Meet Ally Stuart
Ally Stuart, MSN, PMHNP-BC
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Ally is a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She has been a nurse for over 5 years and psychiatry has always been her specialty. Not new to the field, however, Ally has worked in the behavioral health realm for many years as a social worker.
Ally decided to pursue her graduate degree because she wanted to work with people in a more collaborative client/provider approach with an agency that has beliefs aligned with her own.
Ally's goal is to foster a more authentic relationship with clients that encourages them to take an active role in their treatment decisions and to also treat each person as a whole person and not a set of symptoms.
Ally currently resides in the Phoenix, AZ area with her spouse and child. Outside of work, she can be found exploring the local area-- at the farmer's market, a new coffee shop, or trying a new restaurant. She recently has taken up Pilates and finds that more enjoyable than she thought it would be. She can't wait to start reading more and would love to know what your favorite book is.
What is your favorite movie: I am not much of a movie-goer since I can't seem to sit through an entire film, but give me a good series any day. I just finished Workin' Moms (let's not even talk about THAT cliffhanger of Season 6). Coming from the basic 'bee' side of me, I will happily watch any cooking challenge series or home design show. The Great British Baking Show!! Jolly good.
Favorite superhero: Ruth Bader Ginsburg obviously.
If you could have a superpower, what superpower would you pick: Okay, so I have given this a lot of thought. The first one would be to be able to apparate (HP fan?? Anyone?) so I could bypass having to go to the airport. Second would be the ability to always have exact change in my pocket for any purchase that I made.
Favorite bands/singer: The Rocket Summer. Jack's Mannequin. I'm also a Swiftie (sorry, not sorry).
If you had 3 wishes, what would you wish for: 1. A government that actually gave a flying fuck about their country and the people that live in it. 2. A really good brand new commercial espresso machine in my house. 3. World Peace (*Name that movie*)
What is your favorite food? I love food. Sushi, enchiladas, falafel. Let's talk Crumbl Cookies and curry dishes, please. Samples at Costco for lunch, don't mind if I do. Oh and coffee (in case you haven't caught that yet)-- iced lattes and cold brew!! If you know of a cute coffee shop or bakery that I need to try -- please tell me.
What are you most passionate about in the mental health field? When it comes to mental health, I truly think that getting to know who you are as a whole person is one of the most important things that can happen. You are a person who has endured magical, painful, exciting, and hard things. You are more than just symptoms, and answers don't always just lie in prescriptions to cover up these symptoms. Mental health is a whole-body experience and a journey not merely a destination.
What are some experiences you have had that make you unique? My husband and I went through the IVF process to start our family so I understand the unique, intense, and heart-wrenching experience that this is. It pushes you emotionally and physically in ways that I never imagined with no guarantees in the end. It's like being a part of a community you never asked to be a part of but you meet some pretty amazing people nonetheless. Also, it is like its own language is it not?!
What is your philosophy on using medication to treat mental health? Are medications lifelong? Does a patient who sees you HAVE to be on medication? I think using medication to help with treatment is just a piece of an overall picture. Medications are definitely not meant to be lifelong. My philosophy is to provide you with all the best information I can to allow you to make an informed and comfortable choice for yourself whether that is incorporating medication into your treatment or not.
If a patient is nervous about an evaluation, especially when talking about tough things like trauma or sexual abuse, what would you want them to know? Talking about tough things, especially trauma can be so difficult, especially when you're just meeting with a new person for the first time. Trauma can be messy and confusing and can be hard to make sense of. When it comes to any part of our conversations, you control what you are ready and willing to share. I am here to listen in a comforting, validating, and non-judgemental way.
What kind of therapy do you offer? I tend to use Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but also love using talking points from other modalities as well.
Do you have any personal experiences regarding mental health you are open to sharing? After I had my first baby I was very confused and scared by extreme anxiety and intrusive thoughts. I was eventually diagnosed with postpartum OCD. Even being in the field for so many years I had never even heard of it. Now every new parent I run into I'm like "how are you REALLY doing??"
You've mentioned being passionate about working with the Health at Every Size (HAES) population, can you tell us more about that? I live my life in a larger body. I have experienced discrimination because of my size when seeking medical care and have made a commitment as a provider to provide a weight-neutral approach to treatment. I fully recognize how diet culture is smashed into our faces virtually every day since the day we were born and how that can affect self-esteem. This can affect how we think we deserve to be treated because of our weight. We should not be afraid to go to providers because we fear they will judge or blame us or treat us less because of our size. I am a big advocate of Intuitive Eating principles and healthy, fulfilling body movement. The BMI chart is bullshit.