Psychotherapy Committee Report: September 2021

by Stephen “Chip” McDermott, MD, Radu Iliescu, MD, Margo Goldman, MD, and Margaret Cheng Tuttle, MD

The MPS Psychotherapy Committee continues to be quite active.  We have pioneered the promotion of psychotherapy by psychiatrists at the District Branch level by members representing a breadth of theoretical frameworks and work settings.  In addition to sponsoring psychotherapy CME conferences, we maintain and update a comprehensive list of Psychotherapy Training resources, available on the MPS website.  We are also exploring options for psychotherapy mentorship, enhancing Committee meetings’ content to include clinical, practical and theoretical discussions, and collaborating with other MPS committees.

To add the resident perspective, Committee Co-Chairs Drs. Margaret Cheng Tuttle and Stephen “Chip” McDermott invited Radu Iliescu, MD, a fourth year Psychiatry Resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) to serve as Resident Co-Chair of the Psychotherapy Committee.  In addition to providing a trainee’s perspective to lead and guide the Committee, Dr. Iliescu helped us prepare for the November 14, 2020 virtual Psychotherapy CME Conference by sharing his experience of the multiple challenges and capacities of Zoom.  He used his experience of attending day-long virtual residency seminars at the BIDMC to predict how much Zoom our audience could tolerate and therefore determine each session’s duration.  Dr Iliescu’s experiences, together with Debbie Brennan’s expertise with Zoom and conference formats, resulted in a smooth experience for attendees of the MPS’s first full-length virtual CME conference.

The conference, Psychosocial Treatment of Neurodevelopmental Disorders, was a great success.  An important feature of the conference was our usual emphasis on similarities among our various psychotherapies, rather than highlighting differences.  The morning program included two talks devoted to psychodynamic and cognitive therapy assessment and treatment of children and adults with ADHD, followed by a joint panel discussion.  In the afternoon, three talks and a speakers’ question-and-answer panel were devoted to Autism Spectrum Disorders; this included the parents of a young man with ASD.  The audience was as large as at our previous CME conferences, and the attendees’ evaluations were extremely positive.  Presentations from the conference will become enduring materials for CME on the MPS website.

We also take pride in our Committee’s impact nationally on bolstering psychotherapy by psychiatrists.  Dr. Margaret Tuttle, committee co-chair, and Dr. Margo Goldman, committee member, both serve on the APA Psychotherapy Caucus Steering Committee.  With the Caucus’s support, and a third Steering Committee member (Seamus Bhatt-Mackin, MD from North Carolina), they have launched the “Local Big Tents” initiative to facilitate psychotherapy activities in as many local District Branches as possible.  (PsychNews August 2020

As you can see, the Psychotherapy Committee has tremendous potential to enrich members’ and prospective members’ professional lives by enabling psychiatrists to utilize skills for which we are uniquely trained and integrate psychotherapy with other treatment modalities.  If you are interested in participating in our Committee’s activities by joining the committee, giving an informal talk, attending informal small group discussions of psychotherapy topics, or using our list of training resources, please don’t hesitate to contact us via Debbie Brennan at [email protected].

Our next committee meeting will take place on September 23, 2021 at 7:00 pm via Zoom.  All interested MPS members are welcome to sign up by emailing Debbie Brennan at [email protected].