Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Direct Patient Care
Melle Browning is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT#115804) and earned his Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University of California.
Mel has a private practice providing psychotherapy for a range of issues such as anxiety, depression, life transitions, and relationships with a focus on attachment and trauma.
Mel is trained in EMDR and other somatic approaches to trauma informed therapy and has specific training and experience in providing LGBTQIA+ and trans/gender diverse affirming care.
Mel is a queer gender non-conforming trans man and has a passion for social justice and trauma informed work, believing both are key to forming and maintaining healthy communities that thrive.
Mel has experience training hundreds of volunteers, mental health and medical professionals, law enforcement, and student leaders on a range of issues and populations such as trauma informed crisis response, LGBTQIA+ populations and working with gender diverse individuals with an emphasis on improving and providing affirming care.
In this kickoff to PRIDE Month at My DPC Story, Mel Browning, a long-time friend of Maryal and an LMFT himself, Mel discusses his own take on insurance-driven care and how affirming care can greatly affect the health of an individual. Through his discussion of telemedicine, use of affirming language to care for those in the LGBTQIA+ Community and much more, Mel's take on his care as a gender non-conforming queer man is eye-opening and gives a lot of food for thought for those seeking to provide more affirming care.
Resources Mentioned And Recommended By Mel:
- PFLAG - Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
- User Way (an AI powered accessibility tool for those who visit websites)
- WPATH - World Professtional Association for Transgender Health
- Inclusive Therapists - A Directory of Inclusive Therapists
Socials - IG and FB: mellebrowningtherapy
Melle Browning DESCRIPT
[00:00:00] Direct primary care is an innovative alternative path to insurance driven healthcare. Typically patients pay their doctor a low monthly membership and in return build a lasting relationship with their doctor and have their doctor available at their fingertips.
[00:00:29] Direct patient care means to me that you can make the best possible clinical decisions for your client, for your patient, without your experience and your clinical expertise, making those decisions instead. Right. So I think that it, it means providing the best possible care and directly to, to your patient and to your client, just in terms of pride month.
[00:00:53] It's like interesting right. To I think oftentimes. LGBTQ eye plus [00:01:00] health is highlighted during pride, but you know, we exist all throughout the year. Right. And it's just making it joke with somebody recently. Definitely. I think it's a, it's an opportunity to celebrate. I think oftentimes there's a lot of hardships and challenges and heartache that happens, but, I think.
[00:01:20] There's a time to celebrate and have pride in who you are. But I also think it's important that we recognize how pride came to be, which that started as a riot. And it started as as fighting back back against oppression and that systemic oppression continues to this day. And so it's like, it's a continued journey.
[00:01:41] So I see it as like, yes, there's still those, there are celebrations. And there's also a recognition of the continued systemic oppression that happens in all systems in our society. And so I think that. As a direct primary care doctor, it's important that you [00:02:00] recognize the systemic oppression that exists, right?
[00:02:02] So that someone's health is going to be impacted by, whether they can get housing, whether they can get employment, whether they can access gender affirming care. That's a huge, I mean, research really shows that the health and wellbeing of the person increases dramatically when they have access to gender affirming care and transition related care.
[00:02:21] So I think that being really aware of that and knowing what that means, like it has a direct impact on all aspects of their health, mental health, and physical health and wellbeing and note, knowing the challenges that come with. The marginalization that you know, has happened for folks within the community.
[00:02:40] So being aware of all of that and then doing your best to provide affirming care means that you're going to be having such a huge impact on their health and wellbeing and it's needed. So I really hope that more of you out there will be interested in, shifting practices to make care accessible to folks.
[00:03:00] [00:03:00] I'm Melle Browning of Melle branding therapy. And this is my DPC story. Welcome to the podcast, Melle. Thanks for having me. This is wonderful. So just for the listeners to know I've known Mel for over 20 years, I think we calculated 25 before recording. And it's just incredible one to think about that. I've known someone for that long and to that it's been that number of years.
[00:03:24] So it is, it is such an honor to have you kick off our month of pride at my DPC story. And as you heard in Mel's credentials and bio, he is an LMF T who does accept cash pay for patients. And so knowing that he absolutely understands the pressures when it comes to insurance versus non-insurance driven care.
[00:03:51] And also he is a queer gender non-conforming trans male. And so he appreciates. Affirming care from a very different perspective [00:04:00] than somebody who is not necessarily part of algae, part of the LGBTQ community nor providing care yet to the LGBTQ community as a clinician. So Mel, I'm gonna toss the mic over to you, and if you can share about your practice specifically and.
[00:04:21] We'll go from there. All right. Thank you for having me. So I I am the practice owner of Mel brownie therapy and that's a private practice in Petaluma, California, and that's in Sonoma county in California. And I, my focus is on a couple of things, so I focused on trauma. So working with folks that have experienced trauma, which so many folks have as well as, depression, anxiety, life, transitions, relationship, parenting issues.
[00:04:48] So, kind of a whole host of things, but another area of focus is gender diverse folks and providing gender affirming care, as well as affirming care to anyone in [00:05:00] the LGBTQ plus community. So that's a huge area of focus for me. Now in your practice, you do accept one insurance and you also accept cash pay.
[00:05:11] And so for folks who are DPC physicians or direct specialty physicians, this is always something that is very interesting, because especially now that we're having more specialists join the direct patient care movement, how do you work with both an insurance as well as cash pay patients? And what are the challenges with both for you?
[00:05:35] Yeah, well, I think, I think it's something that a lot of therapists struggle with in terms of whether I'm going to accept insurance or not. And if I am like, How many, insurance companies. And I've really limited that just because of some of the issues with, the low pay and the amount of time that you're spending and whether or not that's going to be sustainable for a practice.
[00:05:55] And, if I can't sustain my practice, I can't provide care for, my clients. So that's been [00:06:00] something that I've considered. And then just in terms of the amount of pressures from insurance of like, what type of care I can provide and what type of care they cover and what they don't cover and trying to dictate care, that's, that's all things that I think a lot of therapists struggle with.
[00:06:15]And for me making the decision to not accept all kinds of all insurance under the sun, and, but also trying to make some things. Accessible for folks. So I think it's a, it's a back and forth kind of decision making process for a lot of therapists. But for folks that wonder why therapists don't accept a lot of insurances it's oftentimes because of the experiences that we've had with insurance and times of providing care and also trying to make our practice sustainable.
[00:06:42] So I think oftentimes that that's part of the issue. And then just in terms of a lot of things, not being covered by the insurance, but a client actually needs that. And that's what they're coming in for. That's what, that's the care that they need. So, providing an opportunity for folks to be able to, to access the care that they need.
[00:06:59] When [00:07:00] you talk about access to care, it's quite, it's, it's quite a good thing for some people who are able to pay cash for services. I mean, we've seen. Online service