Consultee Contact

Midwest Psychiatric Center, Inc. is a private psychiatric practice owned by my colleague, Dr. Rakesh Kaneria.  I provide therapy to adults and a small number of children/adolescents at this location.  We can accept most commercial insurances, as well as Caresource (of Ohio Medicaid) and Medicare.  Adult clients who work with me at MPC also have the option to see Dr. Kaneria for evaluation and medication management if desired or needed.  Child psychiatric evaluation and medication management are not available with MPC.    We are located in West Chester, OH near the UC West Chester Hospital, just off I-75, between Liberty Way. and Tylersville Rd.

Call us:

Send a message: Contact Us

Book Review: Something Beautiful

9 months ago · · 0 comments

Book Review: Something Beautiful

“Something Beautiful” by Sharon Dennis Wyeth, illustrated by Chris K. Soentpiet is a poignant picture book that I was first introduced to years ago.  I was working as a clinical intern at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute in Washington DC, and one of the staff members shared it with me.  I have used the book in my practice with adults and children ever since, as it tells a story of resilience, mindfulness, and gratitude.

The story is of a little girl growing up in a neighborhood where she sees a lot of things that are not so lovely: brick walls, broken glass, litter, graffiti, homelessness, and dangerous dark alleys.  Then at school she learns to spell the word, “beautiful” and subsequently goes on a scavenger hunt through her little world, asking people to help her find “a something beautiful.”  Various people share examples of ways they recognize beauty in their daily lives, and our little protagonist discovers ways to find beauty and create positive change.  She even makes discoveries about her own beauty.

Illustrations by Chris K. Sointpiet

Themes of connection, friendship, hope, and resilience permeate this story, which both acknowledges the presence of ugliness in our world but celebrates the enduring beauty that can be found despite i

Illustrations by Chris K. Sointpiet

At a time when we are seeing a lot of fear, hatred, anger, violence, intolerance, disease, and death, I find this inspiring children’s book especially meaningful.  It offers a reminder to readers, both young and old, that beauty in not lost in times of hardship.  Going further, we are invited to participate in healing, positive change, and connection.

When I share this story with my clients, I typically encourage them to spend some time looking for the beautiful things in their world.   Sometimes the answers are obvious, but other times we have to look really hard.  However bleak it may seem, glimmers or hope and hidden treasures can still be found.  It’s an exercise in mindful awareness and gratitude.

Making my own way through a very challenging time, I find myself searching for “a something beautiful” and feeling encouraged when I discover them.  Below are a few examples of beautiful things that have been uplifting to me in recent weeks.


I give this book an A+.

What I love about “Something Beautiful” is that it is not a fluffy, saccharine story that tells children (and adults) that the world is all bubbles and sunshine.  It acknowledges that there is ugliness in this world.  It validates that life is hard and downright scary sometimes, but Wyeth and Sointpiet help us to remember that all is not lost, even in the darkest times.  There is a great deal of beauty to be found, and I believe when we find beauty we can help it grow, as the little girl in the story does.

Soentpiet’s illustrations are very artfully done, depicting the realities of our world, celebrating diversity, and highlighting the human spirit.   Wyeth’s simple and direct story telling inspires, brings a smile, and encourages gratitude.

The book itself is “something beautiful.”

Wyeth, S. D. (2002). Something Beautiful. New York: Random House USA Inc.

Book Review: Girl, Wash Your Face

2 years ago · · 0 comments

Book Review: Girl, Wash Your Face

I was really looking forward to reading this book, as I had heard wonderful things about Rachel Hollis.  I was introduced to Hollis’ work through a good friend who invited me to see the Hollis’ film, “Made for More.”  I had mixed reactions to the film, but I enjoyed her energy and positive attitude.  There was a lot of hype leading up to the release of this book, and I have to say, the title totally got me!  I love the message it sends about allowing yourself to feel – even if it means the “ugly cry” that makes mascara run – but then washing your face (literally or metaphorically) and taking care of your business.  It suggests a healthy balance of emotional authenticity and practical perseverance.

The book was definitely well marketed, as there was quite a buzz before the book was even released.  It was all over social media, and people were talking it up right and left!  Not surprisingly, Rachel Hollis is a blogger and knows a ton about publicizing and internet marking.  Many of my friends and clients were also anxiously anticipating the book, having heard all the excitement.  The trendy cover and catchy title definitely got a lot of attention before the book was even available.  However in general, I felt let down once I actually got my copy.

