N.Y. Psychiatric Residents Show Therapy Bias. ('Disheartening Finding')

By Sherman, Carl | Clinical Psychiatry News, March 2003 | Go to article overview

N.Y. Psychiatric Residents Show Therapy Bias. ('Disheartening Finding')


Sherman, Carl, Clinical Psychiatry News


NEW YORK -- To psychiatric residents--in Manhattan, anyway-personal psychotherapy is a valuable educational experience. But the use of psychotropic medication carries significant stigma, according to a poster presentation at a meeting sponsored by the American Psychoanalytic Association.

"This disheartening finding ... may have profound implications for residents' personal psychiatric treatment as well as their treatment of patients," said Dr. Sylvia Emmerich, a fourth-year resident in psychiatry at Columbia University, New York.

"It is probable that the perception of stigma extends well beyond residency training and is prevalent in our professional environment as well," Dr. Emmerich said.

Earlier studies have suggested that psychiatrists and psychiatric residents are at increased risk for psychiatric illness.

In addition, many training programs encourage residents to engage in individual psychodynamic therapy for educational purposes, according to Dr. Emmerich.

She reported findings from a survey of all second-year through fourth-year psychiatric residents training in Manhattan, nearly half of whom (137/288) returned a questionnaire.

More than half of respondents-57% (78)-were in individual treatment: 86% (67) of these in psychotherapy, 13% (10) in psychoanalysis, and 1% (1) in medication treatment alone.

Most of the psychotherapy (88%) that was received by the residents was psychodynamic, she said.

Eighteen percent of respondents (25/137) were using psychotropic medication, all but one in concurrent psychotherapy Antidepressants were most often prescribed (19), followed by hypnotics (6) and anxiolytics (5). Stimulants (2), mood stabilizers (1), and antipsychotics (1) were given less often, Dr. Emmerich said.

The vast majority of residents in treatment--94%-96%--felt that it was a valuable educational experience that influenced their work with patients. …

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