Crystal Adkins, MSN, APRN, APN-C, PMHNP-BC

"Using an individualized approach to assist clients across the

lifespan reach their greatest potential for a brighter life." 

Let me congratulate you for taking the first step at improving your tomorrow.

Making the decision to seek support for your mental wellness can be overwhelming. As a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, my role is to assess, diagnose and develop a personalized treatment plan based on your needs. If medication is recommended, it will be prescribed in combination with other healthy lifestyle modifications important for us all. Making gradual improvements to your sleep habits, exercise routine, diet and other self-care behaviors will greatly enhance your overall mental wellness. I work with clients across the life-span assisting them to live high quality lives.

I understand from personal experience the impact psychotropic medication can have on one’s life. If you are facing challenges in your personal or professional life due to feeling sad, irritable or anxious you may benefit from medication. I specialize in treating post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, depression, mood instability, adjustment disorder and attention concerns.

My Services 

I Help Adults with the Following Areas: 

  • Single Episode Trauma

  • Complex Trauma

  • Pandemic Adjustment Distress

  • Toxic Relationships

  • Esteem Issues

  • Gender & Sexual Identity Struggles  

  • Depression & Mood Disorders

  • Anxiety & Stress Management

  • Addiction

  • Parent Coaching

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR):


Many people believe that healing from the past entails reliving their trauma in excruciating detail. This often leads people to shy away from therapy and continue to suppress the experiences and memories that are holding them back. However, that’s not the case with EMDR. 


EMDR is a client-centered treatment that uses scientifically based methods to reimagine your past and completely change your perspective of yourself and the world around you without reliving the painful memories. I am not talking about “brainwashing” here or deleting your memories. This is about removing the sting of those memories and breaking the control they have over you and all you do. 


EMDR has been heavily researched and documented, and is backed by the American Psychiatric Association, the World Health Organization, the Department of Veterans Affairs and many more as an effective treatment for trauma and other afflictions like depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and addiction. Read more about EMDR here.

Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP):


Another highly effective, evidence-based method I provide is the Safe and Sound Protocol (SSP). SSP is a non-invasive listening therapy based on the Polyvagal Theory made popular by Dr. Stephen Porges. 


This approach entails listening to specially selected and filtered music created by scientists to send messages of safety and engagement to the brain. Whether it is the pain of your past or the stress of our current living situation, our minds and bodies become stuck in a state of fight or flight hindering us from functioning effectively and experiencing joy. 


People who use SSP often report feeling calmer and more grounded, thinking more clearly, and connecting better with those around them. SSP is also an excellent platform as a precursor to traditional talk therapy as it makes the mind more open and available to receive guidance and find insight. Read more about SSP here

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):

CBT puts the power back in your hands. Your feelings and emotions are often dictated by the way you think. Realizing that your thought processes are faulty and not serving you is often the first step on the path to healing. 

CBT, another highly studied, and time proven method of psychotherapy that can have a massive effect on the way you feel and how you behave. CBT has been demonstrated to be effective for a wide range of problems including stress, grief, sadness, insomnia, anger, and relationship difficulties. Learn more about CBT here.

Healing the Inner Child:

Every person deserves a life where they are the creators of their own destiny. So often the slate of who we are was written on before we ever had a choice.


 The families we were born into and the circumstances that define our childhood determine the way we see the world and every decision we make. I understand that these things are in the past and most people just want to focus on moving forward, but what they do not realize is that inside of every one of us lives a child that just wants to feel accepted, feel that they are good enough, feel that they possess the power to gain mastery over their own lives. 


So often these inner children are denied and ignored leading to feelings of rejection, low self-esteem and powerlessness. This leaves the adult with sadness, loneliness, anxiety and immeasurable pain often resulting in unhealthy relationships, addiction and mental anguish. I see that child. I understand him/her. I can help you heal him/her so that you can move on, finally, and claim the life that you want. 

My Story

What initially drew me to the world of counseling and psychotherapy was pure curiosity. Why do people think the way they do? What is it within our minds that causes us to self-sabotage and wallow in pain? 


