When I started out residency 4 years ago, I had a nice smile and lots of enthusiasm. In fact, I think the most valuable quality—which I brought in spades—was my agreeableness. Need me to do the 6PM medical admission? No problem. Need someone to change a particularly gnarly dressing? I'm your guy. People liked me, and I enjoyed being liked.
But residency, and especially psychiatry residency, encourages reflection. And with the help of my co-residents and my attending supervisors, I began to learn to balance helping others with assertiveness. I learned that what someone wants in the moment isn’t always what they need, and that perhaps one of the most important qualities of a psychiatrist is the ability to firmly and empathically disagree. And after clinical exposures in different clinical settings at MGH and McLean—the fast-paced psychiatric emergency room, my outpatient office at McLean—receiving excellent guidance from multiple clinical supervisors, and processing experiences with my peers in resiliency and process groups, I am finally proud to say that I can be disagreeable! (When I need to be.) To that end, I'm incredibly grateful to the MGH/McLean community—my peers, my supervisors, and to my patients—for helping to equip me to be a more effective, versatile clinician.
One of the side effects of my newfound disagreeableness is that I'm more in touch with who I am and what I want. I came into psychiatry residency initially interested in research. Mid-way through my PGY3 year, with the unwavering support of the Research Concentration Program, the Program Directors and my supervisors, I made a big pivot into the world of psychotherapy. It has been fantastic, and this year, I am pursuing both specialized training in psychodynamic therapy at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute and mentalization-based therapy for borderline personality disorder.
With the rest of my time, I'm doing the other thing I love doing, teaching, on Blake 11, which is MGH's inpatient psychiatry unit. As Co-Chief resident (along with the fantastic Meghan Musselman), I get to work with PGY1s and PGY2s using a unique team-based approach to deliver care to medically and psychiatrically complex patients.
On a personal note, I am Canadian! Which means a couple of things, including that I must, by creed, end all of my essays in an apology. Sorry about that. (Though I'm learning to not apologize for everything! See above.) Also, I am not allowed to make a left turn before the light turns yellow. And I always have a pair of snow pants at the ready (just in case). But even though I'm Canadian at heart, I love the city of Boston! It has the offerings of a larger city but without all of the big city frustrations. One of my absolute favorite things to do is to assemble a bunch of my fellow psych residents and eat ice cream at Toscanini's. They have something called affogato, which is ice cream bathed in espresso, which not only tastes amazing, but keeps you awake all night so that you can eat more ice cream!