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The Dilemma of the Rural Psychiatrist


Journal of Psychiatric Practice®: September 2012 - Volume 18 - Issue 5 - p 369–372
doi: 10.1097/01.pra.0000419821.62290.7e
COLUMNS: Psychotherapy

Rural areas provide unique opportunities and challenges for delivery of psychiatric care. This is especially true for the psychiatrist trained in psychotherapy. As patients become more aware of the risk/benefit profiles of medications, there is a growing demand for psychotherapy services in all parts of this country. This creates particular challenges for rural areas, which also face unique difficulties in recruitment. The author discusses her personal experience as a psychiatrist and psycho- analyst in private practice in an underserved area. Misconceptions and misinformation about practice in rural areas are explored. (Journal of Psychiatric Practice 2012;18:369–372)

Cynthia B. Stevens, MD, is Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, The George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC; Corresponding Member and former Teaching Analyst, Washington Center for Psychoanalysis; and Fellow, Academy of Wilderness Medicine.

This unusual report from a rural psychiatrist and psychoanalyst reaffirms the feasibility and value of offering psychotherapy as integral to psychiatric care. It also demonstrates that providing care consistent with best practices is possible in a sparsely populated, rural setting that has its own special delights.

Norman A. Clemens, MD

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.