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50 Years of Psychiatry

What My Patients Have Taught Me

  • The patient is always telling the truth.

  • All pain is real.

  • I never met a patient I didn’t like.

  • Some people are captains of their own ships, some are first mates, some are cabin boys, and others, stowaways fearfully hiding below deck. The captains don’t need us. The rest do.

  • Psychiatry is one path towards healing. There are many others.

  • The psychiatrist’s job is to help the patient, and nothing else.

  • A patient’s feelings about you can come from another place- accept the positive and try to understand the rest.

  • Admit your mistakes. Apologize when indicated.

  • Psychotherapy is testing your ideas against the facts.

  • Psychotherapy is also making a sensible mosaic of your life that is durable.

  • Your psychiatrist is right half of the time, but you can never be sure which half it is.

  • Be ready: Any moment may give you a chance to write the next chapter in your life.

  • There is free will if you believe you have free will.

  • Your choices have consequences.

  • Maturity means accepting the responsibility for your choices.

  • Your ability to grow never ends.

  • Your psychiatrist’s personal trauma can be a key to understanding yours.

  • Personal peace is never perfect. There is always room for better.

  • We can forgive even if we can’t forget.

  • Sharing a cockpit is better than flying the plane alone.

  • Love is good. Sex is good. Both together are best.

  • It can take years to learn how to have a good sex life.

  • There are many paths to sobriety. You’re bound to fail them all, until you don’t.

  • Trying counts. Life is a cookie jar you get out of it what you put into it.

  • Reason is good. Faith is good. Best is both together.

  • Therapy is good. Medication is good. Best is both together.

  • Be kind to everyone, which may not always be easy.

  • We are all climbing the same mountain.

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