“I see my success when a patient has learned enough coping skills and handles his or her business without having a panic attack,” says Dr. Rabia Jafri of Rock Landing Psychological Group PLC (RLPG).
Jafri graduated medical school at Pakistan’s Sindh Medical University and completed her residency in psychiatry at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) at Sentara Norfolk General.
“My father was a wonderful man, how, with his words, he helped so many people in need,” Jafri says of lessons he taught his six children. “He created this culture of helping others that we all learned from him.”
Jafri came from Pakistan to the United States in 1996 after marrying Naved Jafri, obstetrician and gynecologist at Obstetrics & Gynecology Associates of Hampton. The couple has four children: son Yusuf practices law in Richmond; son Saad is in his third year at EVMS; daughter Samaia is a freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) studying pre-nursing; and daughter Ayla is a high school student.
In 2013, Jafri joined RLPG, a private practice of psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists and licensed professional counselors, offering psychological testing and psychiatric consultation and follow-up care. Jafri provides psychiatric evaluation and medication management to adolescents and adults. She specializes in the treatment of mood disorders, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, ADD, with a particular interest in therapy-based approaches and psychodynamic therapy.
One thing Jafri loves about psychiatry is that words can help before medicines do. “Not everyone is here for medications,” she says. “We can say things to make someone’s life better; this is power of words, the power of connection.”
RLPG has two nurse practitioners who meet with the doctors for monthly meetings and whenever questions arise. Currently, a VCU student is doing her final rotation. “I started working with students because the knowledge I have should be shared,” Jafri says. “It’s about teaching each other.”
“In the future, we would love to practice a more holistic approach,” Jafri says of RLPG. “If possible, including yoga and healthy eating, which used to be our medicines in the past.” She also recommends getting outdoors as a natural way to increase healthy chemicals without worrying about medical side effects.
When Covid-19 restrictions were mandated, office manager Andrea Chandler took care of everything to set up safe virtual sessions. Their clinicians saw a huge increase in mental health needs, such as symptoms of depression, anxiety, job difficulties, school and home. Most of the 30-plus clinicians still practice from private settings at home.
“I appreciate our in-office administrative staff for staying with us through those difficult times,” Jafri adds.
“Dr. Jafri has the best and biggest heart of any doctor I have worked with,” Chandler says. “She’s everything every doctor should want to be for their patients.”
Dr. Jafri is Muslim and speaks Urdu and Hindi, which help in her work with Hampton Roads Refugee Relief (HR3). As founder, she began in 2016 talking to a friend who told her about local Syrian refugees. “He told me about the apartment complex where they were housed and I decided to visit them,” she says. “They are real people. With families and struggles.”
HR3 grew from this event. In addition to onsite assistance to local refugee families, HR3 offers food distribution, tutoring, medical/health assistance, English as a Second Language (ESL) and Islamic education classes at the request of Afghan parent refugees. A local lawyer lends HR3 an office in his building, and it has one paid employee as its executive director.
Jafri received a 2023 Peninsula Humanitarian Award from the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities in honor of her work with all the amazing volunteers who help local refugees.
“One thing: when your right hand is giving, your left hand should not know,” she says humbly. “Our people continue to do what they can to make people’s lives better.”
Jafri makes time to read books, learn about different cultures and discuss a variety of subjects with her children. She’s always been a fan of the mountains, where she finds peace and humility in their magnificence.
“Whatever blessings we are given are to be shared,” she says. “When I give in charity with whatever I have been given, God gives back 10 times to me; this is His promise and I have a firm belief in this. In Arabic, we have a word for this: Waseela. I am the Waseela for many people, so my job is to do this wherever I can with whatever I have.”
TO THE POINT:
Rabia Jafri, MD
Rock Landing Psychological Group PLC
Address: 11825 Rock Landing Dr., Newport News, VA 23606
Contact: Andrea Chandler