Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Archive for the ‘About Me’ Category

These are entries which are about me.

What Am I Up To?

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on February 5, 2019


Shirah Vollmer, MD

Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

Shirah Vollmer, MD is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the David Geffen UCLA School of Medicine. She is a board certified child and adult psychiatrist and she is a psychoanalyst. She is on faculty at Loyola Marymount University, The New Center for Psychoanalysis, the Los Angeles Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies and UCLA Extension. Dr. Vollmer is a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist and psychoanalyst in private practice in Westwood Village, California.

Recent & Upcoming Conference Sessions

Pri-Med® Irving | Continuing Medical Education (CME/CE) | Irving, TX

Pri-Med Irving

Medicines for the Mind: An Overview of Psychopharmacology

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM

Pri-Med® Seattle | Continuing Medical Education (CME/CE) | Seattle, WA

Pri-Med Seattle

Medicines for the Mind: An Overview of Psychopharmacology

Thursday, June 20, 2019

7:30 AM – 8:30 AM

Raleigh-Homepage Tile

Pri-Med Raleigh

Medicines for the Mind: An Overview of Psychopharmacology

Thursday, June 13, 2019

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

Pri-Med® Phoenix | Continuing Medical Education (CME/CE) | Phoenix, AZ

Pri-Med Phoenix

Medicines for the Mind: An Overview of Psychopharmacology

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Pri-Med® Washington, DC | Continuing Medical Education (CME/CE)

Pri-Med Washington, DC

Medicines for the Mind: An Overview of Psychopharmacology

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM

fort lauderdale

Pri-Med South

Medicines for the Mind: An Overview of Psychopharmacology

Thursday, February 7, 2019

8:50 AM – 9:50 AM Hall A, Level 1


Posted in About Me | 2 Comments »

New Office

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on July 25, 2018

Image result for home office


I am proud to announce that as of September 1, 2018, I will be in my new office. This new space gives extra privacy for patients, as there are no offices nearby. Email me or text me at 3107804992 for more information.

Posted in About Me | 4 Comments »

U Is Me!

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on May 5, 2017

Dr. Shirah Vollmer

Posted in About Me | 3 Comments »

New Job: Editor of PCFA Newsletter!

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on April 6, 2017

PCFA Newsletter header



In the continuing plea for a psychiatry of days gone by, I have accepted the job as Editor of the above Newsletter. I have been a member of the board of this organization since 1995 serving in various capacities including child psychiatry liaison, member of the retreat committee, member of the diversity committee, secretary and now Editor of this newsletter. This organization is a support to the psychiatry trainees in UCLA affiliated programs including the San Fernando Valley Program and the UCLA-Harbor program. We provide low-cost psychotherapy to trainees, along with supervision of trainees.  In addition we   provide many didactics. For example, in addition to my work on the board of the PCFA, I do individual supervision to four adult psychiatry residents, a shift for me, as I used to provide supervision for child psychiatry fellows.  In addition, I give the adult psychiatry residents lectures on childhood assessment, and in the past, I gave the child psychiatry fellows a class on child psychotherapy. Now, I am adding on by helping this newsletter publicize our work, as I feel the strong pull to remind psychiatrists, at all levels in their careers, that listening is an important art, which could sadly be lost, if we are focused on fifteen or thirty minute appointments, with infrequent follow-up. It is my hope that by carrying the torch of listening, both by teaching this art and by doing this art with trainees, then psychiatry will maintain one of its major therapeutic tools, that is, the talking cure.

Posted in About Me, Psychiatry in Transition | 2 Comments »

Psychology Today: Here I Am

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on December 2, 2014

Posted in About Me | Leave a Comment »

My Audience

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on January 28, 2010

    Many people ask me who is the audience for my blog. My internal reaction is one of utter distress. I want to scream and say “I don’t know and don’t ask me”. However, I realize that this is the most important question for me to answer and as such, I am grateful for the inquiry. Over the past two and a half months, I have dwelled on that question,  getting stomach pains as the thought bubbles up in my mind. Today, the answer to the question is that I would like to target this blog to those who are curious about how I think about my work. I want to continue to take vignettes, based on real experiences in my office, and describe how these tales have deeper meaning, both for the person telling the story and for me personally. I want to talk about struggle and personal growth. I want to talk about the doctor-patient relationship, and in particular, I want to talk about how that relationship can help with the struggle. I want to weave in the role of psychotropic medications, when that comes into play. I want to expand my work beyond my office such that my friends, my past patients, my current patients,  my future patients, and those interested in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis,  can get to know how I conceptualize my work.  My hope is that these blogs will be illuminating and thought provoking. I also hope that, at times, my readers will experience some comfort in reading these posts in that the themes of human suffering are universal, and understanding the underpinnings of an emotional struggle can occasionally make it feel better. 

