Expert Profile - Sutapa Dube
Dr. Sutapa Dube
MD, Integrative Psychiatrist
Clinical Assistant Professor with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona
Board Certified in General Psychiatry, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry & Integrative Medicine
Founder of Integrative Wellness & Health, PLLC
Dr. Sutapa Dube’s Bio:
Dr. Dube is board certified in General Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry, and Integrative Medicine. She is the owner of Integrative Wellness and Health, PLLC Clinic as well as a Clinical Assistant Professor with the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona. She is committed to practicing psychiatry with a comprehensive and holistic approach. Dr. Dube has trained in various modalities, including mind-body skills, integrative psychiatry, and various psychotherapeutic approaches, including Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART). She feels strongly that the relationship between patient and doctor needs to be one of a team working together for the best possible outcomes and quality of life. She works in collaboration with patients, offering support and well-thought-out choices tailored to individual needs and goals. She promotes empowering practices for patients to reach their greatest potentials.
Dr. Dube has had the pleasure of living in various communities throughout the United States, the UK, and Grenada. She is a lifelong learner and is happy to learn about and explore different topics, especially treatment modalities. She most enjoys connecting with people and learning about different points of view. She is also known to be amazed by the joy, emotional expression, intellect, and imagination of children, for which reason she tries to view the world with child-like curiosity and optimism.
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?
My parents immigrated to the US in the 1970s, during the Brain Drain to the West. Due to tight finances, we saw “doctors” only when necessary, but we were most often treated with folk remedies my mother and aunts brought with them. It was only as I became much older, that I realized, that these remedies were not “bad” because they did not come from a doctor. Instead of that, these folk remedies were part of a rich heritage of non-Western healing, which was in many ways equal to but not the same as allopathic medicine.
The traumas and hardships my parents’ generation faced growing up and then during their immigration framed many of my beliefs about life as a young child. As I grew older, I knew I wanted to be in medicine, but had poor self-esteem and moderate anxiety. My path to becoming a physician took a bit longer and more followed a more winding path than many of my colleagues, however, it was time well spent. I learned to be more open-minded, willing to explore, AND less anxious (using mind-body techniques).
Within the first month of medical school, I had decided I wanted to be a psychiatrist. Having witnessed the impact of trauma on quality of life for my parent’s generation, and then grappling with anxiety myself, I understood that mental health isn’t “all in your head” and can have very real effects on quality of life. Also, the benefit of having life experience prior to heading to medical school, I knew that mental health concerns, while stigmatized, were widespread. I wanted to be part of the solution to destigmatize and treat individuals with mental health concerns to improve their lives.
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?
As a child, wanting to be a doctor, I thought in terms of “curing” and getting “rid” of the disease. In my child’s mind, I thought that a doctor was a modern-day hero. Not having much access to physicians, contributed even further to my putting doctors on a pedestal. I didn’t realize at the time, that my mother and her folk remedies were heroic in a similar way. Having taken a long route to medical school, gave me the opportunity to experience and think about healing in a different way. I was able to take the time to see how intergenerational trauma throughout a family could affect the current generation, and how mood and thoughts impacted behaviors and outcomes in life through personal experience and observation of others.
Our current system is slowly coming around to the idea that patients are experts on their own experiences and bodies. Individuals need individualized treatments (complementary, Westernized, or a mix of both). As a psychiatrist, using a mind-body-society approach, I take into account the whole person and their environment when I am treating the individual.
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 don’t know that I specifically ‘decided’ to focus on practicing Integrative Psychiatry. I recall as a medical student and then as a trainee, I was looking for a system of medicine that made sense. I had always been confused with why Psychiatry, studying mood and thought disorders, was different and separate from the rest of medicine.
The individual coming to a doctor for help has one body; the body has multiple organs including the brain, all of which are in communicating with each other continuously. That interplay between the different parts of our body is AMAZING and inspiring. Integrative Psychiatry not only acknowledges the mind-body connection BUT also recognizes the connection as an integral part of exploring and recommending treatment options.
Having grown up with somewhat limited access to “medicine,” but rich access to “folk medicine,” Integrative Psychiatry feels familiar and intuitive, offering a truly comprehensive and integrated approach to mental health.
What methods or practices do you utilize to help individuals get/feel better?
I have been privileged to have my curiosity encouraged from a young age. I find that my curiosity, to find out what is going on for an individual, to listen to their story, and truly get to know the individual has been my best method to help my patients. The amount of knowledge in medicine is huge; focusing solely on psychiatry narrows the knowledge base a very little bit, BUT it is nearly impossible to know of all the treatments, traditional and alternative. Therefore, when I treat my patients, I keep an open mind and explore and discuss options that may not be familiar to me. I believe in using all the tools I’ve learned (mind-body medicine, knowledge of integrative practices, pharmaceuticals, psychotherapy, etc) to put together options for my patients. My patients and I are a team; I can present options and recommendations, but at the end of the day, my patients decide what works best for them.
How did people react when you share this Integrative/Holistic approach with them – whether it be patients or other doctors?
Patients and their families are very happy and excited when I share that I am conservative with medications and approach each patient using a holistic and integrative view. Other physicians are usually either intrigued or in agreement with the approach depending on their own experiences with integrative medicine. Almost all the doctors I know, are in favor of a holistic and whole-body approach to a patient.
Organization: Integrative Wellness and Health, PLLC
Location: Tucson, AZ 85712
Address: 4806 E Camp Lowell Drive
Tel: (520) 329-8976
Fax: (520) 505-4827