Further Healing Thyself


Here are some ethical ways to help our colleagues and ourselves.




Last month in our Special Report, 2 papers discussed the wellness risks of physician substance abuse and the benefits of work-life balance. These are ethical ways to help our colleagues and ourselves.

As several more papers on the subject show in Part 2 of this Special Report, there are many places to touch upon and embrace the elephant of physician wellness.

Also In This Special Report

The Alluring Mistress: Reflections From My Affair With Medicine

Frank Clark, MD

8 Tips for Psychiatrists to Prevent Burnout

Doug Newton, MD, MPH

Burnout and Its Remedies

Lloyd I. Sederer, MD

Is Burnout a Sustainability Factor?

David E. “Daven” Morrison III, MD; and Andrew O. Brown, MD

Systems that disempower physicians and other health care professionals are the major cause of our burnout epidemic. That presents a major challenge: unless we are in a leadership position, there is not a lot each of us can do to improve the systems in which we work.

Yet, as these additional papers indicate, there is still quite a lot that each of us can do for our own wellness. So much so, that you will find additional articles online.

In one article, you will find 8 sound tips for preventing burnout. The last tip is simple but important: “remember your purpose.”

Remembering one’s purpose leads, in turn, to the article “The Alluring Mistress: Reflections From my Affair with Medicine.” Although personal psychotherapy was more or less required as a therapeutic vessel 50 years ago when I was in training, it is no longer expected. This personal article of reflections was an inspiring self-disclosure of how a psychiatrist, with help, realized what was really important in his life. This, in turn, led to a major change at work and much improved wellness. Some degree of this sort of soul-searching may be the lodestar for physician wellness, for it is what each of us can control the most.

Dr Moffic is an award-winning psychiatrist who has specialized in the cultural and ethical aspects of psychiatry. A prolific writer and speaker, he received the one-time designation of Hero of Public Psychiatry from the Assembly of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. To create a better world, he is an advocate for treating mental health issues related to climate instability, burnout, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism. He serves on the Editorial Board of Psychiatric Times™.

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