder of A Path to Wellness. She has been a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner since 2010. She earned her Master’s of Nursing degree from Boston College and then went on to complete a Psychopharmacology Fellowship through Cambridge Health Alliance in 2011. Prior to this, she obtained a Master of Social Work (MSW) from Boston University in 2006 with a concentration in Group Work. Her training as a social worker paved a foundation of therapy skills and was also rooted in the social work tradition of advocating for human rights. Her undergraduate degree is from Queens University of Charlotte as a double major in Music and Psychology. Laurie has also completed a 200-hour level Yoga Teacher Training through Seaside Yoga in Wilmington, NC in 2009.

Laurie has worked in various mental health settings including Inpatient Psychiatric Units, Outpatient Treatment, Detox/Substance Abuse Treatment, Addiction Services, Crisis Stabilization Unit, Psychiatric Emergency Room, Assisted Living Facilities, and Middle and High School school-based therapy programs. In addition to her work with A Path to Wellness, Laurie continues to work with an ACT (Assertive Community Treatment) Team, which entails working with clients with severe and persistent mental illness (primarily psychotic disorders) in the community and utilizes an interdisciplinary, person-centered, and empowerment model.

Personally, Laurie is anchored by her family, yoga, meditation, a vegan diet, nature, and music. She has learned through her travels to appreciate the importance of connecting to each moment, grounded by the ebb and flow of each breath, and to stay connected to one’s heart, emotions, values, and body while facing and interacting with the world. She believes there is intrinsic value and healing potential in all human beings and that science, medical advances, art, therapy, spirituality, and healing traditions can all combine to offer a reprieve from suffering and to support us in living our most meaningful, vibrant, and empowered lives.

Interventions

Lifestyle interventions include education around nutrition, exercise, sleep hygiene, meditation, mindfulness, and yoga. 

I prescribe psychiatric medications, insofar as they are indicated, and can provide additional education about lifestyle, nutrition, behavior modification, and wellness promotion that can help you find relief and work toward your goals..  

Lastly, I will collaborate with your primary care provider, therapist, additional medical providers, or other important figures in your life as well as refer you to additional treatment that may be beneficial. 

Psychiatric medications can be an important and necessary intervention, even life-saving, but they are best utilized within a comprehensive treatment plan and in conjunction with lifestyle interventions. I offer a supportive and therapeutic environment where it is safe to be open and honest, but also safe to be constructively challenged. Although suffering is a universal part of our human experience, it can also be transformed into growth and change. None of us have completed our journey of personal and interpersonal growth, meaning, and expression. It is my honor to step into a therapeutic space to witness and encourage others on their path of healing, growth, and wellness.  

© A Path To Wellness 2021

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