The book’s structure is pretty straightforward, and one that kept me reading.  Essentially, each chapter presents a lie Hollis’ debunks.  For example Chapter 1 is entitled “Something Else will Make me Happy.”  As a therapist, I find this reminiscent of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in that the goal is to root out unhelpful thinking habits (cognitive distortions) that keep us unhappy and unfulfilled.  While Hollis attempts to share lessons she has learned in her thirty-some years of life experience, she never boasts to be an expert in self improvement, psychotherapist, or guru.  Personally I respond to that transparency in two ways: 1. Good for you, Rachel, for being honest and humble, and for bravely sharing your story.  2.  While personal experience can produce a wealth of wisdom, most people are more apt to rely on the work of qualified professionals and researchers.

All that being said, I really enjoyed the simple and conversational writing style.  Hollis writes with just as much energy as she speaks!  The light, “girl-talk” style made this an easy read, though there were moments in which the tone became a little preachy, though Hollis’ openly acknowledges the influence of her upbringing having a Pentecostal Preacher father.  At times witty, at times brutally honest, Hollis tackles some of life most difficult challenges in a very accessible way.

Despite her quippy style and clever sayings, I was disappointed in the book’s content.  I found the book hard to relate to.  Many of the examples Hollis shares from her personal life are just hard for me to connect with.  I personally cannot relate to dieting so I can fit into a gown to wear on the red carpet with my husband, nor does saving up for a designer handbag motivate me.  I am not a party planner for the stars, and I don’t hob nob with celebrities.  Translating some of Hollis’ examples to my lifestyle was essential for me to personally find meaning in much of this book.  Along the same lines as relatability, “Girl, Wash Your Face” seems to be geared toward a very specific audience: wealthy, heterosexual, Christian women who are wives and mothers.  If that description doesn’t fit you, there will likely be chapters or portions of this book that you struggle with.  I did.

Standing alone, each chapter has the potential to be inspiring and helpful, however the book in its entirety is contradictory at times.  For example, in chapter one, Hollis talks about the value to gratitude and finding contentment in life, not always looking to the next  goal as the source of happiness.  “When I finally achieve _______, then I’ll be happy” is no way to live life.  However, in chapter two, Hollis advocates for such a strong sense of drive and focus on a goal and not putting off working on your goal or looking to the future.  There are moments where she supports healthy self-care habits and pacing oneself, however seemingly in the next breath she endorses sacrificing healthy sleep in order to achieve.  She cautions about using alcohol as a coping strategy but then later identifies wine as a form of self-care.  Certainly any of these tidbits of advice in and of itself could be argued as helpful (e.g. someone who doesn’t struggle with alcoholism might celebrate with a glass of wine after achieving a goal, and that’s not necessarily unhealthy), but her messages overall are a little contrary and could be confusing to someone  in search of solutions.

One thing I always look for in any self-help book is how the author addresses counseling, and as much as I was disappointed in the book in general, Rachel Hollis did not let me down here!  She shares a little about her own experience with personal growth, healing, and trauma recovery.  She does not shy away from acknowledging the role mental health care has played in her story, nor does she deter her readers from seeking help.  Therapy can help with a lot of the lies she challenges in her book, and I applaud her for encouraging others to consider working on areas in which they feel stuck with a trained professional.

I give this book a C+.

This book is not without value, but it wouldn’t be my first recommendation.  Overall I found it a little superficial and contrary, though well intended.  A savvy reader with a critical mind can certainly glean some benefit from this read, but it is far from the groundbreaking book I hoped it would be.  My response?  Girl, go to therapy! 😉

Hollis, R. (2019). Girl, wash your face: Stop believing the lies about who you are so you can become who you were meant to be. Nashville, TN: Nelson Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson.


Book Review: The 36 Hour Day

2 years ago · · 0 comments

Book Review: The 36 Hour Day

You know how they say children don’t come with an instruction manual?  The same this is true for diagnosis of Alzheimers or Dementia.  However, this book comes pretty close!

