It may be helpful to share a little about myself with this blog before jumping straight into my philosophy and strategies for practice. I know how difficult it can be to connect and resonate with a mental health provider. Oftentimes, people see multiple therapists or psychiatrists before they find the right one who is capable of helping them heal and grow.
I can assure anyone reading this, that I only want you to achieve wellness and flourishing regardless of whether I am your provider or not. I’m not ignorant enough to think I will be everyone’s cup of tea, but I can promise that if for whatever reason we don’t jive, I will do all I can to help you find someone better suited to provide you care. We have wonderful providers here at IFM, but if that means looking outside our organization then so be it. The priority will always be your health and wellbeing.
I’m a homegrown Iowa boy from a small town just west of Cedar Rapids. I was blessed with a wonderful childhood where I grew up the oldest of six children in my family. I still have no idea how my parents were able to manage, but they did (it may be more of a miracle that my only sister survived the torment of sharing a bathroom with five brothers). We were a close knit family growing up, and it remains that way to this day. My family is the most important part of my life. Growing up, I spent countless hours in the backyard playing any and all sports with my brothers. I can still picture the races that took place to see who was the fastest in the Janss family. My love of sports carried on through high school where I was a four sport athlete and into college where I ran track for one year. My active lifestyle and love of sports persists to this day.
From an early age I saw myself working in healthcare. I started my undergraduate career at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA with the intent to become a physical therapist. It wasn’t long and I had switched my major to nursing and I never looked back. I have always been drawn to the mind and psychology, so it’s no surprise that I thrived in my first mental health nursing rotation. I had a job in an older adult psychiatric unit before I graduated from Coe, and I had already started looking into graduate school to become a nurse practitioner. Fortunately, I was accepted at the University of Iowa into a program that allowed me to work full time as a nurse while I completed my doctorate degree. I will always be grateful for my graduate school program because it allowed me to gain real world experience to couple with my studies. During graduate school, I worked on multiple inpatient psychiatric units at two different hospitals in Eastern Iowa. I worked with all ages across the entire mental health spectrum. I spent the final two years of graduate school working on the child/adolescent psychiatric unit at the University of Iowa Hospital. This is where I completed my doctorate project which was to create and implement a mindfulness meditation program on the unit for depressed and anxious adolescents. After graduation, I spent some time in southern California working to create a mindfulness meditation program for schools before taking an outpatient psychiatry job in the Austin, Texas area. I have dedicated the last 10 years of my career to mental health. I know I still have plenty to learn, but I also know that my experiences have equipped me with the skills and tools necessary to make a difference for anyone who comes to see me today.