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Women's Mental Health

We offer women comprehensive treatment tailored to their unique needs. We specialize in treating psychological and psychiatric problems that arise in the context of premenstrual syndromes, infertility, pregnancy, childbirth and menopause. Our psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers share a common commitment to understanding women's mental health needs. Our aim is to provide comprehensive care that relieves distress and promotes well-being and social functioning. To this end we provide a range of psychiatric and psychotherapy/counseling services, including evaluation, medication, couples treatment, group treatment, individual therapy and supportive care.

In collaboration with our colleagues in other specialties, we provide women's mental health services for the following:

  • Complications of infertility treatments
  • Depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder during pregnancy and post partum
  • Menopause related disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance use disorders
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Migraine headaches
  • Evaluation for egg donors
  • Mental health support during pregnancy – Five trimesters clinic

Five Trimesters Clinic

The Department of Psychiatry offers a range of services to support women’s wellness during pregnancy. Our faculty includes three women psychiatrists with special expertise in advising women about the use of medication during pregnancy or while breast feeding, mood and anxiety disorders while pregnant or after birth, and support for fathers and partners. Our weekly Five Trimesters Clinic offers evaluations, brief treatment and referral by psychiatrists in training at reduced rates. Although we do not accept direct insurance payments for psychiatric care, we provide all necessary documentation for accessing out of network benefits. Our motto is: Healthy moms. Healthy babies. Happy families.


Lisa Catapano, MD, PhD
Dr. Catapano received her MD and PhD in Neurobiology from Harvard Medical School in 2003. She performed her residency training in psychiatry at GWU and completed a clinical research fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health, studying the pathophysiology of depression and bipolar disorder. Her clinical interests include anxiety and mood disorders in women, particularly infertility-related and postpartum depression.

Sabine Cornelius, PhD, MSW, LICSW
Sabine Cornelius, PhD, MSW, LICSW, is licensed as an independent clinical social worker in the District of Columbia. In 2002, she obtained her Master’s degree in clinical social work from the Smith College School for Social Work, where she also served as adjunct faculty in 2009. Ms. Cornelius further holds a doctorate degree in economics and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in international mental health at the Department of Mental Health at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Pooka Lakshmin, MD
Dr. Pooja Lakshmin graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Women’s Studies and Biological Basis of Behavior. She pursed her medical degree from Jefferson Medical College, and did her first and second year of residency training at Stanford University. Dr. Lakshmin completed her psychiatry residency at the George Washington University Department of Psychiatry, where she received the Diane K. Shrier award for research in Women's Health. In addition to clinical training, she has completed postdoctoral research training at Rutgers University using fMRI to investigate the sequence of activation in brain regions during sexual response in women. 

Dr. Lakshmin teaches medical students, and conducts research in the field of women’s mental health, including studying women with depression in India, and narrative therapy for survivors of intimate partner violence. She specializes in treating mood and anxiety disorders in women, including post-partum depression, pregnancy related trauma, and grief after miscarriage. 

Julia B. Frank, MD
Dr. Frank is a 1977 graduate of the Yale University School of Medicine. She completed a year of internal medicine residency before finishing a psychiatry residency and fellowship in the department of psychiatry at Yale. She is a member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, The Association of Women Psychiatrists and the Society for Women's Health Research. She is also a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Over the course of her career, Dr. Frank has done research in post partum psychiatric disorders, panic disorder and post traumatic stress disorder. She has written review articles about domestic violence, women's mental health in primary care settings and the psychiatric consequences of head injuries. Her current interests include the treatment of psychiatric disorders in relation to reproductive events (pregnancy, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, perimenopausal psychiatric problems), seasonal affective disorder, depression and anxiety, and ADD in adults. Her approach is practical and eclectic, combining thorough medical evaluation, where indicated, with up to date psychopharmacology and diverse approaches to psychotherapy, especially interpersonal therapy.