Choosing Right: A Psychiatrists Guide To Starting A New Relationship

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Athletes often mentally prepare for a competition with as much intensity as they physically train their body. Others use this technique to proactively prepare for challenging life events. A psychologist can help you improve your mental clarity by acting as an unbiased set of ears. Often, people find their own solutions just by hearing themselves talk out loud in therapy.

Simply getting their problems out in the open helps many people improve their mental clarity , be more able to concentrate , and become more task-oriented. Psychologists are trained to be great listeners. Sometimes multiple symptoms are caused by larger problems.


Mental disorders can manifest themselves in several ways. A psychologist can be a helpful tool in your proverbial health kit. By helping you keep a clear mind and manage any stress, anxiety, phobias, and other problems you face, a psychologist can help you get the most out of life and keep you free from symptoms of depression and other mental problems.

Don't face mental health challenges alone. Instead, learn how to get the support you need to thrive. How does Xanax for depression work? Xanax is generally prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders. However, some doctors may prescribe it off label…. The relationship between Topamax and depression is complex. Topamax can cause depression and may also be used as a treatment for depression when other…. The link between PCOS and depression is clear. Insulin resistance, inflammation, obesity, and hormonal imbalance of PCOS can all contribute to…. People with depression may try to cope with feelings like sadness, loss, and anger on their own by "self-medicating" engaging in substance abuse as a….

Catatonic depression is characterized by severe depression with additional symptoms like the inability to move and lack of response to stimuli. The holidays can induce panic, anxiety, and depression. These are some coping strategies that can help you enjoy the season and not dread it.

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Read up on these faith-inspired tips for managing loss, depression, or anxiety during the holidays. These podcasts highlight the challenges of living with an invisible illness and offer the tools you need to take control. When to Consult a Psychologist. Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Loss Stress and anxiety Depression Phobias Family and relationships Habits and addictions Performance enhancement Mental clarity Mental disorders Finding help Is it time to get some help?

Stress and anxiety. Family and relationship issues. Unhealthy habits and addictions. But over the course of time, mutual wishes for a personal relationship have understandably, and ineluctably, come to the fore. Now the two have a real problem. Some behaviors — such as having a sexual relationship or entering a financial relationship with a current patient — are considered absolutely unethical and are subject to professional discipline, such as revocation of a license to practice medicine, and to malpractice actions.

There is more debate about whether psychiatrists can ever ethically enter a romantic or a financial relationship with a former patient, but even here there is a trend toward tighter rules and regulations.

For example, until a few years ago, the American Psychiatric Association policies stated that a psychiatrist member of the Association needed to wait at least two years before dating a former patient. Some hospitals have written policies that prohibit psychiatrists from ever socializing with current or former patients, and subject any psychiatrist who does so to the possibility of disciplinary action, up to and including termination from the hospital staff.

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These hospitals, in many cases, tacitly exempt certain social interactions between patients and doctors, such as those that occur at hospital fundraisers. They are frequently presented with gifts, sometimes ones that are handmade especially for the psychiatrist perhaps a sweater, or piece or art , as human expressions of gratitude and friendship.

In some cases, the psychiatrist can find a way to decline the invitation or the gift without creating hurt feelings, distancing the patient emotionally, harming the therapeutic alliance, or placing the treatment at risk. Declining or rejecting a gift or an invitation may do more harm than good. In fact, accepting the invitation or gift might deepen the emotional bond between the two parties and lead to a stronger relationship.

The psychiatrist, in some such situations, faces a troubling dilemma. This kind of scenario presents one of the core dilemmas that practicing psychiatrists currently face. Working it through can be enhanced by an understanding of the philosophy of friendship and how it might apply to contemporary psychiatric practice. In the Nicomachean Ethics , Aristotle grappled with what defines the essence of friendship and made some key points that remain relevant to the current debate in philosophy and psychiatry.

The son becomes a man, the patient gets well — and the once lopsided relationship moves onto a more equal footing. Aristotle here talks about 3 distinct kinds of friendship. The first 2, which are far less desirable than the third, are rooted in pleasure and utility; when pleasure and usefulness dissolve for one or both parties in the dyad, so too does the friendship.

There is no well-considered reason that such friendship cannot develop between an emotionally attuned psychiatrist and a healthy patient over the course of a long term treatment. Such a development is a rare event, certainly, perhaps even a black swan; but it may constitute the very best outcome of a psychiatric treatment rather than be something we feared, regulate against, or punish. Aristotle writes:. It is natural that such friendships should be infrequent; for such men are rare.

Those who quickly show the marks of friendship to each other wish to be friends, but are not friends unless they both are lovable and know the fact; for a wish for friendship may arise quickly, but friendship does not. Aristotle The contemporary psychotherapy and psychoanalytic literatures are rife with references to the importance of the Aristotelian ideal of a long-term emotional bond and trust between the two parties, even in light of the obvious differences between them e. The same can be said of more recent philosophy of friendship.

The great pragmatist philosopher and educator John Dewey, in his wonderful book Art as Experience , grapples with the question of how one culture absorbs the artistic contributions of a preceding culture. In his explanation of this creative and imaginative sociocultural process, he makes a comparison to the growth of a deep friendship.

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His description could be equally true of the therapeutic relationship in psychiatry:. The problem in question is not unlike that we daily undergo in the effort to understand another person with whom we habitually associate.

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All friendship is a solution of the problem. Friendship and intimate affection are not the result of information about another person even though knowledge may further their formation.

But it does so only as it becomes an integral part of sympathy through the imagination. It is when the desires and aims, the interests and modes of response of another become an expansion of our own being that we understand him. We learn to see with his eyes, hear with his ears, and their results give true instruction, for they are built into our own structure.

Dewey In their training, psychiatrists are far more likely to read the work of psychiatrist Glen Gabbard than they are to read Aristotle, Dewey, or Helm. Rooted in the Freudian tradition, he tends to see the most powerful emotional forces in the therapeutic dyad to be repetitions of problematic, traumatic early experiences.

In this mainline view, countertransference needs to be identified, managed, and never acted out.

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When psychiatrists do act out countertransference, they may put the patient at risk of harm or exploitation. Real world experience has indeed taught us that a small but troublesome minority of psychiatrists do sociopathically exploit vulnerable patients for their own sexual or other selfish gratification. However, most countertransference reactions the vast majority, in fact are not driven or accompanied by exploitative dynamics — they are more likely to be driven by the affiliative, loving dynamics which Aristotle, Dewey, and Helm discuss.

Those are not the writers that most psychiatrists read these days, however. Psychiatrists are more likely to question the possibly pathologic nature of their countertransference feelings than to accept them and elaborate upon them in order to forge a closer human connection with the patient.

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Hardimon argues that professional morality and ethics are rooted more in institutional and fiduciary roles than in character virtues of the human individual playing those roles. And the professional regulations at the levels of hospitals, clinics, physician associations, and state licensing boards may be overly rigid, guided by out-of-date theories like classical psychoanalysis, and focused on preventing worst-case scenarios rather than developing guidelines for more ordinary situations. The open-ended views of friendship, such as those of Aristotle, Dewey, and Helm, appear to have little place in contemporary psychiatric thinking or practice.

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Can patients and psychiatrists be friends? We might approach it by first asking whether we wish to formulate a modern or postmodern response. Like most contemporary philosophers, I reject out of hand any absolutist answer to this or related questions — there is no metaphysical truth about the world, or any norm independent of our own human experience, that will help us here.

Habermas has great faith in reason and discourse.