What Is Psychiatry?

flag icon | Pasadena Neuropsychiatry | 2022

Understanding Psychiatry

At Pasadena Neuropsychiatry, our area of practice is focused heavily on neuropsychiatry, an emerging field within psychiatry that is also clustered under the umbrella of “Interventional Psychiatry.” Through this focus, we help our patients through a variety of treatments, such as MMD and OCD TMS. As a clinic, we also hold a focus on the area of HIV Psychiatry, which comprises the bulk of Dr. Sepah’s patient demographic. Neuropsychiatry, Interventional Psychiatry, and HIV Psychiatry all fall under one medical specialty, Psychiatry, governed by the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology.

As there are some similarities, “psychiatry” and “psychology” are sometimes confused or used interchangeably. However, there are significant differences between the two. While psychiatrists learn a great deal of psychology, including the five main talk therapy modalities while in their residency, psychiatry differs in that its foundation is the practice of medicine – as such, the answer to “what is psychiatry?” is that it includes both a medical perspective and treatment. To become a psychiatrist, one is required to attend four years of medical school following four years of an undergraduate degree, which is typically in the sciences.

All psychiatrists must complete a basic medical internship, which is followed by a minimum of three years of a hospital-based residency program. This adds up to around 35k hours of hands-on training and experience. In order to practice, all psychiatrists must acquire a medical license as physicians from the Medical Board. To qualify for this, they must pass the same three steps of the USMLE exams as other physicians in the country and successfully complete a medical internship.

MD | Pasadena Neuropsychiatry | 2022

What Is Psychiatry?

DIPLOMATE | Pasadena Neuropsychiatry | 2022

Why Interventional Psychiatry?

As medical professionals, we aim to help our patients in the long term. To help us do this, we practice Interventional Psychiatry, which goes beyond medication and therapy to include specialized treatments such as Theta Burst and OCD TMS. These evidence-based interventions can provide relief in situations where medication has failed. At Pasadena Neuropsychiatry, we offer interventional treatments for those experiencing a variety of conditions, including Spravato, Esketamine, and BrainsWay dTMS™. In addition to being proven effective, the interventional therapies that we include in our patients’ treatment plans are noninvasive and FDA-approved.

What Do Board Certified and Diplomate Mean?

All psychiatrists are licensed as medical doctors. To receive “Board Certification” from their specialty board, psychiatrists must complete a total of four years of a mostly hospital-based residency program. These programs include neurology, pediatrics, and general medicine. To qualify for the 8-hour written exam, they must first pass a three-part oral exam and, of course, complete their residency successfully.

Once they have passed the oral exams and the written exam – they are considered ‘Diplomates’ of the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology. Because new findings, treatments, and interventions develop over time, they must retake the written exam every ten years and submit 300 hours of continued medical education for maintenance of certification. These are separate requirements that medical board certification demands.

Thus, psychiatry is truly a medical specialty. This practice requires these levels of ongoing study because psychiatry plays an essential role in the overall health of individuals. When you are seeing a psychiatrist, it is no different than seeing any other specialist in medicine, whether it be an endocrinologist or an allergist.