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Author, scholar, practitioner well-prepared for complexities of a career in geropsychology

It is estimated that 30-50% of all adults suffering from psychiatric distress rely solely on primary care providers for assistance. Therefore, after practicing in the community as a master's level therapist for twelve years, Linda Travis decided to pursue formal training in the fields of primary care psychology, health psychology, and geropsychology.

A 1998 graduate of Argosy University/Atlanta's Clinical Psychology doctoral program, she is presently a psychologist in the Senior Outreach Program at Unity Health System in Rochester, NY, as well as a Senior Instructor of Psychiatry (Psychology) at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Since the completion of her fellowship in 2000, Travis has enjoyed being involved in a variety of settings outside standard mental health care, including medical centers long-term care centers, senior housing sites, community centers, and geriatric home care programs.

Within her daily professional life, Travis stresses the reality that many underserved populations (i.e., ethnic racial minority groups, primary care patients, older adults, battered women, and medically ill people and their families) do not seek help from the conventional mental health system. "In order to reach these underserved populations, it follows that we must work in collaboration with colleagues in health and community settings. We need to be interdisciplinary team members participating in developing biopsychosocial care plans." Examples of Travis' interdisciplinary collaboration include consulting with home care nurses about psychosocial issues, teaching interviewing skills to medicine residents, and co-leading groups with health care providers that are aimed at improving seniors' coping skills for living with chronic illnesses.

Travis also provides psychotherapy in seniors' homes and at adult day care programs, and sometimes through telephone or family sessions Even though these are relatively new practice locations and formats, Travis is quick to comment that her treatment methods center on the interpersonal-family dimensions of both mental and physical health, the very areas that have held her interest for over 22 years in the mental health field. In fact, Travis has several publications in which she has investigated the role of social support and relationships with psychotherapy outcomes, as well as depression in geriatric primary care populations. Her publications can be found in such journals as American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Psychotherapy: Theory/Research/Practice/Training, Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, and Clinical Gerontologist.

Another component of Travis' work is teaching and training students in conducting psychotherapy in diverse settings. "When teaching, I strive to link the research on the psychotherapy process and outcome with important adaptations necessary when working with underserved populations. I think students quickly realize that they can make a substantial difference in the lives of individuals, families, and communities by working in health settings."

Travis believes her unique Argosy University/Atlanta education prepared her well for the complexities in working with the elderly. "I elected to attend a Psy.D. program as I am a practitioner-scholar and wanted to receive training congruent with my professional identity. Not only did Argosy University/Atlanta offer the kind of preparation reflected in an adult learning atmosphere well suited to my busy professional life, but also a convenient format of weekly classes that I was interested in and engaged with. Equally important, Argosy University/Atlanta offered training in my content areas of interest (geropsychology, brief treatment, interpersonal-psychodynamic treatment, multicultural issues, and assessment). I remain grateful for the excellent training and mentoring I received at Argosy University/Atlanta."

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