Wednesday, 20 May 2015


Psychiatry? Do You Mean Psy-COOL-atry?!

Psychiatry is an increasingly innovative and much-needed service in our modern society. With new technologies being developed daily to aid in the practice of psychiatry, we can see the continual advancement of this science and the way it positively affects our world.

Definition time!

Whut Da Heck is……..

A Psychiatrist :

A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental health and emotional problems. Because of extensive medical training, the psychiatrist understands the body’s functions and the complex relationship between emotional illness and other medical illness.  The psychiatrist is thus the mental health professional and physician best qualified to distinguish between physical and psychological causes of both mental and physical distress.  

Psychoanalysis :

Psychoanalysis is an intensive form of individual psychotherapy which requires frequent sessions over several years.  The psychiatrist, who must have additional years of training in psychoanalysis, helps the patient to recall and examine events, memories, and feelings from the past, many of them long forgotten, as a means of helping the patient understand present feelings and behavior and make.

How do You Become a Psychiatrist?

To become a psychiatrist, there are many different steps one must take. In the first two years of medical school, students must take multiple courses including chemistry, biochemistry and physiology, not to mention psychiatry, behavioural science and neuroscience. During their last two years of medical school, students are placed in clerkships, where they learn a variety of medical specialties by working closely with different physicians. Medical students interested in psychiatry will end up taking a psychiatry clerkship where they “take care of patients with mental health in the hospital and in outpatient settings. They also have an opportunity to work with medical and surgical patients who may have psychiatric problems or who have difficulty coping with their illness” (APA). Psychiatry, a medical specialty like cardiology or neurology, requires further study after obtaining a medical degree. This means that after graduating from medical school, students will need to apply to specialty psychiatry programs to extend their knowledge in that particular medical field. In Canada, “a license to practise medicine in their province is required as well as a medical degree and a specialist certification in psychiatry by either the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada or a provincial college” (CPA).

Dr. Alfred Bellows from I Dream of Jeannie

What Does a Psychiatrist do?

The CPA defines psychiatrists as physicians who "enhance the person's quality of life by providing psychiatric assessment, treatment and rehabilitation care to people with psychiatric disorders in order to prevent, reduce and eliminate the symptoms and subsequent disabilities resulting from mental illness or disorder". They use a wide range of treatments to aid in the recovery of patients, including psychotherapy, medications and hospitalization (depending on the need of the patient). With advancements in psychiatry, “new technologies [have been introduced] in the diagnosis and treatment of many of these illnesses. For example, the DSM-IV diagnostic manual, brain imaging, and new pharmaceuticals have significantly improved diagnosis and treatment for these illnesses” (APA). Psychotherapy is a form of treatment in which the psychiatrist and the patient meet on a regular basis to discuss and analyse concerning emotions or problems. During the time period of a few sessions over a couple of weeks or regular sessions over several years, the psychiatrist helps the patient to understand the cause of certain problems and come to solutions. There are other forms of psychotherapies, like those which “help patients change behaviors or thought patterns, psychotherapies that help patients explore the effect of past relationships and experiences on present behaviors, psychotherapies that treat troubled couples or families together, and more treatments that are tailored to help solve other problems in specific ways” (APA). What’s more, psychiatrists can also go on to become sub-specialists by studying Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Addiction Psychiatry, Forensic Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry, and Psychosomatic Medicine, to name a few. Becoming a sub-specialist can give a physician the chance to develop particularly refined skills toward a certain group of people.
Where do Psychiatrists Work?

Psychiatrists work in a large variety of places due to the shortage in the field. These days, they can be found working in community mental health teams, general practices, private practices, psychiatric hospitals, university medical centers, community agencies, courts and prisons, nursing homes, industry, government, military settings, schools and universities, rehabilitation programs, emergency rooms, and hospices. In Canada, “the average psychiatrist salary is reported to be about CA$120,000 per annum” according to HealthCare Worker Salary. Psychiatrists can also choose to work independently, as a partnership or for a larger organization.

Psychiatrists in the Media

(Fictional) psychiatrists have been included in many different popular shows and movies over the years. Examples such as Dr. Alfred Bellows in I Dream of Jeannie (one of the best tv shows ever!) and Dr. Katharine Wyatt from Grey’s Anatomy. Other examples from popular media include:

Dr. Emil Skoda
Law and Order
Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel
Dr. Tobias F√ľnke
Arrested Development
Dr. Minerva
It’s Kind of a Funny Story
Dr. Marvin Monroe
The Simpsons
Dr. Linda Freeman
Two and a Half Men
Dr. George Huang
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit
Dr. Benjamin Harmon
American Horror Story
Dr. Wick
Girl, Interrupted

Dr. Katharine Wyatt from Grey's Anatomy

All in all, psychiatrists are a pretty cool group of humans working to help improve the lives of other people. Psychiatry is an amazing branch of medicine and continues to become more important as we discover more about the effects of mental health in correlation to physical well-being. Hopefully, this has pushed you to think more about other options in medicine and generally about the awesome jobs you can discover following a career in the sciences!

Pce out loveys, will talk to you in a bit,


Sources of Reference:

Canadian Psychiatrist Association:

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