In France, the first year of medical school was a “concours,” a “contest exam.” That meant that slots in the second year class went to those who scored the highest on the exam. There were 650 of us in the first year. There were 110 in the second.

It was obvious, that even with a chance to repeat the spring exam in the fall, and a chance to repeat the year, if a student did not turn up in the top 1/6 or so of the class. Read more on Studying And Actually Learning…

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In the middle of downtown Paris, I was having a snack when I was a mere medical student, honored guest of a famous and chic woman professor/scientist. She was telling me about how her son, who had numerous psychological problems, had two distinguished medical school professors fighting over his proper diagnosis. Of course, while they were doing this, he did not appear to be getting any better.

She confided in me more than I would have expected. Read more on Getting The Right Diagnosis…


There are many times I escort a patient back to my front desk Shouting things like “Never give up! Never surrender!”

I tell them how I was taught to say that when I was on active duty with the US Army Medical Corps.

“Think of whatever inspires you!” If a psychiatrist wonders if a patient is “untreatable,” then all we are really saying is that THAT patient is, at THAT moment, untreatable by THAT psychiatrist. Read more on The Untreatable Patient?…


Beneath the University hospital that was associated with the medical school I attended in Amiens, France there was a seemingly infinite maze of interlocking concrete passages that connected all of the different “pavilions” (“units”) of the hospitals. I remember how my feet echoed as I walked along those corridors.

They had been constructed during World War II, to bring the hospital safely underground in case of German Bombing.

One day I was walking in step with all the other surgeons, echoing together, with a regular beat. Read more on They Don’t Need To Understand — They Are Peasants!…


One of the strange things that happen when you are getting older is that they change the rules while you are playing the game.

One of the things that happened while I was not looking is that the playing field for women in male-dominated roles does seem to have improved a bit. Read more on …

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When one is designated as an “adult” psychiatrist,” that basically means the person who walks into your office (or is wheeled in or staggers in) has the insurance for which you are approved and an age somewhere between 18 and infinity.

Those who are closer to 18 usually have as at least one of their complaints, “I guess I need to go to school or find a job or something.” Read more on What Do You Want To Do When You Grow Up?…


I distinctly remember the first time I saw a “retirement clock.”

It was on the desk at the home workstation of a psychiatric nurse who had already worked about ten years in the outpatient clinic of one of the VA medical centers where I had once worked. Read more on Stuck In A Job You Hate?…

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I am recommended News Fasts a lot these days.

I don’t think people have a clue what is going on in their brains and spirits when they watch television news.

Watching television News is like hypnosis, but with even less control about the kind of content that washes over your brain. Read more on You May Need A News Fast…

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One of the hardest things to do as a psychiatrist is to get patients to tell the truth. The absolute hardest thing to do is to get patients to ask the questions that they really find on their mind but are scared of asking.

Me, I do everything I can to break down the communication barriers that exist between me and my patients.

For one thing, I do not even own a doctor’s white coat. Read more on FAQ:  Antidepressants…

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