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Mental Health Blog

Medication Therapy in Amherst, MA: Interview with Katherine S. Johnson, AGNP, PMHNP

Conversation with Medication Prescriber in Amherst, MA

Interview with

November 10, 2022

Everyday I get to bring my skills, experience, and open mind to make a difference in people’s lives.

Are you looking to work with a well-educated and compassionate Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, who can provide evaluations, medication consultations, prescriptions, and ongoing management of your mental health needs?

Katherine S. Johnson, AGNP, PMHNP with Handel Behavioral Health is here for you.

Katherine is a double board-certified Nurse Practitioner, which include Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Geriatric specialties.

She provides in-person psychotropic treatment from our office in Amherst, and is available for online psychiatric evaluation to accommodate your schedule and preferences.

Katherine integrates her experience in adult medicine, geriatrics, community health, and college health in providing medication therapy for patients with a wide range of psychiatric illnesses.

Her work is grounded in evidence-based medication therapy techniques, which include microdosing strategies. She believes that there is no one size fits all medication or dosage for positive change.

Katherine will become familiar with your background and challenges, to find the most effective medication or alternative therapeutic solution to meet your needs.

To learn more about Katherine’s background, her approach to psychotropic treatment, and what to expect from working with her in our Amherst office or online, please read this interview conducted with Katherine.

Q. What goes into your work as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner?

A. As a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) with HBH my services focus completely on psychiatric medication management. I’ll evaluate the patient, and see whether or not they’re indicated for medication therapy, in the present time. If not, I’ll recommend therapy.

It really stinks to recommend therapy to people, and then just send them out into the wilderness. HBH makes it really easy to look for a therapist online, find out their specialities, and schedule an appointment.

Q. What led you to become a PMHNP?

A. After earning my bachelors degree in kinesiology I taught English abroad in Colombia and Ecuador for two years. I returned home, eager to start my professional career.

My mom was a nurse, which encouraged me to go to nursing school. I worked part time jobs to support myself through nursing school. I loved everything about it. Helping people was absolutely my passion.

It became clear to me that nurse practitioner school was another level of training and care. I just wanted to keep doing more. I received my AGNP at University of Massachusetts Worcester Medical School, and my PMHNP at Rivier University of Nashua, NH.

Nursing was great, and being a nurse practitioner was even better. Now as a PMHNP I get to make the bigger decisions and impact on people’s lives.

Q. What’s your philosophy on medication therapy?

A. I like to visualize mental health care as a foundation with different pillars. So on one pillar you might have your support system, like your friends and family. On another pillar you might have your purpose in life.

Everyone has their own unique pillars. The last pillar might be medication therapy, talk-therapy, meditation, journaling, or exercise. Medication therapy can be just one of those pillars of support, depending on the individual, their health condition, and needs.

Although I prescribe medication, I’ll let patients know that therapy is the initial treatment recommendation.

I also believe that exercise offers realistic improvement in an individual’s wellbeing. If I could prescribe one pill to everyone, it would take thirty minutes to chew; it’s called exercise.

Q. What mental health conditions do you provide medication therapy for?

A. Medications exist to provide some form of relief. If an individual is experiencing ongoing interferences in their life surrounding school, work, or their relationships, it might be time to consider medication therapy.

Anxiety and depression are the two common mental health conditions I’ll treat with medication therapy. I also work with clients experiencing the following mental health conditions:

I also have experience supporting people in the LGBTQ+ community with their mental health.

Q. What makes your medication therapy style unique?

A. My background in primary care, combined with my background in micro-dosing makes me a valuable PMHNP with HBH.

Within the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program I learned that you can titrate medications to the individual. Pharmaceuticals make it easy to count prescriptions in intervals. In reality, there are 100 different shoe sizes and only four doses of medications available.

I really concentrate on getting the medication dosage exact to the patient. Close follow up then indicates if the medication works properly and brings positive relief to the patient.

Q. How often will you see a patient for medication therapy treatment?

A. Typically, I’ll have an initial visit with a patient and then a close follow-up visit every two weeks. If the mediation isn’t working for the patient within those 2 weeks we’ll try another medication with close follow up.

The visit intervals for a stable person is every three months.

Q. What’s your favorite part about being a PMHNP?

A. I love developing relationships with patients, and helping them through their mental health journey over time.

Q. What do you like about working in Amherst, Massachusetts?

A. I grew up in Northampton, Massachusetts so I’m a local. I enjoy the people and mentality here. We live in the ‘happy valley’.

Northern Mass has music, art, family events, outdoor activities, shopping; it’s a really happy place to live.

Interested in scheduling an appointment with Katherine?

If you’re seeking in-person psychotropic treatment from our office in Amherst, Katherine is ready to work with you. Katherine also offers online psychotropic treatment to meet your schedule and availability.

Please call us today at (413) 343-4357. ​​You can also request to schedule an appointment with Katherine online.

About The Author

Katherine S. Johnson Headshot

Katherine is a double board-certified Nurse Practitioner, which include Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Adult-Geriatric specialties. She received her AGNP at University of Massachusetts Worcester Medical School, and her PMHNP at Rivier University of Nashua, NH. Katherine speaks fluent Spanish and competent Italian. More About Author →

Nettie Hoagland Headshot

Nettie Hoagland is a writer with experience in local news reporting and nonprofit communications and community development. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts from Saint Michael’s College. Nettie is a believer in the healing power of the arts to create connection and community. She is passionate about using writing and storytelling as an instrument for personal and social growth in the field of mental health. Nettie is endlessly curious about all things mental and behavioral health.