Stacey Goldstein-Dwyer

One Rio Rancho small business has more than tripled in size since the start of COVID.
Psychologist Stacey Goldstein-Dwyer owns GD Psych Services LLC in Rio Rancho.
Isolation and fear from the pandemic have affected people’s mental health. Business has been increasing quickly for GD Psych Services, especially with more people getting vaccinated and setting up in-person appointments, Goldstein-Dwyer said.
“Once the vaccine came out and people started to feel more comfortable around others, they started to respond to their mental-health needs,” she said.
In March of last year, the future was not as clear for the organization.
Goldstein-Dwyer had to pivot the company’s mostly in-person mental-health treatment to telehealth. The business took on costs from this pivot, and to offset costs, she applied for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the Paycheck Protection Program.
She said many people felt telehealth did not meet their needs “because they had been basically isolated and in self-quarantine, so everything has been telehealth or video or phone, so people were eager to get out, back into the world, and socialize.”
Before COVID, she had no employees and worked with about seven independent contractors.
The clinic has now expanded to four employees, and Goldstein-Dwyer is looking to add a fifth to fill an administrative role. She has also doubled the number of independent contractors working with her.
Goldstein-Dwyer opened a second location behind Smith’s Food and Drug Store, and will expand that office into a second suite come May.
“We are all working really hard to support our community, and our community has been expressing a lot of anxiety and anger right now,” she said. “I see it in all of the new patients that call in, high anxiety, high irritability.”
People are grieving their old way of life while having to adjust to many new changes, Goldstein-Dwyer said.
“It’s also a cultural change. We are around our families a lot more, we’re managing and multi-tasking many more things, and we’re basically in a completely different way of life,” she said. “So we’re kind of grieving, too; we’re grieving the loss of our freedom, ultimately, and just grieving our life because it is now completely different and it’ll never return to where it was before.”
Since the start of the pandemic, Goldstein-Dwyer has added mindful yoga classes and domestic violence offender intervention.
“A lot of our therapists were looking into other therapeutic modalities, and there’s something new called yoga therapy, and I said wouldn’t it be great to offer yoga itself, not necessarily the yoga therapy, but yoga practice,” she said.
A mindfulness instructor leads the class.
“I also noticed that mindfulness is also a huge piece and that’s growing. There’s been research and training on it, and that definitely fits in with the needs right now, especially with COVID. A lot of anxiety and anger have increased because of COVID, and those modalities really focus on that,” Goldstein-Dwyer said.
To offer the DVOI program, she went through the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department to become certified to offer that group.
“That came about because we noticed with COVID there’s been an increase in anger and violence and domestic disputes,” she said.
These are only a few effects COVID had, she said. It is easier than ever to reach out for support.
People can visit almost any mental-health agency’s website, fill out paperwork and set up an appointment with a provider without having to talk to anyone, she said.
“A lot of people find that easier because even saying the words, ‘I need help’ or ‘I need to see somebody,’ is significantly striking for an individual and can be very alarming and hard for them. When you say something out loud, it’s real,” Goldstein-Dwyer said.
To learn more about GD Psych Services or to set up an appointment, visit gdpsychservices.com or call 218-6383.

Assistant Editor at Rio Rancho Observer