I wanted to know it all, from how our genetics, to our family of origin, to our myriad of life experiences creates a landscape of potential mine fields on the way to happiness. I quenched this curiosity in the field of crisis intervention for nearly a decade and then thought, “now what can I do to help?” 


I spent the next decade working with various groups from children, to the elderly, to couples and families learning and practicing different methods to achieve the ultimate goal of us all: freedom from pain and a life full of joy and satisfaction. All of these personal experiences have culminated in an eclectic approach that meets you where you are at and gives you what you need as a unique individual. 


Everyone has a story. I am able to tailor my approach to where you have come from, where you are, and where you would like to go. Your goals are my goals and I can help you find your way.

My Background

My story begins in New York where I was the daughter of a single mother and member of a loud-boisterous Italian American family. In my early teens I attended a spiritual retreat in the Florida Keys where the first spark of passion for the healing arts began. I returned there every summer and volunteered at a swim-with-the-dolphins program that utilized these amazing creatures as therapy for children with a wide array of disabilities. 


I followed my dream to the University of Miami where I majored in Psychology and minored in Biology and was able to combine my interests. After graduating as a member of the International Honors Society in Psychology and on the Dean’s List, I specially selected a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling at Nova Southeastern University in an effort to transition my knowledge base from theory to practice. 


I spent my first eight years in the field working for Henderson Behavioral Health, one of the largest mental health service providers in the state. Starting as an assessment specialist in their inpatient facility I grew to become Clinical Coordinator of Crisis Services including their Crisis Walk-In Center and Mobile Crisis Team. It was here that I honed my skills and was able to work with an amazing variety of people and presentations. 


I am honored to have earned a Certificate of Meritorious Services, Employee of the Year on two occasions, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Times Award during my time there. My days at Henderson truly laid the foundation for the therapist that I am today. 


The last half of my career I have spent working with the families of children with special needs. Realizing that the best outcomes were achieved when the adults of the household were well supported, I was proud to provide individual, couples and family counseling to our clients. 


I was also trained in cutting edge therapies like sensorimotor reflex integration which I performed on infants, toddlers, teens and adults. This time in my career broadened my horizons beyond the traditional approaches that we often see in counseling and psychotherapy.

Just For Fun

One of my biggest passions is cooking! Whereas preparing a meal after a long day can seem completely overwhelming at times, I find it really grounds and relaxes me. I love nothing more than toiling over a big pot of goodness, sprinkling in herbs, stirring it like a bubbling cauldron and taking in the delicious smells. 


My husband, a firefighter for Pompano Beach, and my nine-year-old daughter never seems to complain. And in case anyone is wondering, I am 100% team pineapple on pizza, and hot sauce on EVERYTHING! 


Also, my mother is a self-proclaimed hippie and had me trained in Transcendental Meditation when I was thirteen years old. I have always been drawn to alternative medicine and spiritual studies and have fallen back on this practice at some of the most difficult times of my life. I often like to integrate a client’s spirituality into their therapy when desired and teach many relaxation techniques to help manage the unrelenting demand and stress of the world around us.

Why Work with Me? 

Because my experience is so varied, so too is my approach. When it comes to therapy, there is no “right way” for everyone. As unique as we are as individuals, our paths to healing are just as unique. 


My clients appreciate the time that I take to get to know who they really are and meet them where they are at on their personal journey. I truly see myself as a guide and companion and know that the client-therapist relationship is the cornerstone of a positive and successful experience.

I am available to see individuals, couples and families, and work with, adults and seniors. I am able to provide sessions in the office, online through a HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform, and sometimes outdoors at a local park! Wherever my clients feel most comfortable is where the best work will be done.

Today is the First Day of the Rest of Your Life!

If you are ready to take the next step towards your Brighter Life, contact Crystal Adkins at Brighter Life Psychiatry today at (954) 391-5305 for a free 10-minute phone consultation. I look forward to speaking with you!

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