Acacia Spotlight looks to highlight the clinicians, staff, and programs that make Acacia what it is today. October’s clinician is Erica Castro, PMHNP-BC.
Erica Castro joined the Acacia Davis office just this summer and has been a wonderful addition to the Acacia team and the Davis community. Along with our individual therapy model, we’ve been searching for clinicians that can offer medication management services, a service our communities have been looking for! Erica, along with other Psychiatrists and Nurse Practitioners are adding to our wellness practices and bringing some additional sunshine to the offices – I mean, look at this pure sunshine:
What do you enjoy most about being a Nurse Practitioner?
Erica: I love being in a profession where I practice both art and science using both heart and mind. I am constantly challenged by the complexity of applying the constantly evolving field of pharmacology to real life and empowering patients to utilize medication as a tool in their healing process. I feel privileged that my profession allows me to hear people’s stories, witness their resilience and growth and be entrusted with the care of my clients’ minds, bodies and hearts.
What got you into this particular field?
Erica: I had several family members growing up who struggled with mental illness and I witnessed how a combination of effective treatment and a supportive community can be transformative and I always knew that I wanted to be in a helping profession. I studied psychology in college and thought that I would become a psychologist but after several years of working in a residential facility, I realized that the nurse practitioner role would give me the most flexibility in that it would allow me to both prescribe medication and provide psychotherapy.
Seeking mental health treatment for the first time can be scary when you don’t know what to expect, but there is nothing to lose by having a conversation with a clinician how therapy and/or medication may be helpful in your particular situation.
There is still a stigma around therapy and there is definitely still a stigma around taking medication, can you speak to how you may approach this if it were to come up (in and out of sessions)?
Erica: I usually try to educate clients about how our Mental health concerns are so complex because they can be affected by our thoughts, environment and life experiences but they are ultimately brain disorders. I usually find that when clients understand that some people are more genetically prone to experiencing things like depression, anxiety and addiction and how research shows that medications can be a very helpful support in a comprehensive treatment plan involving therapy, social support, and self-care they are more open to considering medication.
If you could share one piece of advice for students looking to start therapy or medication management, what would it be?
Erica: Seeking mental health treatment for the first time can be scary when you don’t know what to expect, but there is nothing to lose by having a conversation with a clinician how therapy and/or medication may be helpful in your particular situation.
And just for fun, if you could switch places with anybody for a week, who would it be and why?
Erica: I would totally trade places with any National Geographic photographer. Especially one who travels to the remote and untouched corners of the globe that most people never get to see!
Erica Castro has a lot of wonderful wisdom to pass down and has been such a wonderful impact on our Davis community. Erica and Bishop, the therapy pup in training, have a couple things in common: they are both amazing additions to Acacia and both want to explore the world!
Stay tuned for more Acacia Clinician Spotlights! And check out Erica’s bio on the Davis page!
Authored (a lot) by Erica Castro and (a little) by KorbyQuan Reed.