Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Graduation Time

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on June 19, 2015


It is the end of the academic year. My class called “conversion” which focused on transitioning patients from psychotherapy to psychoanalysis, thanks to my students, will be re-named, “Developing A Psychoanalytic Practice.” My “Psychopharmacology” class for my art therapy students is complete, papers read, and grades submitted. And so tonight, my student/child psychiatry fellow will graduate and launch into the world of private practice. She will prove all of my postings wrong in that there is still a minority of psychiatrists who want to develop relationships with patients which are both therapeutic and mutually rewarding. Medications are important too, but only in the context of mutual trust. Although I look forward to the time, which these endings give me, I am also my sad self, missing my students, while wondering what happens to them next. Like a parent who sends their child to college, with both strong feelings of loss and pride, I too feel that these transitions are vital to the developing autonomy of my students, but at the same time, I have a hole in my mental existence, realizing that their growth creates my challenge to embrace the necessary change that educational institutions promote. I like my teacher role, but I do not like this time of year. It is a “quality problem” as some would say, and indeed that is true, but it is a problem, nonetheless.

2 Responses to “Graduation Time”

  1. Shelly said

    I like the parallel you paint in that you are like a parent sending your child off to college and that you feel feelings of loss and pride. I’m sure you feel both happy and sad that your fellows are moving on and that they will return to you in a mentor-student relationship. The good thing is that there are always more students to teach although each one is unique and has a place in your mind and heart.

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