A Beacon of Hope

Dr. Chung Trinh

NB|AZ® works with practice dedicated to changing and improving lives

For many business owners, offering a product or service that can be life changing is a goal, an aspiration. But for Dr. Chung Trinh, changing people’s lives is his mission.

An expert in transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy, Trinh and his co-founder Dr. Yukari Kawamoto began Lighthouse Psychiatry in 2016 when they combined their individual talents and passions to offer a new technology in the field of psychiatry.

“In psychiatry, there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in terms of treatment that’s not medication related,” says Trinh. “Everything has been focused on creating new drugs to deal with mental health. Beyond that, progress has been really slow…until they came up with TMS.”

According to Trinh, TMS technology has been around for some time. It was initially used to map brain location, but the application in mental health began in 1985 when scientists found it was a noninvasive way of impacting the brain and brain tissue. In 2008, the FDA approved TMS to treat depression.

The technology works by using a targeted pulsed magnetic field, similar to what is used in an MRI machine, to send magnetic pulses to the brain, stimulating areas that are underactive in depression. It is an outpatient procedure that is administered daily over the course of four to six weeks.

“It’s a very gentle process that actually changes your brain chemistry and causes neuroplasticity, which means your brain’s centers network together better, thereby increasing function,” Trinh says.

To further enhance the effectiveness of TMS, Trinh and his staff at Lighthouse Psychiatry infuse other aspects of treatment and therapy designed to treat the whole person.

“The technology is a tool that we know works,” he says. “But through the course of their treatment, we really pay close attention to the patient and how they’re doing. We implement an informal version of talk therapy with them, and we spend time to engage their lives and their challenges. The impact is tremendous.”

That focus on caring for the whole patient is something Trinh imparts to his whole staff, who, he says, is all about attending to the patient’s needs, giving them positive feedback, engaging in their lives, and making them feel like they’re worth it.

“Our patients need to know that they matter,” he says. “We put a lot of effort into that.”

A native of California, Trinh decided to open his practice in Arizona because, he says, the state is one of the highest in demand for mental health care, but one of the lowest in resources.

“That’s what drew me out here—the fact that there’s an actual need. I knew this was the place for us to not only accomplish our business goals, but to also genuinely help people and satisfy that interpersonal need to feel good about what we do,” says Trinh.

To help accomplish their goals, Trinh reached out to National Bank of Arizona after being referred to them by a colleague. He met with the branch manager and shared their challenges and hurdles of starting a new practice in an unfamiliar market.

“Since the very beginning, they’ve been nurturing and supportive,” says Trinh. “Over the course of a year, they’ve walked us through the process. I truly feel they’re invested in us and really support what we’re about. I feel lucky to be working with a bank that shares our vision.”

Looking ahead, Trinh says he’d like to expand his practice with another office or two. But more important than that is creating a lasting impression and legacy with Lighthouse Psychiatry.

“We take great pride in what we do because we invest wholeheartedly in the patient,” Trinh says. “We’re not treating an illness; we’re trying to change lives.”