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Mental Health Spotlight: Debra Kissen, PhD, MHSA, Executive Director at Light on Anxiety

The way clinical professionals and psychiatrists work with patients goes far beyond a comfortable couch. From the comfort of their home, patients can now stay engaged between appointments and understand the connection between mental and physical health. See why Dr. Debra Kissen, PhD, MHSA, has prioritized technology at her practice, Light on Anxiety.

Debra and the Light on Anxiety Team
Debra and the Light on Anxiety Team

The way clinical professionals and psychiatrists work with patients goes far beyond a comfortable couch. From the comfort of their home, patients can now stay engaged between appointments and understand the connection between mental and physical health. See why Dr. Debra Kissen, PhD, MHSA, has prioritized technology at her practice, Light on Anxiety.

Q: What were some of the challenges you face when it comes to patient engagement?

A: We have wonderful clients, we rarely have boundary issues and they use communication effectively when something needs to be addressed. The biggest challenge for us is that health insurance doesn’t reimburse for the type of care that occurs in between appointments. This communication is often pro-bono, which can lead to complicated incentives.

Q: What are your thoughts on the growing intersection between technology and mental health?

Light on Anxiety’s Debra Kissen

A: In general, it’s helpful. We inject it in a lot of different ways. In patients, we send goals, assignments, notes about the session or key takeaways directly to their phone. We’ve been able to utilize NeuroFlow in our patient assessment phase; which gives us a good pre-treatment indicator or starting point which will help to inform treatment while also helping to measure progress.  There’s so many great and unique solutions out there, for us, it comes down to impact and adoption, when you get those two things, I really think technology can enhance the delivery of mental health care.

Q: What’s your advice for other doctors/providers/clinicians considering integrating technology into their practice?

A: It’s all about moving from great idea to understanding the existing workflow and how a new tool/technology/etc can help you provide better care. It’s also important to think about how you incentivize your staff – just as much as your patients – to use and support these tools, to achieve any kind of ROI people have to use it.

It comes down to impact and adoption, when you get those two things, I really think technology can enhance the delivery of mental health care.

Debra Kissen

Q: Does your practice do anything special for Mental Health Awareness Month?

A: There’s different events and campaigns we’ll support during May, but it’s hard to timebox something like mental health into just a month. Every single day, the way you floss you teeth, how many steps you get in, or whatever, every day is a good day to try and engage in things like mindfulness and good behavioral health practices.

Q: This has been super helpful, anything else to share?

A: I’d just say that change is hard when it comes to running a practice. But, if you’re looking to improve how you’re measuring progress and trying to establish better engagement, it’s worth pushing past the initial struggles. It’s going to be hard at first, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do.


NeuroFlow is a digital health technology and analytics company promoting behavioral health access and engagement to improve outcomes and reduce overall cost of care. To learn more, visit: https://www.neuroflowsolution.com/

Light on Anxiety Treatment Center of Chicago applies the principles of evidence-based treatments while at the same time treating the whole person, with deep respect for the human spirit and the challenges we all face on our journey through life. To learn more, visit: https://lightonanxiety.com/

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