Practice Areas

Psychological Evaluation, Testing & Assessment - ¡Soy bilingüe!

My practice is a specialty offering psychological evaluation, testing and assessment in English and Spanish at my Silver City office, via telehealth and/or through home visits, if appropriate. I serve students, adults, older adults, Veterans, and limited-English and Spanish-speaking persons.

Psychological evaluation and assessment involves a clinical interview, health care record review, collateral interview, consultation with other professionals, administration, scoring, and interpretation of psychological tests and data to answer the referral question. Dr. Weil performs all work herself.

Students – Academic & Learning
For students (age 16+ through adult), I provide culturally competent psychological evaluations and testing of intellectual abilities and academic achievement particularly related to the diagnosis of specific learning disorders. I make recommendations for accommodations at school and college, and/or for testing centers.

Cognitive, Health Psychology, Presurgical & Specialty Assessments
Cognitive evaluations are performed for concerns about dementia or memory, disability evaluations for Veterans, presurgical candidate evaluations for pain interventions or bariatric surgery, assessments for chronic health problems such as insomnia, tobacco use, cancer, chronic pain, diabetes, and heart disease, and consultation for palliative and hospice patients. Contact me for immigration assessments, capacity assessments, and any other specialty evaluations.

Diagnostic Clarification & Assessments for Complex Patients
Psychological evaluation and testing is performed to clarify mental health and behavioral health diagnoses and assist other behavioral health professionals and physicians with focused treatment planning and recommendations for their complex patients.

Empowered Relief
Saturday, January 30, 2021

Evidenced-based 1-visit skills class. Limited seats & scholarships.
Live online.

Empowered Relief Online (PDF)

Minding The Body Group
2021

11-week evidenced-based cognitive behavioral psychotherapy (CBT) group.
About stress, coping and serious medical illness.

Minding the Body (PDF)

Anxiety & Depression, Trauma & Behavioral Health

Depression and anxiety significantly impair individuals’ quality of life. Psychologists are highly trained to help people recover from emotional and substance abuse problems through the provision of evidence based treatment. Learn about PTSD: ptsd.va.gov/apps/decisionaid and find resources for substance use disorders: apa.org/advocacy/substance-use

I offer assessments and psychological testing to clarify diagnoses and assist other behavioral health care clinicians and physicians with focused treatment planning and recommendations for their complex clients. Please note, I do NOT currently offer psychotherapy to treat general mental health but will be happy to provide local referrals. Read about how psychologists treat people struggling with depression and anxiety: apa.org/helpcenter/depression and apa.org/helpcenter/anxiety

Dementia

Dementia is not a normal part of aging. Dementia is a syndrome caused by a variety of brain illnesses that affect memory, thinking, behavior and the ability to perform everyday activities such as driving, self-care, medication management, problem-solving, and independent living. I assess, diagnose and treat persons with dementia and support their care partners. I accept referrals for psychological evaluation and testing of cognitive functioning to assist patients, health care providers, & families.

Dr. Weil obtained advanced training and consultation from psychologists Drs. Linda Teri,  Michele Karel and colleagues in the US Department of Veterans Affairs to implement the STAR-VA evidence-based interdisciplinary program for persons with dementia and staff training in assisted living residences for the VA (STAR-VA). As the Behavioral Coordinator & Psychologist in the community living center, Dr. Weil positively impacted patients and families affected by dementia. She coordinated implementation of STAR-VA and interdisciplinary staff training in behavioral interventions for managing challenging behaviors in VA Community Living Center residents with dementia to improve their interactions, quality of life and care received.

I offer advanced training for families, caregivers, and health care staff to implement evidenced-based behavioral and psychosocial strategies to manage difficult symptoms in patients with dementia. Learn more about Living Well With Dementia (PDF).

Palliative & Hospice

Facing chronic and life-limiting illnesses presents unique needs for patients and families. I am an expert who helps people cope with chronic illness, find meaning and develop mastery and control to improve their emotional responses and make adjustments with an emphasis on quality of life according to the patient’s values.

Dr. Weil has extensive training and experience working as a palliative and hospice psychologist on interdisciplinary inpatient health care teams in the federal prison and VA hospitals where she assessed and supported patients through the psychosocial and spiritual process of accepting and coping with chronic disease and life-limiting expectancies. Dr. Weil also led serious conversations with families related to advance care planning, directives, and end-of-life care decisions including those involving life-sustaining treatment decisions. Dr. Weil trained hospital clinicians and staff in palliative and end-of-life care, communication strategies, and self-care for health care workers. She was active on palliative care and cancer committees of the hospitals. Dr. Weil worked in oncology, hospice, palliative, dialysis, surgical, skilled rehab, spinal cord, ICU and SICU hospital divisions.

I possess effective interdisciplinary team work and integration with health care and hospital staff to facilitate family meetings (goals of care) and sensitive conversations related to advance care planning with close involvement of family and the patients’ care partners.

I provide culturally competent and linguistically appropriate holistic psychological assessments and practice to support patients, families, and health care staff cope with illness, anticipated grief & loss, caregiving, and treatment goals.

All hospice is palliative care but all palliative care is NOT hospice. Hospice care emphasizes comfort focused on symptom management and involves a physician prognostication of the primary disease to be 6 months or less. Hospice does not hasten or prolong life. It is not a place or where you go to die. It is not giving up. Hospice emphasizes patient autonomy, dignity and respect for values (QoL). Read more about palliative and hospice care here: nia.nih.gov/health/what-are-palliative-care-and-hospice-care.

