Why are there psychotherapists who are not doctors? Most professionals who began working with psychotherapy around the turn of the last century were psychiatrists by training. Over time, however, psychologists also became interested in “depth psychology” and sought training as analysts. Additionally, the so-called hermeneutic view of science has grown stronger in several disciplines. Today, even medical science attends to how patients experience their illness and their relationship with the doctor.

Why aren’t all psychiatrists licensed psychotherapists? Like other doctors, psychiatrists acquire different competencies and focus on different areas. Some primarily want to explain symptoms and reduce their frequency and intensity, while other doctors want to understand what the symptoms mean and how they are related to previous life experiences. Often, but not always, such treatment occurs without simultaneous use of psychotropic medication.

What is special about a psychiatrist-psychotherapist’s practice? As a psychiatrist, I have encountered people with severe mental problems and have had to determine if their problems can be linked to any physical illness and if psychotropic medication needs to be prescribed. Today, my focus is more on my psychosomatic competence and understanding how body and soul cooperate and require deeper psychotherapeutic work.

Last but not least: All bodily or mental suffering entails feeling helpless, vulnerable, and dependent on one’s caregiver. It is important to not only show, but truly have, deep respect for the patient and not to believe that I know best. We both seek to understand what troubles you. Now you may wonder what my special area is in psychiatry. Go ahead, and I’ll tell you!