Interview with Alyson Nuno

What inspired you to become a mental health clinician?

As a child I was drawn to idea of working in a helping field, such as being a nurse or doctor. It was a natural calling for me, but I didn’t know I would eventually become a mental health clinician until after I graduated from college. In I majored in foreign languages with a dream of working in teaching and translating, but when I entered the “real world” after school I found myself in jobs that did not quite fit where I saw myself long term. At some point I decided to just go for it and pursue a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. To me, it was a life worth living goal.

What do you enjoy the most about working at Potomac Behavioral Solutions?

I really enjoy the team aspect. It is comforting to know that I don’t have to operate alone and that supportive colleagues are always right around the corner. It makes the environment more comfortable, and enhances the work I do so that I can be a more effective clinician to my patients. Additionally, I truly enjoy working with my patients and feel lucky to be part of their journey toward their life worth living. I come to work everyday knowing that I am in the field I love, and it’s a good feeling.

What is your favorite Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skill, and why?

Checking the facts is my favorite DBT skill because it really helps me to slow down and get out of Emotion mind. Sometimes, it seems like what I’m feeling in the moment is truth or factual, but once I’m able to sit down and objectively examine the data, it makes it easier to think things through and problem solve effectively. Basically, it help me get to wise mind faster since I’m able to detach from some of the emotions that might cloud my view on Wise Mind.

How do you find a balance of acceptance and change in your own life?

Well, I’m very naturally change oriented so I don’t have to work much for that part. However, I carve out time every day to work on acceptance. I make it a daily practice to use mindfulness and radical acceptance to notice when I’m not in acceptance, and pushing for change when it is not effective to do so. Intentionally practicing this helps me find that balance in my own life.

Now, for a bit of fun: What is your favorite hobby, and why?

Crossfit is one of my favorite hobbies and one of my favorite PLEASE skills. I find that the physical activity helps me to unwind, and it’s actually one of my favorite forms of self care as it reduces my vulnerability to stress. Not only that, but I also use it as a mindfulness practice since I focus on what I’m doing in the present moment and increase awareness of what’s going on with my body. The community aspect of Crossfit is something else that draws me to it, because I form relationships with the people I work out with, and we share that common bond. It’s empowering and a lot of fun!

Is there anything else that you’d like the readers to know?

I speak 3 other languages, and I have an interest in art and art history. If you ever want to practice Italian, French, or German, stop on by my office! I learned these languages in high school and actually wanted to be a translator. In college I studied this further and traveled abroad to enhance my foreign language skills. Another fun fact about me is that I have 2 cats and that I love ALL furry creatures! I am hoping to get a dog one day, too, but right now that decision is up in the air.