What Is Psychiatry?

Understanding Psychiatry

Our area of practice is focused heavily on neuropsychiatry, an emerging field within psychiatry also clustered under the umbrella of “Interventional Psychiatry.” Both of those, along with the area of HIV Psychiatry, which comprises the bulk of Dr. Sepah’s patient demographic, all fall under one medical specialty, psychiatry, governed by the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology.

While psychiatrists learn a great deal of psychology, including the five main talk therapy modalities while in residency, psychiatry differs in that its foundation is the practice of medicine–it includes a medical perspective and treatment. It requires four years of medical school following four years of an undergraduate degree, typically in the sciences. All psychiatrists must complete a basic medical internship followed by a minimum of three years of a hospital-based residency program, which adds up to around 35k hours of training. To practice, all psychiatrists must acquire a medical license as physicians from the Medical Board. To qualify, they must pass the same three steps of the USMLE exams as other physicians in the country and successfully complete a medical internship.

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, which includes neurology, pediatrics, and general medicine. To qualify for the 8 hr 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. They must retake the written exam every ten years and submit 300 hrs of continued medical education for maintenance of certification. These are separate requirements that medical board certification requires. Thus, psychiatry is truly a medical specialty, and when you are seeing a psychiatrist, it is no different than seeing any other specialist in medicine, be it an endocrinologist or allergist.

Why Interventional Psychiatry?

Interventional Psychiatry goes beyond medication and therapy to include specialized treatments such as TMS. These interventions can provide relief where medication has failed. At Pasadena Neuropsychiatry, we offer interventional treatments for a variety of conditions, including Spravato, Esketamine, and BrainsWay dTMS™.