What Does Return to In-Person Psychiatry Mean for You?

Psychiatry and mental health is in the midst of unprecedented challenges and changes. Most mental health clinicians have been practicing remotely using telehealth during the pandemic. This adds flexibility and accessibility (I just had a really good session with a patient who was 2000 miles away in her car) and has been central to mental health care. Should we go back to in person meetings? And, are in person treatments “better” than digital?

In this Medscape video, I explore the topic of returning to in-person psychiatry. I realized that 

instead of asking myself, “is it better to see patients by video or in person?” I started thinking about the very important concept of frame. The “treatment frame” is an essential part of any treatment: when you meet, what are the goals, what is the theoretical construct (ex: CBT).

As we shift frames, it adds a new element to digest and a transition. I ask my patients about their experience of digital therapy versus in person and, as you can imagine, the answers really vary.

For years, many of my patients have been in a mixed model, seeing me in person when possible, but often seeing me by video when in school or traveling for work, or even while on vacation. It is something to consider when thinking about your practice going forward. I urge you to keep this in mind and also to take good care of your own mental health during this time. 

Drew Ramsey, MD

Drew Ramsey, M.D. is a psychiatrist, author, and farmer. He is a clear voice in the mental health conversation and one of psychiatry’s leading proponents of using nutritional interventions. He is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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