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 training physician the best vantage point to learn about the full bio-psycho-social interplay of health and sickness.

In 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. Residents are taught practical family therapy principles so as to recognize and address dysfunctional interactions that trigger hospitalization.

Psychotherapy training reaches a peak in the 3rd year, where residents are immersed in outpatient work with a wide variety of patients, from those suffering with PTSD and trauma to individuals with chronic mental illnesses, and all in between. We have begun to offer 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 Baltimore-Washington Institute for Psychoanalysis, the New York Freudian Institute, and the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute.

The 4th 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.

Don Ross, M.D.
Director of Psychotherapy Training