My training in psychiatry was at the University of Southern California with a clinical base at Los Angeles County Hospital. Over more than 30 years, I have practiced psychiatric care in a variety of settings, including inpatient, outpatient, crisis, and medical hospitals. I currently live halftime in Seattle and halftime in Woodland, Washington—so that I can practice at the Kaiser Longview/Kelso clinic. This clinic is special in that it has a personal connection to members and the community. My hobbies include motorcycles and reading actual books and newspapers. Very old school, but I like the physical feel and smell of paper and ink!
The practice of psychiatry has changed greatly over the last 3 decades. It is now focused on diagnosis and prescribing medications, and our time with patients is very limited. Well-qualified master's level clinicians focus more on "talk therapy" or "psychotherapy," using standardized therapies that have proved to be effective. Be that as it may, I still try get to know my patients at a level that goes deeper than just a set of symptoms. This often includes understanding the "narrative" or story that most of us use to explain our lives, such as "I am always unlucky" or "no one understands me." Part of change involves letting go of these negative self-images and entertaining alternative and more positive self-concepts. As a result of both drug-company propaganda and the appeal of the illness model ("I have a disease, and I can't make any change without medicine"), mood and thought-altering drugs are sought and prescribed too much. Consequences may include addiction, falls, injuries, cognitive (memory) impairment, sleep disturbance, and fetal malformations, to name a few. Therefore caution and realistic expectations are needed before such medicines are prescribed to and accepted by patients.
I love to travel internationally. I also thrive on being of assistance to others. I have a pair of standard poodles, and I dote upon them. They are my constant companions outside of work and are, of course, "the best dogs in the world."