Psychiatry Residents Should Study Dynamic Psychiatry

Posted on June 15th, 2011 by Dr. Blumenfield

Young psychiatry residents today choosing to go into the field of psychiatry are like many other young people in that they are idealistic, motivated to help people and want to make a difference in the world . I say “world” because much of our thinking today is global. Emerging psychiatrists in the U.S.  today not only may be first or second generation Americans, they also might be international graduates with connections, to their native land. They are also networked to friends and colleagues all over the world. Many psychiatrists today, as was the case when I trained, are drawn to psychiatry because they are fascinated by human behavior and the complexities of the human mind, relationships, response to trauma, sexuality, child development as well as the new discoveries in neurochemistry, psychosomatic medicine, genetics and psychopharmacology. As a concerned generation they are also interested in social issues, the plight of underprivileged and of course the world wide economic crisis which surrounds them. However, too many of them narrow their focus early in their career and gravitate towards mainly doing psychopharmacology, forensic psychiatry, working in ERs , running inpatient units etc. These are obviously essential aspects of our profession which do require great talent and skill. However, it is not necessary to put aside the interests which brought them into psychiatry in the first place  in order to include this work as part of their profession. Nor should new psychiatrists put aside their curiosity in  learning about  psychoanalytic theory and psychodynamic psychiatry. If they do embrace this course of study they will find it extremely relevant to so many of the other areas which they have cultivated in their training. If they choose to make it their primary field of interest they will not only be gratified in their work with patients but they will find many meaningful doors open to them in their professional work. They will also be better equipped to examine the important issues which are facing people in this changing world. For example more soldiers are killing themselves then are being killed by the enemy in our combat zones. An increasing number of soldiers are returning with  psychological issues that go beyond a simple conditioned stress response . There is a despair in an increasing number people related to the changing economic and social conditions. Privacy issues, relationships, marriage, sexuality are all greatly influenced by our social media. I believe the modern  psychiatrist owes it to him or herself to consider developing as much training, experience and exposure to psychoanalytic theory and psychodynamic psychiatry as possible in order to be a relevant psychiatrist in today’s world

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