|Sara Coffey, D.O.|
Understanding a doctors training and background may be the first place. Patients with mental illness may be seen by their primary care doctors, counselors, psychiatrists, or psychologists. But, what makes these professionals different? All physicians, either M.D.’s or D.O.’s (Osteopathic Doctors), have similar training. Most often, they have completed four years of undergraduate school, with an emphasis on science courses including biology and chemistry. Then they must pass an entrance exam to start a four-year medical school program where they will receive two more years of core science training as well as other courses to help them understand the human body, disease, and prevention. The last two years of medical school focus on clinical rotations through surgery, OB/GYN, psychiatry, internal medicine, family medicine, and include several months of extra training in a specialty area.
It takes eight years or more of school and four to six years additional years of training to become a fully practicing psychiatrist. I’m on that path, and now I will be able to focus on my psychiatry specialty. That will give me the opportunity to learn the science and art of treating patients from experienced psychiatrists. My integrative medical training will also provide a solid foundation to work with a variety of patients and their mental illnesses.