“…a personality can never be isolated from the complex of interpersonal relations in which the person lives and has his [or her] being.”   (Harry Stack Sullivan, 1940)

Our Practice

In our practice, we strive to enhance your understanding of your strengths as well as the areas in which you would like to grow. Medication, in some cases, may augment this process. Other tools (e.g., talk therapy and certain behavioral changes) are, generally, an integral part of this treatment.

We begin our work together by delineating your goals, which are specific to your individual needs, wants, beliefs, and core values. After understanding better your goals, we will work together to design a strategy to achieve them. For example, you might decide to change a toxic environment or relationship, adjust your daily activities, diet, exercise, or reconsider your lifestyle. Or, you might be in the process of grieving a loss (or losses) in your life, and needing a professional with whom to share these feelings in order to begin healing; and/or bumping up against life-long issues that have interfered with your professional or personal relationship goals.

To enhance your self-understanding, we encourage you to share with us the important areas of your life that are negatively impacting you in the present, as well as their historical roots, insofar as you understand them at this point. You may, or may not, include others (e.g., friends or family) in your treatment. Your participation is paramount, and the end result will be come from our joint efforts.

We continually strive to stay abreast of the most recent treatments for emotional difficulties and the promotion of individual and interpersonal growth.

Comments patients have shared following their work in psychodynamic therapy:

  • “I became better at trusting my feelings and letting the important people in my life know what I was feeling and what I needed in our relationship.”
  • “I developed the ability to set better limits and boundaries with others so that I no longer set myself up to be taken advantage of.”
  • “I now know how to take better care of myself emotionally.”
  • “My relationships have improved enormously.”
  • “I learned to trust my feelings and live with less guilt.”
  • “I learned to say what I feel and let others know what I want and need in my relationship with them.”
  • “I moved up the ladder at work once I recognized how I was sabotaging my success.”

Comments from Dr Patterson...

After a painful childhood, due largely to the relationship with my mother, I decided at the age of 13 to become a psychiatrist. At that time, I began reading everything in the library I could find about mental illness and its treatment.

I began my formal education in psychology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University where I first earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and later, a master’s degree. Although I had hoped to enter medical school right after receiving my master’s degree, the U.S. Navy had other plans for me, postponing the completion of this degree. Immediately after serving as a Naval officer on a ship for three years, however, I began medical school at the Medical College of Georgia. It was during my tenure in medical school that I ultimately completed my master’s thesis and was awarded a M.A. degree in psychology.

I practiced medicine as a general practitioner for five years before returning to Vanderbilt University, where I continued my life-long desire to become a psychiatrist. I chose Vanderbilt for my residency in psychiatry because of its focus on the individual and helping him or her to find better tools to enrich his/her current life, especially in the areas of love and work.

So many of us acquired behaviors and skills that enabled us to cope with and survive, psychologically, a difficult childhood. Indeed, these learned ways of being with others during childhood may have helped us maintain our sanity. However, as adults, we often find that these same behaviors get in our way of our success in relationships and work. They often have left us with a "shell" of dysfunctional behaviors that are now cumbersome in pursuit of our goals.

In psychodynamic psychotherapy, I believe the relationship between the patient and the therapist is the most important single factor as the two work together to better understand how the patients’ past is negatively impacting his or her present life, and how to develop more fully the patient’s true self, in order to achieve his or her life’s adult goals.

Comments from Dr Brower...

As far back as I can remember, I have been interested in mental health, although as a child, I am sure I did not know to call it that. But, certainly, a painful childhood set in motion my quest for understanding better the human condition, and our relationships with one another, especially those closest to us.

The path to my becoming a psychologist, however, was not a straight one. There were a few detours and sojourns along the way. At the age of 20, I became a registered nurse. I value my nursing heritage. From this profession, I learned a great deal about the importance of being emotionally available to patients, and about the multiple layers of our communication with one another. In fact, the dean of my nursing school, who also had a degree in psychology, always encouraged us students to be curious about what our patients might be telling us, and what we might be communicating to them, in less than obvious ways. Given that a better understanding of our thoughts, feelings, motivations, and interpersonal relationships (both conscious and unconscious) is a primary goal of any psychodynamic psychotherapy, I think that this was a good starting place for me in the journey that ultimately led to my becoming a psychologist.

Shortly after graduating from nursing school, I worked at the University of Georgia Health Services. While there, I enrolled in the first college-health nurse practitioner program in the state of Georgia. The purpose of this program was to teach RNs’ how to diagnose and treat certain physical illnesses under the guidance of staff physicians. Additionally, each of us in this program chose an area of study that we wanted to learn about in greater depth. My area of emphasis was in mental health and psychotherapy, with training available in their mental health service division.

During this program of study, my kindling interest in mental health was ignited. So, the following year, I entered Emory University, where I earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology, and philosophy. For the next several years, I practiced as nurse practicum/psychotherapist in the office with Scott Patterson, MD.

Ultimately, I returned to graduate school to earn my Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology, and have practiced as a licensed psychologist since.