One of the most important gifts any psychiatrist can give to the patient is the gift of a safe, honest environment. Too often, patients feel forced to hide, distort, or even lie about the true nature of their situation. Whether it is a perceived lack of understanding or judgement, I always tell my psychiatric patient's at Main Line to treat our space as a safe, zone where they can say anything so long as it is authentic and true. I find that most patients already feel that way, but every once in a while you a reminded of what a gift this can really be for the patient. This is especially true when teenagers are struggling with self-injurious thoughts or substance abuse. After all, whether you are practicing psychiatry in Wayne or anywhere else, if the patient does not trust you and feel they can be open and honest, how can you help them?
- Michael Silverberg, MD