Expert Profile - Rajan Grewal
Dr. Rajan Grewal
DO, Board Certified Integrative Psychiatrist
Founder of Wildflower Psychiatry
Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor & Clinical Researcher at the University of Arizona Department of Psychiatry
Co-Investigator in the Psilocybin for Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Research Project
Has Received Certification in Integrative Medicine through her Residency Training at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.
Dr. Rajan Grewal’s Bio:
Dr. Rajan Grewal is a board-certified psychiatrist and founder of Wildflower Psychiatry, a private practice focused on integrative women’s mental health. She is a clinical assistant professor and clinical researcher at the University of Arizona Department of Psychiatry.
She is a native of Northern California, and attended college at UC Berkeley and medical school at Touro University California. She completed her residency training in psychiatry at the University of Arizona, and during her training earned a Certificate in Integrative Medicine in Residency from the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.
What life events or challenges that you’ve experienced (could be minor, could be major) – whether you’ve experienced them directly or via someone close to you, have had any type of impact on your desire to pursue a career in psychiatry?
I started meditating when I was in college, and that really changed the course of my life. I’ve always been fascinated by the inner life, and through learning about and experiencing different meditative practices I began to appreciate the mystery of consciousness. Meditation helped me to not only feel centered and present, but also feel a sense of wonder and awe at the power of the mind. When I did my psychiatry rotations in medical school, that ability to be present and empathize with different experiences became very relevant and motivating for me, and still is.
How did those events impact you emotionally/morally? How, if at all did those events impact the way you view how our current system teaches us to treat patients with mental health challenges?
I keep a spirit of openness and curiosity when I’m engaging with people who are having mental health challenges. It’s a privilege to be let in, and I know that there is always a lot that I don’t know. I think my experiences with meditation help me stay in that curious not-knowing state long enough to really listen and understand, rather than being quick to fit people into diagnostic categories.
When and why did you decide to actually focus on practicing Integrative Psychiatry, specifically, and how was your decision shaped by the experiences above?
I came to medical school interested in mind-body medicine based on my experiences with meditation, and in my final year of medical school when I had chosen to apply to psychiatry residency programs, I did several electives in integrative medicine and functional medicine. One of the integrative medicine practices I rotated in made a huge impression on me, and made it very clear to me that this is what I wanted to do. It was an example of how medicine could be practiced in a really human, whole-person, and kind way, with unconditional positive regard for patients and genuine joyful service. I’ve carried that experience with me throughout my training and created Wildflower Psychiatry with that spirit in mind.
What methods or practices do you utilize to help individuals get/feel better?
I do a very thorough history to get a good sense of not just what someone is struggling with, but of their life story, their strengths, and their aspirations. I look for patterns from different angles, including medical, psychological, spiritual, and emotional aspects, and I work with people to come up with a reasonable, do-able plan that is specific for them. This may include treating underlying medical contributions, making nutritional changes, using targeted psychotherapy, practicing mind-body skills, and using medications or supplements.
How did people react when you share this Integrative/Holistic approach with them – whether it be patients or other doctors?
Part of the beauty of this approach is that it’s collaborative and logical. I present a range of options, give my recommendations, explain risks and benefits, and work together with the patient to come up with a personalized plan. Most patients really appreciate this. Other doctors are interested and seem happy to learn about treatment options they’re not yet familiar with.