Clinical psychologist hoping to form partnerships to help less fortunate access care
by Kirby Jackson
Those who are in grave need of counselling and psychological guidance as they navigate life and mental health challenges are often hamstrung financially and unable to easily access the help they need.
This is the troubling reality that engages the thoughts of clinical psychologist, Dr Alisa Alvis.
Dr Alvis was speaking to SEARCHLIGHT about the new thrust of her Arnos Vale based psychology practice ‘Alvis and Associates’, which she expects will rise to another dimension as she formally resettles in St Vincent and the Grenadines, giving back in a more comprehensive manner to the psychological wellness of persons in her homeland.
The mental health expert said it troubles her that inadequate finances sometimes prevent potential clients from seeking out her services. She is therefore hoping to form partnerships, where financial aid can be made available to those in need of help because often “there is an intersection between the most pressing and urgent need and not having finance (to pay for treatment).”
“I do try to retain a certain proportion of low-bono and pro-bono slots in my practice,” she said, as she lamented that this limitation experienced by the less fortunate in society is the only regret she has about not being “nested in” the public service, where some aspects of psychological assistance is part of the health care system.
The former National Scholar is however grateful that her years of intense study did not come at a huge cost to her, therefore not leaving her saddled with a huge debt. This enables her to make adjustments at times to serve her clients even when she isn’t fully financially compensated.
The clinical psychologist, ironically expressed some level of gratefulness to the COVID- 19 pandemic because she believes it brought a greater, much needed sensitivity to societies like St Vincent and Grenadines about the importance of mental health care.
As people grappled with the economic, health and general challenges that the pandemic brought to the fore, she believes some of the stigma that was associated with seeking mental health care has started to be eroded.
There is a long way to go however.
“There is still this idea that it is for mad people…you are defective in some way.”
The Syracuse University Graduate, who still holds a professorship at the St Georges University in Grenada, albeit, mainly operating remotely, told SEARCHLIGHT that one of her passions is to form mental wellness partnerships with persons in various sectors of society.
She plans to engage religious leaders as she acknowledged that often times, they are the ones who are first exposed to the various mental challenges persons face as they navigate divorces, marriages, parenting, illnesses and other issues that can put a strain on mental wellness.
Alvis said that while she would be honest and acknowledge that there would be differences in beliefs and approaches taken by her and religious leaders, it is possible to work together for the greater good of the Vincentian society once tolerance is exhibited.
While she grew up with faith based influence, she herself does not practice any faith but has a healthy respect for the role faith and prayer play in the Vincentian society.
“What I am ultimately interested in is human potential and the way we can work together to make each other’s lives better.”
Dr Alvis may be reached at [email protected], or via phone or WhatsApp Chat on the practice number which is +1(784)-434-2050.