Mona Maaty M.D.
My first priority is to establish a collaborative relationship with you that is built upon safety and trust. In fact, the strength of the patient-therapist relationship is the most significant predictor of treatment outcome. This is best summarized by therapist Dr. Allan Schore, "A patient’s emotional growth depends on the therapist’s ability to move, and to be moved by, those that come to him for help.”
In the past, mental health professionals had the belief that therapy and medication work differently - that medication works on the brain and therapy works on the mind. Fortunately, given advances in brain imaging, we now know better! Medication and therapy are both biological treatments that work synergistically to restore balance to the brain; medication via chemical changes and therapy via increased neural connectivity. This rewiring of the brain occurs because therapy provides a new learning experience through which we can explore the meanings attached to past experiences and how those meanings influence your perception of the present.
This combined approach is not only more effective, but it is also my preference. We will explore your childhood in order to establish links between your early life experiences and current dysfunctional beliefs (i.e. "I'm not lovable", "In general, you can't trust other people", "Others won't be there when I need comfort and support"). For more information, see Why taking an early childhood history matters? Finally, we will work towards incorporating more effective ways of having your emotional needs met.
I am a board-certified adult psychiatrist and completed residency in 2015 from Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center in NYC. In addition to a strong foundation in psychopharmacology, my training program emphasized the importance of psychotherapy as a treatment modality. For two years, I received weekly supervision in cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy. Following residency, I worked at the VA hospital and then with a non-profit organization in NYC. During the summer of 2018, I began developing my private practice which opened in November 2018.
In 2020-21, I completed training with the International Society of Schema Therapy and am working towards certification. Schema therapy is an integrative and evidence-based treatment that includes elements of cognitive-behavioral, emotion-focused, attachment and psychodynamic models. The word Schema comes from the Latin word Schemata which means theme or script and certain schemas develops when specific core childhood emotional needs are not met. These core childhood emotional needs include safety, stability, love/nurturing & attention, empathy and validation of feelings and needs, autonomy, realistic limits, acceptance & praise, and playfulness. Together, we will identify the scripts that developed as a result of your unmet childhood needs, understand which scripts are currently interfering with your life, and help you heal those emotional wounds. For example, if your caregiver was abusive/neglecting, you may have internalized a defectiveness schema (among others) and believe that you are inherently flawed, "defective", and "not good enough." One way to avoid the emotional pain of this defectiveness script might be to overcompensate in your professional life by needing to be "number one" and "perfect."
Additionally, I have had training in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy; Exposure and Response Prevention (EXRP) for the treatment of OCD at UPenn; neuroscience-based interventions for anxiety and depression; and have completed an intensive trauma certification course.
For 2022, I plan to expand services to include a group therapy program. I had the opportunity to co-lead a group during training and discovered that group therapy is an important way to ease a person’s sense of isolation and reduce the shame in thinking “I’m the only one.” I also plan to develop educational workshops by working with colleagues in different sub-specialties. Inevitably, there will be clients whose needs I will not be able to meet and, in those instances, I can offer a referral to one of the providers within my collaborative network.
I hope that this has provided you with some information regarding my training and future plans. I am happy to answer any other questions you may have so that you can choose the right treatment setting for you.
Christopher Montes M.D.
I am a board-certified general psychiatrist who has been practicing psychiatry over the last 8 years. I graduated from New Jersey Medical School in Newark and had also attended their residency program. During my time in residency, I provided excellent psychiatric care to patients from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. The training I received prepared me well for various clinical settings in psychiatry. I am well experienced in outpatient psychiatric services, as well as acute inpatient and consult care. I have also had the privilege of treating our veterans at different Veterans Affairs sites throughout the country. I have completed training for electro-convulsive therapy(ECT) and am also experienced with substance abuse treatment. Most recently, I worked as an inpatient psychiatrist at Overlook Hospital in Summit NJ. Prior to that, I had been an inpatient attending at East Orange Veterans Affairs where I was supervising and teaching both residents and medical students.
I have a strong foundation in psychopharmacology, but I also find great benefit to psychotherapy modalities such as cognitive behavioral therapy. My experience with ECT also provides me with a solid background regarding the benefits of neurostimulation therapies for severe psychiatric ailments. I have treated many acute psychiatric conditions during my career, but my area of interests generally lie towards mood, anxiety and psychotic disorders.
My approach to treatment is multi-modal in the sense that patients are approached from a bio-psycho-social perspective. In this approach, medications, psychotherapies and lifestyle changes can have equally important roles. Treatment planning is collaborative, and I take great effort to answer any questions that a patient might have towards their treatment. I hope this gives you some insight in my approach to psychiatric treatment and I welcome any further questions you might have if you are considering me for your care.