      I consider this blogging exercise to be an experiment. I want to see what happens. If, as I noted in my earlier blog entitled “Blogging: Changing Course,” I feel that my blog causes harm, then I will once again review this hobby. Of course, my concern is that by the time I see the harm it has done, the world of the internet will have created far too much exposure  for me to quickly fix the problem. As a result, I am mindful of the power of the internet, and I will try to be very careful with my subject. Once again, I rely on my readers to keep me in check. As I said, I am interested in the doctor-patient relationship. This blog has  made me also interested in the blogger-reader relationship, but writing about that relationship is for another time. Suffice it to say, my readers are very important to me. Thank you for being my audience.

Posted in About Me | 9 Comments »

Blogging: Changing Course

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on January 25, 2010

    Welcome to my new WordPress blog. I hope you like my new  format. I am also going to change the content. Read on to understand my new course.  

      Since November, 2009, I have wandered into this blogosphere, not knowing what to expect. I became a movie critic, a book critic, a psychotherapy observer, a commentator on the state of psychiatry, a blogger on child development and parenting,  and I tentatively entered into the world of personal memories. I am now trying to develop more of a focus.  When I ask myself what I most like writing about, the answer is that I would like to continue to write about my interesting moments in psychotherapy. This answer, however,  leads me to the dilemma that although I want my blog to enrich my life and my readers’ life,   and sometimes that has happened,  it is also true that my blog has created some distress. Writing is a vulnerable process. I have  intense feelings about  being seen. This is a new and interesting experience for me and I welcome that. However, what I have also discovered is that my patients are also feeling more vulnerable. This is an unintended consequence. One that gives me pause.

     None of my psychotherapy blogs give identifying information.  Still, my patients reading my blog have very strong ideas and feelings as to whether I am talking about them or not. Sometimes, I tell my patients that something they said has inspired me to write a blog and I point them where they can read about it. Is this a problem?  Is this bad technique?  I ask myself. Should I seek consultation? Who would I ask? Would I find someone to answer my question in a way that would support me, without challenging my ideas? Who has experience with these issues? I do not know.

     Some of my patients have found my blogs helpful in that they feel like they have gained greater insight into me, and into themselves. This cannot be bad, I say to myself. However, as I feared, these same patients, at other times,  feel agitated by my blogs. They read what I have to say and they feel like I am putting them down, or worse yet, that I do not understand them at all. When they tell me that, I want to stop blogging. I do not want to create an environment which promotes more dis-ease. On the other hand, I think that maybe this is grist for the therapeutic mill. No. I do not like that argument. I feel bad upsetting my patients. I do not want my blog to do that, and to the extent that it contributes to suffering, I should stop blogging about my patients. Is it that simple? If one patient tells me that my blog was upsetting, does that mean that  I cannot blog any more? Yes, maybe that makes sense. Patient care is my first priority. There is no question about that.

     So, I say to myself, I can blog about other things. I can return to being a movie critic, or a book critic. That could be fun, but I do not think that is my passion, at least not now.  I do want to write about psychotherapy, and when it is woven together with psychopharmacology, I want to write about that too.  Perhaps I will start by writing stories. My hope is that these stories will be less controversial, but still illuminating. My critics tell me that I use too much jargon, so I am going to focus on telling my stories in a way which is user-friendly. I am going to try to change from a  teacher to a storyteller. I believe that stories help us grow. They can inspire us to take chances, to involve ourselves in life, and they can challenge our world view. I want to share the meaningful stories that I hear every day. This will be my new path. You, my readers, will help me out. Wish me luck!

Posted in About Me, Musings | 2 Comments »

Why I Blog

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on January 23, 2010

Three Reasons:

1. Make my thoughts clear so I can be a better teacher.

2. I have a lot of things I want to say.

3. I am curious how people will respond

Posted in About Me, Musings | 2 Comments »

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