Meet Reese Lawrence
Reese is a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. He currently also works in the PACU at Veterans Affairs..because let's be honest, they offer better benefits than we can. He previously worked as a nurse on COVID units and a neuro unit -- so he is experienced in working with those with traumatic brain injuries.
Reese is strongly interested in working with patients with congenital heart defects to receive thorough psychiatric care. He values his ability to be funny, empathetic and thorough during his appointments. He currently sees adults only - but we are working on convincing him to also see kids and teens.
Reese currently resides in the Phoenix, AZ area and plays in a Doom Metal band. He's a huge nerd, an activist, passionate about working with LGBTQIA+ populations, improving access to healthcare and justice for patients. He was apparently on ABC 15 recently for calling out Banner for patient dumping at a bus stop. So yeah, we think he's cool.
Michael Reese Lawerence, MSN, PMHNP-BC
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
What is your favorite movie: Everything Everywhere All At Once is the best multiverse movie ever made and funny as hell! Raccacoonie!!!!
Favorite superhero: Batman! Na na na na na na na na na batman! Using his own fear as his superpower is glorious.
If you could have a superpower, what superpower would you pick: If I could have a superpower I would have the powers of a Jedi, because these are not the droids you are looking for. Plus I could move objects with my mind and force project myself around the world
Favorite bands/singer: Nirvana - Teenage Me; Tame Impala - Psychedelic Me; The Beatles - Old Me
If you had 3 wishes, what would you wish for: World Peace. Climate Neutrality. Cure for Cancer.
Do you have any pets - tell us about them and their names!: I have no pets yet, but when my house is built, I am getting a corgi; his name will be Farnsworth named after a character from the show Futurama.
What are you most passionate about in the mental health field? Right now, adults in general, in the future I would love to create an adult and children with congenital heart defects psychiatric program at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Currently, I follow the work of Dr. Adrienne Kovacs who with the American Heart Association published the psychological outcomes and interventions for individuals with congenital heart disease.
One fun fact about yourself: I went to school for computer network systems administration, so I am really good with computers :)
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? My philosophy on using medication to treat mental health is that it is a tool in conjunction with community, family, and therapy support. It isn’t the sole answer to treating mental health. Without social support medications can only do so much. I don’t believe medications are lifelong, if people are treated right and have adequate support, they can become resilient and not need medication. A patient that sees me doesn’t have to be on medication, I can be there for support and be a cheerleader for them and a source of encouragement.
If a patient is nervous about an evaluation with a male, especially when talking about tough things like trauma or sexual abuse, what would you want them to know? First, I would want them to know that they are in a safe space and that I am there to listen and I want them to feel comfortable being open with me. I would want them to explore their feeling about their past on their own terms. If they felt that they could not be open with me because I am male then I would not take it negatively and find them a provider that will allow them to get the best care they can get. I hope that I can bring a friendly and inviting environment for my patients and be able to remove their nervousness about talking to a male provider.
How do you feel about masculinity and mental health? I feel that men are taught at a young age to hide their feelings. You know the sayings "rub some dirt in it" or "walk it off." These taught behaviors of masculinity prevent men from looking for help. Men should be more in tune with their feelings and should feel free to talk about how they feel and not be ashamed.
Do you have any personal experiences regarding mental health you are open to sharing?
I had multiple heart surgeries growing up, so I deal with anxiety and depression from my brain being too stressed out during its development. I am a lifelong patient and I know it feels not to be seen and heard. I’ve been through many mental health providers and have struggled to get care. It’s hard to find a provider to connect with and trust, but the journey is well worth it in the end.
How do you feel about medical marijuana? I feel that medical marijuana like any recreational drug such as alcohol is ok to use in moderation. I am a proud supporter of legalizing drugs and increasing drug education. I would like to one-day prescribe psychedelics which have been shown to help with depression and anxiety. The war on drugs has failed and put a lot of innocent people in prison. Legalize it, educate about it, and work with it.
You've mentioned being passionate about working with the LGBTQ+ population, can you tell us more about that? My daughter identified as bisexual and then transgender during his teenage years. I have seen first-hand the struggle of not only being a teenager trying to find themselves but also not feeling being person/gender they see on the outside. It is a struggle that many people do not go through or understand. There is a culture war going on that is targeting this population and you must stand up to prevent injustice. Transgender rights are a civil right and I am proud to be on the right side of history and want to support this community.
What are your thoughts about treating adult ADHD? I feel that when treating adults with ADHD, medication can only go so far. ADHD coaches or CBT are needed to help patients with their organizational and attention skills. It sucks when it’s difficult to focus and prioritize and not fun to always be missing out or forgetting plans.