The complete psychiatrist is both a physician and a psychotherapist. In addition to treating illnesses of brain chemistry and physiology, we treat a patient's suffering in the realms of emotional conflicts, maladaptive cognitive paradigms, and deficits in interpersonal skills. Training in psychiatry gives the physician the best vantage point to learn about the full bio-psycho-social interplay of health and sickness.
At the University of Maryland/Sheppard Pratt Psychiatry Residency Training Program, we put a strong emphasis on developing basic skills in psychotherapy with the full range of psychiatric patients and settings. Psychotherapy education starts in the first two years, where the resident is working on the inpatient units, consult service, and emergency psychiatry services. Fundamental principles of theory and practice are taught in a way that is relevant to and useful for the patients that are being treated. For example, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills are taught early, which help patients better manage overwhelming emotional states and suicidal impulses. Motivational interviewing skills are also fostered early on, an intervention which helps individuals struggling with substance use disorders, a fundamental consideration given the opioid epidemic we are confronting.
Psychotherapy training reaches a peak in the third year, during which residents are immersed in outpatient work with a wide variety of patients, from those suffering from trauma-related disorders to individuals with severe and persistent mental illnesses, and all in between. For many years, we have been offering therapy to professional graduate students who seek help at the Student Counseling Center for anxiety, depression, and interpersonal struggles. Residents are also encouraged to offer long-term psychotherapy to their child and adolescent patients in some circumstances.
Through didactics, live observation of senior psychotherapists practicing their craft, and individual supervision, the resident becomes skilled in both cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic psychotherapy. Faculty members include graduates of the Beck Institute of Cognitive Therapy and psychoanalysts from the Washington-Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis.
The fourth year, which is largely elective, includes the opportunity to continue psychotherapy with a number of outpatients and to explore advanced psychotherapy training in settings such as college student mental health and a specialized residential program at The Retreat at Sheppard Pratt.
Christopher W. T. Miller, MD
Director of Psychotherapy Training
Dr. Miller is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He is a graduate psychoanalyst from the Washington-Baltimore Center for Psychoanalysis. He is one of the associate training directors for resident education at the University of Maryland / Sheppard Pratt adult psychiatry residency program. His interests include integration of neuroscience and psychotherapy, developing teaching strategies to educate residents on psychodynamic theory and practice, and interdisciplinary explorations between psychotherapy and the Humanities.