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August 23, 1995

In a House of Dreams and Glass: Becoming a Psychiatrist

Author Affiliations

The Rock Creek Center Lemont, Ill

JAMA. 1995;274(8):659-660. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530080075050

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In my first year of medical school, the only required course was what we disparagingly called "touchy-feely" group. Two preceptors and eight students would meet weekly to discuss the nonacademic aspects of becoming a physician.

"Of course, there is a relationship between all doctors and the patients they treat, but for patients in psychotherapy, the relationship is the treatment."

Discussions ranged from how it feels to wear a white coat to how to interview hostile or reluctant patients. One of my most vivid recollections from this group is of a preceptor defining becoming a professional as something to the effect of "learning to do naturally what doesn't come naturally."

Dr Klitzman does an excellent job in describing this process in psychiatry. He starts by throwing the reader into a night on call and proceeds to the universal experiences of medical training, such as chronic fatigue and being forced to make

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