marie337

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I'm starting med school in the fall, so I'm just starting to think about where I want to end up. I'm thinking more and more about psychiatry but I really think that I would like to emphasize counseling more in my practice rather than just med management. Is this still being done out there in the real world? Or, should I be considering psychology instead :mad: ? I have seen a few therapists in my life, so I'm pretty familiar with the therapy side of things. I'm really going in to medicine because I like to talk to people and help them and their families get through rough times. I'm not looking for blood and guts.
 

Anasazi23

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Hi Marie,

You can emphasize whatever you choose as a psychiatrist....be it medications or therapy. In your private practice, no one will demand either. It will be primarily up to you. I know plenty of dynamically-oriented psychiatrists that emphasize primarily long-term therapy with minimal psychotropics. Conversely, I know plenty of psychiatrists that do the opposite.

You could certainly consider psychology, but since you're already in med school, this makes little to no sense. Your salary will be much higher as a physician, and your opportunities much broader. The outlook for psychiatry is very bright, with a relative need nationwide, espeically in certain specialties (child). The new medication classes, along with research and soon-to-be approved clinical procedures such as transcranial magnetic stimulation, make the future exciting and bright. You state that you're interested primarily in therapy and counselling. You'll likely find that this, combined with your medical knowledge and medication armament will be a nice blend that helps patients get better quicker and with better outcomes. This is not to say, however, that you could not choose to emphasize primarily therapy. You'll also likely enjoy CL psychiatry, where you'll be interacting with the medical team and family to help them both deal with difficult prognoses, conditions, and the like from a supportive standpoint.

As for the "blood and guts," it's part of med school, and makes our experience unique in that respect. You'll be glad you have the blood & guts knowledge when the times arise. There are lots of medical specialties that are minimum blood & guts. You'll get through it like everyone else, and be a better doctor for it.

Congrats on you admission to medical school. Take things slowly; many who strongly belive they'll enter a certain specialty change their minds and alter their opinions. Good luck.
 
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marie337

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Wow, thanks for the great reply. I know it makes no sense to change paths now, but I just keep thinking how much I would enjoy being a therapist. I have no problems with doing med management as they are certainly necessary in many circumstances. I do plan to talk with a psychiatrist that I know. I'm pretty sure that she does a good deal of therapy in her practice. Your reply was very informative and reassuring. I do plan to keep an open mind in med school as maybe something else will interest me even more. Thanks for your thoughts.
 

PublicHealth

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Marie,

In addition to anasazi's excellent advice above, you should also think about whether or not you enjoy research. Most PhD/PsyD programs in clinical psychology require that you complete an original research project and/or dissertation in order to get your degree. The other thing to keep in mind is the duration of clinical psychology training, which often exceeds 5 years. And, of course, MUCH less pay -- $50-60K/year is about average for clinical psychologists. Psychiatrists easily make $120K/year or more, depending on specialty. Some parts of the country are desperately in need of child psychiatrists, and will often pay a salary of more than $200K/year. In short, you'll have MANY more options and MUCH better career stability as a physician.
 
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marie337

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The thought of completing and defending a dissertation is really not pleasant for me. That is certainly something that I have been thinking about. I'm am feeling much better today about my commitment to medical school. I have put so much work into getting this far and I know that there is still a chance that I could end up really enjoying something else like surgery or family practice. The more I think about psychiatry, the more I think it will be a good fit for me. I plan to talk with a psychiatrist that I know to get a feel for what her day is like.
 

MINDOFMYOWN

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Marie,

Psychiatrists easily make $120K/year or more, depending on specialty. .
I heard it was close to 150K or more...what say??
 

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It should be obvious that salaries vary greatly, given differences of geography, area of expertise, patient population and so on. If your concern is only about salary minimums, would a $30,000 salary discrepancy make you choose a different field of Medicine?
 

MINDOFMYOWN

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tomato said:
It should be obvious that salaries vary greatly, given differences of geography, area of expertise, patient population and so on. If your concern is only about salary minimums, would a $30,000 salary discrepancy make you choose a different field of Medicine?
Hmmmm...interesting.....well my mind's already made up but was just wondering...
 
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marie337

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When I told my husband that I was interested in psychiatry (he doesn't believe in psychopharmaceuticals, so I was hesitant to tell him) his main question was how much does it pay. He is such a business man. I really don't want to base my decision on how much it pays. I do, however, need to break even. I know that in some fields, the insurance premiums alone can put you in the hole.
 

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marie337 said:
When I told my husband that I was interested in psychiatry (he doesn't believe in psychopharmaceuticals, so I was hesitant to tell him) his main question was how much does it pay. He is such a business man. I really don't want to base my decision on how much it pays. I do, however, need to break even. I know that in some fields, the insurance premiums alone can put you in the hole.

It doesn't pay as much as some fields, but then again, you're far more likely to have a regular work week--and evenings and weekends to be a "normal person" and enjoy your 6-figure salary. There are honestly not a lot of jobs that pay like that and don't suck the life out of you. And when you compare it to what many of our patients try to live on...it's damn near obscene.
BTW, if avoiding insurance premiums is of interest to you, then you'll find plenty of salaried jobs in psych in the public sector, or working for hospitals or large multi-specialty groups where such things are taken care of for you--as opposed to private practice where you take on more of the risk yourself.