What Do You Do?
Posted by Dr. Vollmer on July 14, 2013
In trying to explain what I do for a living, I am acutely aware how inarticulate I become. “Well, I try to help people sort out their psychological issues and the points in their lives that lead them to feeling confused and bewildered.” I say, not quite happy with this answer, but unable to say it in a better way. “Sure, I prescribe medications and I think that is very important, but that is incorporated into a bigger picture of trying to listen and understand how the person has made important decisions in his life.” I continue, still not satisfied with my answer. As a psychiatrist, some folks imagine my practice to be filled with the chronically mentally ill, and, of course, I do see these folks and I have the skill-set to help them. Yet, in addition, I work with many people who do not meet criteria for a mental illness, but still benefit from medication and psychological exploration. My listener often looks confused as I talk about this. I try again to encapsulate my work, but I feel that my response does not capture the variety in my work. I work with kids, families, couples, and individuals of all ages. I work with people who have spent time in psychiatric hospitals, as well as those who will likely never need those services. I prescribe medication to many, but not all of my patients. My work is varied and customized to each client. How do I communicate that? I need to think more about this.