A former colleague calls Dr. Deborah Nadel an "excellent clinician and an excellent psychiatrist"
Credit: Ramey

The psychiatrist who hospitalized Britney Spears is a highly respected therapist known for her compassion, a former colleague tells PEOPLE.

“She’s an excellent clinician and an excellent psychiatrist,” says Harold Young, the clinical director at the Maple Counseling Center in Beverly Hills, where Spears’s psychiatrist Dr. Deborah Nadel worked for about five years.

Board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Nadel graduated from University of California Medical School in San Francisco 18 years ago, and she did her residency at UCLA, records show.

Nadel, who has recently started treating the troubled pop star, had instigated Spears’s second hospitalization in January, this time at UCLA Medical Center’s psychiatric ward, for a 72-hour evaluation, sources tell PEOPLE.

Spears chose Nadel from a list of doctors recommended by her lawyers, a source says.

Young, who worked with Nadel about 12 years ago at the center – a non-profit agency that provides low-cost counseling to people in need – said Nadel, who is now a voluntary assistant clinical professor at UCLA, is “well thought of in the therapeutic community.”

“I think [Britney] is in somebody’s hands who will be caring, concerned, compassionate and respectful,” says Young.