Allies in Health: Dr. Kathleen Wong, Bridges to Wellbeing, LLC
Ever since she was in the third grade, Dr. Kathleen Wong has been filled with a passion to help others. At that point, she may not have understood what that even meant, but her classmate knew it, to be sure. “You could be a psychiatrist,” the young Wong was told matter of factly on the playground. Unbeknownst to her younger self, this is the path she would earnestly walk; today, Wong is exactly that — a psychiatrist at Bridges to Wellbeing in Fayetteville.
Prior to her arrival in Northwest Arkansas, Wong studied philosophy and economics at the University of Richmond and earned a medical degree from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, before conducting residency training in psychiatry at the Barnes-Jewish Medical Center in St. Louis.
In 2003, she landed in Fayetteville and has been practicing in the region ever since.
“In addition to a conventional psychiatry practice, we treat refractory depression with a series of ketamine infusions,” she says. “This is a novel intervention which can help individuals, often when other medications and therapy have failed. It is safe and well-tolerated, with benefits as soon as hours to days after the procedure. Even more exciting, the individuals are more responsive to psychotherapy and can often reduce the use of medications or outside substances such as alcohol or other drugs. The ketamine supports a structural change in the brain which is longlasting.”
Recently, Wong has also become astute in another novel concept, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, which provides tools that everyone can use to live a more satisfying and balanced life, whether there is a formal diagnosis or not. She also proudly utilizes the Temperament Character Inventory personality assessment, another tool that is useful across the board.
“The more I learn, the more I gain tools to help myself and my patients,” she says. “We need to continue to advocate that varying moods are part of normal experience. I help people see what abilities and strengths they have and help them develop compassion towards themselves and the challenges they experience.”
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