Moods have always fascinated me. This interest, along with a love for talking to others, led me towards my first psychology course in college. From that point on, I knew what I wanted to do. After graduating from Oberlin College in Ohio, I attended medical school at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and then completed my residency in psychiatry at Yale University in New Haven, CT. I returned to Chicago, obtained my board certification in psychiatry and started a solo outpatient practice.
In my first years in practice, I was committed to being the best generalist that I could be. I wanted to see and learn how to treat as many conditions as possible. I increased my skills in psychopharmacology, psychodynamic and psychoanalytic psychotherapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. Initially, this generalist orientation was very satisfying. I enjoyed being a jack-of-all trades and having a practice with a broad scope. Over a decade, this began to change.
First, I began to see more and more patients with mood problems, especially bipolar disorders. The natural skills and competence that I had in this area was strengthened by this growing clinical experience. Second, I found it increasingly hard to stay current with new psychiatric research developments across our field. There was simply too much to know, too much to learn, and not enough time to do it. Third, the more I treated those struggling with recurrent mood problems, the more I enjoyed it. It’s fascinating, challenging work. It’s also an area where I’ve consistently seen treatment make a difference in people’s lives. The net effect of these factors encouraged me to make mood disorders the central part of my practice.
Over the past ten years, I have focused my attention on understanding and treating recurrent emotional conditions. Through professional talks I give, literature reviews, systematic study of affect and affective regulation, case conferences, research we conduct, professional conferences, courses I teach, and my work on the education committee of the International Society of Bipolar Disorders – my knowledge in this area has deepened and sharpened. While my diagnostic focus has narrowed primarily to mood disorders, my earlier generalist orientation remains as a commitment to providing care that is comprehensive. So while I predominantly treat those with mood problems, I am mindful of, and try to address the full range of biological, psychological, social and educational needs of my patients; Comprehensive care for a select group of problems.