With the Baby Boomer generation officially entering the Senior Citizen category, many in younger generations are finding themselves navigating the murky waters of caregiving.  Understanding a diagnosis and disease progress is the first step, but the very nature of Alzheimer’s and Dementia is progressive, meaning caregivers are constantly in a state of monitoring and adjusting as changes occur.  “The 36 Hour Day” has been called by many “The Caregiver’s Bible” as it goes beyond understanding the disease and its progression and treatment.  It explores the impact the disease has on the family unit, strategies for caregiver respite and support, making difficult decisions (e.g. when Mom or Dad should no longer be driving), treatment options, and caregiver self-care

While  this book is fairly comprehensive and widely recognized a go-to resource for caregivers, I do not recommend reading this book cover-to-cover.  Especially for those who are new to caregiving, the multitude of topics and problems addressed in the book can be overwhelming or even a little scary.  I advise using this book more as a reference, using the sections that apply to you, your loved one, and your family at the time, to avoid catastrophizing or excessive worry.  Don’t get ahead of yourself!

This is an older copy. I highly recommend the more recent 6th edition.

There are many additions to this book since it’s original publication in 1981.  The book has grown and evolved over the years, as our knowledge of Alzheimer’s and Dementia has also grown and evolved.  I recommend the more recent editions for the most up-to-date information and resources.  The 6th Edition was published in 2017.  Below you can hear one of the authors, Dr. Peter Rabins talk about the latest edition.

I give this book an A.

It’s comprehensive, honest, and compassionate.  Be prepared that reading it may stir up some strong emotions, however you will come away from reading informed, equipped, and self-aware.

Mace, N. L., & Rabins, P. V. (2011). The 36-hour day: A family guide to caring for persons with alzheimer disease, related dementing illnesses, and memory loss in later life. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.


Book Review: Braving the Wilderness

2 years ago · · 0 comments

Book Review: Braving the Wilderness

Clients frequently ask me for recommendations of books they can read to supplement or augment the work they are doing in therapy.  This is a book that I have recommended NUMEROUS times.  It’s one that has been especially helpful to me as a therapist, as a woman, as a Christian, and as an American.

Through this bold and poignant exploration of human connection in the context of contemporary society, New York Times best selling author, Brené Brown shows us methods to live our lives courageously and foster healthy connections.  

Brown asserts that society is currently facing a crisis of disconnection, and she presents specific strategies or “practices” (four to be precise) that challenge the status quo of disconnection and inauthenticity.  She defines true belonging not as fitting in but as “the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness alone in the wilderness.  True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”  This means sometimes going on your own, even in the face of criticism or rejection.  It means sometimes we must stand firm in our values, beliefs, principles, and choices even if it means solitude and vulnerability.  Through research and stories, Brown, illustrates concepts in ways that challenge but do so with humor, honesty, and even some irreverence.

I personally found this book helpful in light of the present social climate in the United States,  beset by tensions created by so many racial, religious, and political divisions.  Brown writes, “…in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.”  She challenges us to resist the tendency to “sort” one another (and ourselves) into groups, which can lead to silencing, extremism, and confirmation bias.  In other words, it’s unfair and unhelpful to pigeon hole others and ourselves with limiting labels.  Sorting stops us from being true to ourselves and it fosters loneliness.

Through courage, vulnerability, honesty, civility, connection, and compassion we can live out the paradoxical way to freedom so wisely stated by Dr. Maya Angelou, and quoted by Brown:

“You are only free when you realize you belong no place – you belong every place – no place at all.  The price is high.  The reward is great.”  

I give this book an A.

The main reason I didn’t give this book an A+ is that there is some repetition of concepts from some of her previous books – which I loved, by the way! – I just wish there had been a little more “new material.”  There are however many shining moments of truth in this book that had me exclaiming out loud in my car (as I listened to the audiobook), “Right on, Brené!”

Brown, B. (2017). Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. New York, NY: Random House.

7 years ago · · Comments Off on Have you heard of Brené Brown?

Have you heard of Brené Brown?

Have you heard of Brené Brown?  If you experience feelings of shame or struggle with perfectionism, you need to know her!

Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW is a speaker, author, researcher, social worker who is best known for her study of shame and vulnerability.  Her books and presentations on TED Talks have become increasingly popular.

Click here to view her 20 minute presentation, “The Power of Vulnerability.”

Her insightful and humorous message is sure to get you laughing and thinking hard about how you view yourself and humanity as a whole.

If you’re interested in Brené Brown’s books, I recommend the following titles:

  • I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Telling the Truth about Perfectionism, Inadequacy, and Power
  • The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are
  • Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

P.S. I had to log back in to correct a type-o in this post – TWICE!  Guess I might be a bit of a perfectionist myself!