How to build a better psychiatrist

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Some thoughts on how to build a better psychiatrist:

  • Have them act based on their deepest values.  If helping people is their deepest value have their behavior be based on what works.  Let them not be most concerned with being right, but doing the right thing.  Let their behavior not be based on roles, power, money or status.  Let their behavior be based on one person helping another in need.  Let what we see be what we get.
  • Let the health of the people they serve be more important than the health of their ego or their bankbook.  Let them not put their ego ahead of their principles.  Let them be humble.  Let them know it not about them, but about the other person.  Let them know that what makes them look better may not be what helps the other person to live better.
  • Let them have the courage to admit mistakes and change their mind.  Let them know they must stand for something beyond themselves. Let them know the best teachers are also the best learners and that the people they work with have much to give they may profit from.
  • Let them know that understanding “disease” is not the same as understanding people.  You cant understand what is wrong unless you know what is right.  You cant understand what is important unless you know what is important to the people you work with.
  • Let them be doctors because they care.  Let them know that why they do what they do is as important as what they do– especially to the people they do it to.
  • Make sure that they understand if their plans and behavior dont reflect their motives that no one will believe what they say or who they are.  No one will see them as a force for a better life, only a threat to the one they have.
  • Make sure that they do what they say they are going to do.  Make sure that they are able to do what they say they are able to do.  Skill makes a difference.  People who can do better in the end do better.
  • Make sure they understand the importance of track record.  If they dont help nothing else really matters.  The only standard that really matters is helping the people you say you want to help  Too often doctors out of allegiance to a theory, to their training, to their ego and professional status, to their bank book or to all of the above forget what is important and become  as big of a problem as the problem they are trying to help people solve.

There are many other things that might help build better psychiatrists.  This is by no means an exhaustive list but where would you measure the psychiatrists you know ( on a 1-10 scale) on these dimensions?

The trust between people ultimately defines the possibilities of that relationship.  And that might be a good compass for all of us.

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