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H. Steven Moffic, MD

H. Steven Moffic, MD

Dr Moffic is an editorial board member of and regular contributor to Psychiatric Times. After an award-filled career focusing on the underserved, he retired from clinical work and his Tenured Professorship at the Medical College of Wisconsin on June 30, 2012. He continues to write, present, and serve on boards devoted to this—and related—ethical concerns. Dr Moffic’s book, The Ethical Way: Challenges and Solutions for Managed Behavioral Healthcare (Jossey-Bass, 1997), was the first on the subject. He has edited ethics columns for 3 psychiatric newsletters.

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Many classics, such as those written by Dickens, can be viewed as a metaphor for psychotherapy. Beyond symptom improvement, psychotherapy addresses the meaning of one's life and how it relates to meaningful values of loved ones as well as the surrounding community.

The greatest tribute to those who perished in France may be to find better ways to put out the fires of terrorism. Mental health professionals are trained to use words to diffuse conflict. The pen is mightier than the sword, but it can also tempt the reckless to load their weapons.

The Psychiatric Views on the News series for Psychiatric Times attempted to bring together societal events and psychiatry to start a conversation. Is a psychiatric view on the news important? If so, what other stories have caught your attention, and why?

As the nation focuses on public protests regarding the deaths of black males by white officers, psychiatric groups take notice.

Who hasn’t been at a public gathering and, after identifying yourself as a psychiatrist, heard someone respond nervously, “Can you read my mind?” Just as Thanksgiving can be compromised by family conflict, being a psychiatrist can at times feel like a curse in our public lives.

This psychiatrist takes notice when he hears public remarks by celebrities on their alleged psychiatric illnesses. A perfect example is when Jerry Seinfeld claimed he was “a bit autistic” to Brian Williams on NBC Nightly News.

Although 2 weeks of protected touring is hardly enough time to get a sense of Morocco, there was a familiar parallel to cross-cultural psychiatry. Let the patient tell you what they are about culturally, respect that particular point of view, relate to them as they wish, and support that with study.

Whether these psychiatrists helped or hindered societal events probably depends on one's political perspective.

We in mental health care may be the last bastion of defense in the deterioration of the doctor-patient relationship. However, this role seems to be underplayed in the call for more integrated medicine of psychiatry with general medicine.

Some worry about the adverse psychological effects emerging from the Metropolitan Opera's production of "The Death of Klinghoffer."

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