What is it about?

Physicians training to be psychiatrists should be encouraged to seek psychotherapy for themselves, not only for the sake of their own mental health, but because it will make them better, more empathic psychiatrists. Learning psychotherapy includes book knowledge as well as experiential knowledge.

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Why is it important?

Psychiatry is a broad field including psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, and new interventional psychiatric treatments. There is pressure to limit the amount of time spent on psychotherapy training in psychiatry residency as other areas of intervention have grown. Research has shown that "book knowledge" of psychotherapy gives only some of the necessary skills to be a psychotherapist. Residency directors have a role in supporting and promoting personal therapy for psychiatry residents to build their own therapy skills.

Perspectives

Psychiatry residents should be encouraged to engage in personal therapy. This can be supported by resident directors by providing curated lists of therapists and allowing for time during training to devote to personal therapy.

Megan Pruette
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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This page is a summary of: “Know Thyself”: Supporting Personal Psychotherapy During Psychiatry Residency, American Journal of Psychotherapy, August 2022, American Psychiatric Association, DOI: 10.1176/appi.psychotherapy.20220022.
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