A new psychologist in town

Submitted photo

Katie Kuhlmann, a licensed psychologist, opened her practice on Minnesota Street last month. She is hoping to alleviate wait times for mental-health services in New Ulm as most of the services available here have month-long wait times.

Submitted photo Katie Kuhlmann, a licensed psychologist, opened her practice on Minnesota Street last month. She is hoping to alleviate wait times for mental-health services in New Ulm as most of the services available here have month-long wait times.

NEW ULM — A new psychologist on Minnesota Street is providing much-needed mental health services in town.

Licensed psychologist Dr. Katie Kuhlmann opened her practice at 9 1/2 N. Minnesota St. at the beginning of last month.

Kuhlmann generally sees people for health issues including depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder among many more.

A good time to call a psychologist like Kuhlmann is “when it (mental illness) causes clinically significant impairment in functioning,” she said. “Meaning that if my depression makes it hard for me to go to work or be with friends or maintain my marriage or, for students, go to school and make it through the school day.”

First-time clients can expect Kuhlmann to be full of questions. She will ask about symptoms, background, family history and the like.

“I think it is important to note too that people do not have to answer all of my questions. I mean they are just meeting me,” Kuhlmann said. “I think trust has to be earned, not just given.”

As for people embarrassed about going to a psychologist, Kuhlmann first suggests thinking of mental health like physical health. Getting treatment for depression should not be any more embarrassing than for asthma or diabetes, she said.

The psychologist is also dedicated to confidentiality. She is willing to work around schedules so people feel comfortable coming to her office and if they see her in public, Kuhlmann will not acknowledge them unless they approach her first.

Kuhlmann pointed out she can almost never share the contents of her conversations with clients, with a few exceptions.

The first is with written and signed permission of the client. Without permission Kuhlmann can only break confidentiality if the person presents a clear and imminent danger to themselves or others, if her records are subpoenaed, or for abuse of a minor (which she reports to child protective services).

There is also a complicating factor for anyone under 18 — their parents.

“Parents do have access to a minor’s records and so I have a conversation with the parents about how I do not want the full record to be available to parents because if you are 17 and coming in here and knew everything you said was going to be told to mom and dad, it probably would not be a very effective therapy,” Kuhlmann said.

She came to New Ulm from her practice in St. Paul for her husband’s work. After asking around she found that there is a strong need of her services.

“Everybody really was very positive and encouraging about how we need help, we do not have enough people to refer to. There is usually a one- to two-month waiting list, and if somebody calls, they needed help probably last month or last week or last year,” Kuhlmann said.

She graduated from the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University with a degree in psychology and earned her doctorate in clinical psychology from the Minnesota School of Professional Psychology.

Kuhlmann uses two techniques primarily, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).

CBT is a practice of identifying and changing negative thought processes. By doing so, a person can think more clearly and respond to challenges more positively and effectively, according to mayoclinic.org.

DBT teaches four sets of behavioral skills or modules, as Kuhlmann put it. They are interpersonal effectiveness, mindfulness, distress tolerance and emotional regulation.

“I just want people to know that they do not have to go it alone,” Kuhlmann said. “There are people here to help, and if you are kind of on the fence about it, why not call, why not email and talk about it. I am here to help.”

Call or text Kuhlmann at (507) 200-0875 or email her at kuhlmannpsychology@gmail.com to schedule an appointment. For more information visit kuhlmannpsychology.com.

Connor Cummiskey can be emailed at ccummiskey@nujournal.com.

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