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Friday, February 4, 2011

The Face of Modern Psychiatry

Working on a short documentary for the American Psychiatric Association. The APA wants to put a face on modern Psychiatry and the video will profile four Psychiatrists. What stands out is that these days Psychiatry bares little resemblance to the early days of Freud, Jung and the rest of the gang. In fact, modern Psychiatry has transformed itself from an argument over competing theories of personality to a modern medical practice based on research and science. And yes, psychiatrists still do therapy and they can use brain imaging to shows its effectiveness. I guess you could say they've moved from an emphasis on the "mind" to a focus on the brain.

And the video? One psychiatrist we're profiling is a government research scientist trying to combat addiction. His agency is partnering with local communies to put in place early intervention and prevention strategies. The second works with brain trauma and helped create a strong public outreach and education program. The third works with children and adolescents in private practice and the ER, working one-on-one with patients in both an office and hospital setting. And the fourth manages an out-patient clinic for a University Hospital. She's concerned with caring for patients and mentoring young psychiatrists-in-training.

And while it is not the focus of the video, many people still give mental health a low priority compared to physical health. There is still a stigma attached to it and we seem to have difficulty understanding that mental illness is a disease and not simply a lack of will power.

Hopefully, the video will help us gain a little insight and a new perspective on these issues.

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