Mind Body Health: A holistic approach to health and wellness

Dr. Weil has advanced training and experience as a health behavior coordinator psychologist in VA hospitals providing training and consultation to medical and nursing staff in motivational interviewing and TEACH communication to improve patient-centered whole health wellness. She collaborated in shared-medical appointments for patients and their health care team, offered assessments and interventions for sleep improvement (insomnia), tobacco cessation, substance use recovery, weight management, diabetes management, transplant psychological evaluations, and decreased chronic pain. She co-chaired the health promotion disease prevention committee and was the lead tobacco cessation clinician. Dr. Weil partnered with the American Chronic Pain Association to support Veterans and health care staff better understand and treat chronic pain.

Dr. Weil offers the Minding the Body Program, an evidence-based cognitive behavioral psychotherapy program for persons with chronic health illnesses. The 11-week collaborative skills-based group helps participants to:

  • learn techniques to cope with your illness and stress
  • improve your mood and cope with distressing emotions
  • strengthen social support including with your caregivers
  • and work with your medical team to manage symptoms.

The program focus is on setting goals and having a quality of life. It incorporates personal growth, spirituality, and emotional health and wellness for your overall well-being. Dr. Weil offers the group in English and Spanish based upon participant interest. Interested health care practices may contract with Dr. Weil to bring the program to their facility (in-person or telehealth).

Pain and Chronic Pain

Dr. Weil obtained advanced training with Dr. Beth Darnall, Pain Psychologist and Creator of Empowered Relief™ at Stanford University. Dr. Weil is the first certified Empowered Relief™ Instructor in the evidence-based single-session skills-based class in New Mexico. Registration for classes in English and Spanish is available by contacting (575) 342-1236. Interested health care practices may contract with Dr. Weil to bring the program to their facility (in-person or telehealth).

Dr. Weil has been treating patients with chronic pain for over 10 years with cognitive behavioral psychotherapy (CBT) shown to effectively reduce the burden of pain. We know that up to 1 in 3 people is living with ongoing pain of some kind, but most people do not have access to expert psychologists for CBT-chronic pain nor do they always have the time commitment for programs. Empowered Relief™ evidence-based, skills-based class requires only ONE VISIT. It is appropriate for persons with chronic pain, pre-post surgery patients, and those seeking non-pharmacological pain treatment options, and many more. Participants may bring one friend or family with them to the class.

Research results revealed that Empowered Relief™ was effective for reducing pain-related distress, pain intensity, sleep problems and many other symptoms with results lasting 3 months later. The class helps people and family:

  • learn about pain and what they can do to help themselves,
  • gain pain relief skills to use right away
  • receive a free binaural relaxation audio file
  • create a personal plan for pain relief.

The motto of the class is: Train your brain away from pain. Entrene la mente para que el dolor no se haga presente.

Cancer

Research over the last decade has shown that psychosocial interventions can lead to improved outcomes by helping persons with cancer cope with diagnosis and treatment [1]. This research also demonstrated that people with cancer who have higher stress have dampened immune responses [2].

I help those with cancer reduce their emotional distress by offering From Cancer to Health,™ an empirically supported biobehavioral intervention (individual & group) designed to teach recently diagnosed patients how to manage their stress, ways to lessen the impact of physical symptoms of cancer, and skills to cope with common problems faced by people with cancer.

Dr. Weil obtained advanced training and consultation to deliver From Cancer to Health™ designed by an expert panel of health psychologists at The Ohio State University. Their research revealed that patients who participated had:

· Reduced risk for cancer recurrence by 55%
· Reduced anxiety by 77%
· Improved immune response by 144%
· Improved perception of social support by 231%
· Improved physical functioning by 276%
· Reduced physical symptoms by 43%
· Positive dietary changes by 117%

[1] Andersen BL, Farrar WB, Golden-Kreutz DM, et al. (2004). Psychological, behavioral, and immune changes following a psychological intervention: A clinical trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 22(17), 3570-3580.

[2] Andersen BL, Farrar WB, Golden-Kreutz DM, et al. (1998). Stress and immune responses following surgical treatment of regional breast cancer. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 90(1), 30-36.

Insomnia

Insomnia is a common sleep disorder and often occurs in conjunction with both medical and other mental health disorders. Psychologists help people with insomnia to change unhealthy behaviors and stressors that make sleep worse. I offer comprehensive assessments to assist patients and their health care professionals treat sleep disorders and also provide evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-i) and help patients adjust to using devices such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines and masks that help treat sleep apnea. Learn more about how to get a good night's sleep through this link apa.org/topics/sleep-disorders, and Getting A Good Night's Sleep (PDF).

Tobacco Cessation

The most important health change one can make is to quit smoking or chewing tobacco. In collaboration with your health care professional and appropriate monitoring of medications including nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), I offer evidence-based assessments and behavioral strategies to assist patients with quitting and to cope with triggers to use tobacco. Read more about the benefits of quitting: cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/how_to_quit/benefits/index.htm

Diabetes

Diabetes is a common chronic health problem that disproportionately affects ethnic and racial minorities. I provide culturally competent and linguistically appropriate psychological assessments to help patients with diabetes to make essential health behavior changes and effectively cope and manage their disease in collaboration with their health care professional. Read more about how psychologists help patients with diabetes: apa.org/helpcenter/diabetes

Heart Disease

Heart disease is a chronic health problem that can be challenging to manage and impacts one’s quality of life. I help patients with heart disease to lead healthy lifestyles in collaboration with their health care professional and address the emotional struggles that may come with this illness. Read more about how psychologists make a difference with patients with heart disease: apa.org/helpcenter/heart-healthy-lifestyle

Weight Management

Healthy weight control impacts children and adults throughout the country and has substantial negative health impacts. I provide specialized assessments to evaluate candidates for bariatric surgery and offer expertise to help patients make behavioral and lifestyle changes. Read about how psychologists contribute their expertise to help patients better manage weight and health: apa.org/helpcenter/weight-control