Ask Paul at the RSIC: Get to know RSIC’s Behavioral Health team (part 2) |

Ask Paul at the RSIC: Get to know RSIC’s Behavioral Health team (part 2)

Paul Snyder, MA, LADC-S
Special to First Nation’s Focus
The RSIC's Behavioral Health team has a vision for your spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health.
Photo: Shutterstock

EDITOR’S NOTE: This month’s Ask Paul column is the second part of a two-part column. This month, Paul continues to outline the outstanding credentials of the Reno-Sparks Tribal Health Center’s Behavioral Health Program staff. Go here to read part one, originally published on Dec. 20 at

I have been writing this article for the last few years about how the RSTHC Behavioral Health Program might be able to serve you and your family’s needs. The behavioral health team has a vision for your spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health.

People understand if they have a toothache they go to the RSTHC Dentist Department. If they have problems with their eyes, they go to RSTHC Optometry. If they need help with their body they see their RSTHC physicians.

Although we have discussed substance use and/or mental health concerns that can be treated in our program, we have not discussed the additional health care and self-wellness reasons to go to the RSTHC Behavioral Health Department.

In order to do this we have to explore what services are available and most importantly, the qualifications and experience of the persons and the quality of the organization who are providing these services. This article is created to answer these questions as well as give our readers insights into the types and quality of services they deserve to receive.

Dr. Earl Nielsen

Dr. Earl Nielsen is also a clinical psychologist. Nielsen, Ph.D. worked for the State of Nevada for six years, then the University of Nevada, Reno for two years. Dr. Nielsen has also been in private practice as a clinical and forensic psychologist.

Dr. Nielsen is trained to work with children, adolescents, adults, and families. Dr. Nielsen conducts psychotherapy using the Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioral models for treatment in the Native American population. Dr. Nielsen also conducts a variety of psychological evaluations, including forensic, mental health, psychoeducational and disability measures.

Dr. Nielsen also offers anger management group on Wednesdays from 4-5 p.m., and domestic violence prevention group on Thursdays from 4-5 p.m. for our community.

Dr. Lyle Noisy Hawk

Dr. Lyle Noisy Hawk is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe, located in South Dakota. His Lakota name is Wicahpi Yamni, Three Stars.

Dr. Noisy Hawk completed his graduate studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He then successfully completed a pre-doctoral American Psychological Association internship at Southwest Behavioral Health in Phoenix. Dr. Noisy Hawk is working on his post-doctoral supervision hours at the 12 RSTHC as a psychological assistant. He will be working under the supervision of Dr. Nielson, clinical psychologist.

After accumulating expected post-doctoral supervised hours, Dr. Noisy Hawk intends to apply for licensure as a psychologist. As part of his studies at Minnesota, Dr. Noisy Hawk’s doctoral research entailed interviewing seven traditional Lakota healers in the Lakota language that included the meaning within the use of sacred discourse in relation to psychological well-being.

He also studied positive psychology to better understand both a traditional Lakota perspective and a Western psychological perspective of well-being.

Dominic Nardini

Dominic Nardini is a licensed marriage family psychotherapist. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and a Master’s of Science in clinical psychology & family systems.

Dominic has 11 years of experience in Nevada. Dominic provides individual, couples, family and group psychotherapy. He uses an approach which supports multiple goals and a higher level of care and quality of service for Native Americans.

He says, “Our behavioral health team provides a collaboration of resources and expertise. Treatment may be clinically staffed, reviewed and designed for that particular case.”

In addition, Dominic offers a supportive, safe and trusting group program called the Talking Circle for Native Americans. This group offers energy and information to promote individual development. This group meets every Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m.

Michelle Jim-Katenay

Michelle Jim-Katenay, certified alcohol and drug counselor (CADC) is an enrolled member of the Duck Valley Shoshone Paiute Tribe. She has worked for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony for 15 years and has worked her last 10 years at the RSTHC in behavioral health.

Michelle has experience working with our adolescents and elders, and she is also a certified safeTALK (suicide prevention) and Drug Endangered Children presenter. Michelle received her bachelor’s of science in human development and family studies from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Veronica Domingues Gephart

Veronica Domingues Gephart, M.A. CPC, is a licensed clinical professional counselor (CPC) and is the RSTHC Behavioral Health Department Division Manager. Veronica is an enrolled member of the Yavapai-Apache Nation with lineage from the Kashaia-Pomo and Coastal Miwok Indians in Northern California.

She acquired her Master’s of Arts in counseling and educational psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno and an undergraduate degree in American multicultural studies at Sonoma State University. She has minor degrees in Native American studies and addiction counseling and prevention services, as well as certification in marital, couples, individual and group counseling.

Veronica comes from her own Native American community and has perfected the art of providing therapeutic mental health and substance use healing for Tribal communities for over 20 years while at the same time relating to the struggles and challenges of the community she serves in balancing traditional knowledge with Western philosophy.

Veronica offers a safe, healing environment and listens with her heart as well as uses her expertise to help the person become in touch with the core beliefs and values. Veronica has experience in all areas of mental health and substance use disorders and is an expert in Native American intergenerational trauma, adolescent care, and women’s issues.

As a manager, Veronica is always approachable and willing to help. Her open door policy and courageous, forward thinking mentality has created an outstanding team of caring professionals who strive to provide spiritual, emotional and mental health to the individual, their family, and the community.

Receiving the best care possible

As was outlined last month, the best way to receive optimal care for you or your loved one is to ask your provider these questions: What are your qualifications? Where did you get your education? What degrees do you have and what do they mean? Who else is on your team? Who is your supervisor and manager? Do they offer services specifically for the Native American population and are they culturally responsible or trained in your specific population?

If people say they are offering substance use programs, ask if they are they SAPTA certified or what certifications do they have? What model do they use? Also, take a tour of the facility and meet the providers. People need to take ownership in their spiritual, emotional, mental and physical health.

If you or a loved one is struggling with behavioral health issues, take the time to explore the programs available. Ask lots of questions and make sure you are receiving services from qualified, culturally competent, and good resources.

Your community leaders believe in and have heavily invested in your healthcare. They believe healthy individuals make healthy families and healthy families make healthy communities. Everyone wins when everybody helps each other obtain and maintain health spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically! O

“Ask Paul” is a health column by Paul Snyder, MA, LADC-S, a Substance Use Counselor at the Reno-Sparks Tribal Health Center. It publishes each month in The Camp News, the monthly newsletter for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony community. Have a question for Paul? Email him at