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I am currently a Pre-Med student, while I have many interests in the medical field I am mostly considered Psychiatry (and Pathology, Pediatrics, Obstetrics, etc.). I am leaning most towards Psychiatry and have been interested in going into this field ever since Middle School. Merely from my basic knowledge, psychiatrist do not get a lot of patient-interaction (which is what I want) work unless they have private practices; in a private practice would it be possible to act as a psychiatrist/therapist - i.e. doing clinical work and therapy sessions. Would it be best for me to get an M.D. and therapist license or should my M.D. be enough?

Thank you!
 

OldPsychDoc

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I think that you will eventually find that psychiatrists get far more "patient interaction" than OB, Peds, and yes, even Pathology.
Focus on getting into medical school, and then wait until 3rd year to see what specialties are actually like in practice before you make your decision.
 
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nitemagi

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Agree with OPD above ;)

You just need your MD, but you will want training in therapy, which you'll get in residency. About 70% of my practice is therapy.
 

hamstergang

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Would it be best for me to get an M.D. and therapist license or should my M.D. be enough?
An MD gets training in therapy and can do it. There is no 'therapy license.' You could get an MSW or LCSW or PhD is psychology or PsyD to do therapy, but there's no reason to get one of those in addition to an MD.

Anyway, you are so far from that point that you really don't know what you'll want then, so all's good. If you want to be a doctor then go for it.
 
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splik

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There is no 'therapy license.'
this is not technically true, but perhaps it varies between states. I think most states have licensing for mental health counselors or professional counselors and therapists, or marriage and family therapists
 

clausewitz2

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OP, I mean this in the nicest possible way, but there is a reason shadowing for a reasonable chunk of time is a de facto requirement for getting into medical school. It cuts down on some of the misunderstandings contained in your post (such as worrying about patient interaction when pathology is an alternative).

Also, I would bet money you will change your mind about your specialty at least once during your clinical years
 
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Osteoth

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So if you are interested in psychiatry, specifically therapy, as a medical student, what do you do?

You aren't really allowed to shadow therapy, and I don't think you generally get much exposure during your clerkship.
 

splik

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So if you are interested in psychiatry, specifically therapy, as a medical student, what do you do?

You aren't really allowed to shadow therapy, and I don't think you generally get much exposure during your clerkship.
Well if you are interested in psychodynamic therapy or psychoanalysis you could have your own personal psychodynamic therapy. This is the best way to see what it's like. If you attend a med school with a longitudinal clerkship model or are particularly motivated you could see patients under supervision from a psychotherapist. You can also attend conferences that are psychotherapy related, attend trainings in psychotherapy, read about different psychotherapy modalities, watch videos of therapists (many available online and your medschool may have them in the library) demonstrating therapy - for example the "Gloria" videos etc. Some medical schools have process groups for students to discuss difficult patient interactions, i.e. Balint groups or T-groups. The AAPDP has a mentorship program that med students can get involved in (The American Academy of Psychoanalysis and Dynamic Psychiatry).

You could also do a psychotherapy based elective, for example at Austen Riggs (Elective in Psychodynamic Psychiatry | Austen Riggs Center).

The Art of Psychotherapy by Anthony Storr is a nice intro that I read when I was a med student.
 
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