About Us

About Alternative Psychology

Alternative Psychiatry has highly qualified psychiatrists, advanced registered nurse practitioners, psychotherapists and clinical resource liaisons. We care about providing the best quality mental health care to our Patients.

We know that our patients are entitled to the most convenient, affordable, and accessible psychiatric and psychotherapeutic services and strive to live up to that goal. Alternative Psychiatry offers a full range of services, including medication management. We help under or uninsured individuals, under-served populations, and the general public.

Our Team

Mark Sylvester, MD ABAM

Mark Sylvester, MD, ABAM, was born and raised in Sarasota, Florida. He received his medical education at the University of Miami and training at the University of Florida College of Medicine. Dr. Sylvester received graduate education in Neuropsychopharmacology and Psychobiology. He is board certified in Psychiatry & Neurology as well as Addiction Medicine. In addition to caring for his patients with FCITT, Dr. Sylvester practices Functional Psychiatry and Integrative Health at Alternative Psychiatry.

Dr. Sylvester is an adjunct faculty member at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) where he lectures and clinically trains medical students. He is active in research and is published in the Journal of Biomechanics, Journal of Global Drug Policy, and American Journal of Psychiatry, on topics related to biomechanics, obesity/food addiction, professionalism, addiction in clinical practice, and psychiatric symptoms in end-of-life care.

Richard G. Schulman, PhD

Richard G. Schulman, PhD is a licensed psychologist in the state of Florida. He was granted a license to practice psychology in 1987. He received a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of South Florida in 1986. His dissertation topic was a test to measure cognitive distortions in bulimia nervosa. He completed an internship in clinical psychology at the Palo Alto VA Medical Center. While there he worked on an inpatient psychiatric setting and the Family Studies Unit.

Dr. Schulman is a trauma specialist with experience treating chronic pain, eating disorders, and substance use disorders. He has wide experience in psychosomatic medicine. He has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings, with adults and adolescents. He is also well versed in individual, family, couples, and group therapy.

Dr. Schulman is the author of “The Labyrinth of Healing: The Emotional Shifting Process.” The book documents his technique of mind-body-spirit healing that involves the psychotherapist simultaneously working with a body therapist. He is a musician and songwriter. He founded the “Dreamwalkers” band and was executive producer on the band’s first album. He is the father of two grown sons, one a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, the other a filmmaker.

Abigail Butterfield, APRN

Abigail Butterfield was born and raised in Massillon, Ohio and relocated to Florida in 2017. She is an Adult and Geriatric Nurse Practitioner certified to practice by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She completed her undergraduate degree earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Walsh University in 2010. She worked as a registered nurse for several years on a surgery and trauma floor and gained additional experience while covering on medical/surgical, physical rehabilitation and urology units as well. She completed her graduate degree at Walden University in 2010 earning a Master of Science in Nursing. She has been practicing since 2014 as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse and gained experience in Behavioral health and Addiction Recovery, Hospice and Palliative care, transitional care, home care, extended care facilities and independent living in addition to working in the primary care setting, walk in clinic and via telemedicine.

Sandra Hatfield, MSN, APRN, PMHNP-BC

Sandra was born and raised in eastern Kentucky. Her nursing career began in 2000, and she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Western Governor’s University. She completed her Master of Science in Nursing degree specializing in psychiatry from Frontier Nursing University in Kentucky.

Sandra is a board-certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner and licensed in FL, NC, SC, and IL.

In her spare time, Sandra enjoys playing her guitar or taking walks with her 15-year-old schnauzer, Daisy. She is a member of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.

Carolyn Harkness, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC

Carolyn was born and raised in southern West Virginia. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from King University in Bristol, TN. She went on to complete her Master of Science in Nursing degree from Simmons University in Boston.

Carolyn is licensed as an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse in FL and SC and is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She is also an active member in the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the Sarasota Council for Advanced Practice Nursing.

Carolyn has more than nine years of nursing experience in various specialties including mental health nursing and psychiatry. She is a compassionate, experienced provider who has cared for and treated various problems and disorders in patients of all ages. She is an adjunct faculty member at Keiser University in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Carolyn is also a provider in various assisted living and skilled nursing facilities in Sarasota providing primary care and dermatological care.

Carolyn currently resides in Lakewood Ranch, FL with her husband and two children.