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Resource Document on Psychotherapy as an Essential Skill of Psychiatrists

Approved by the Board of Trustees, July 2014 Approved by the Assembly, May 2014

  • 2014

Psychiatrists are uniquely positioned to provide comprehensive, integrated treatment either by providing medication alone, psychotherapy alone, or combined treatment. Importantly, psychotherapy and prescribing medication flourish on the same foundation—confidentiality, trust, and active patient participation—which readily allows psychiatrists to change or add treatment modalities e.g., switch from psychotherapy to medications or add medication to psychotherapy, while keeping a clear focus on the complex interplay of patient, practitioner, pharmacotherapy, and psychotherapy. Even when a psychiatrist provides “only” medication, psychotherapeutic elements in the therapeutic alliance enhance the effectiveness of any medication. Indeed, although cost per session is higher for psychiatrists, integrated psychiatric care (as compared to split treatment by a psychiatrist and non-MD therapist) may lead to lower total costs and decreased patient suffering

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