Clinical habits and the psychiatrist: An adult developmental model focusing on the academic psychiatrist

James A. Bourgeois, Mark E Servis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: The authors examine the development of the psychiatrist from an adult developmental perspective, focusing on the early development and consolidation of highly adaptive clinical and other professional habits. They place special emphasis on the professional development of the academic psychiatrist. Method: The authors review and use literature on adult psychological development as a formative template upon which a prototypical psychiatrist proceeds through a telescoping series of adult developmental stages. At each stage of clinical development, specific tasks are identified and outlined, and articles from the academic psychiatry literature are cited to provide contentspecific examples of the development of academic and clinical habits of importance to those psychiatrists who then develop an academic career. Results: The clinical development of the psychiatrist follows either a continuous or episodic process that parallels the broader themes of adult development, allowing for optimal integration of the interests and skills of the individual in a niche within the increasingly diverse field of psychiatry. For the academic psychiatrist, a continuation of this model applies to development as a clinical instructor and researcher. Conclusions: Optimum developmental attention to clinical habits and skills begins in medical school and proceeds sequentially throughout subsequent career stages, correlating with subsequent stages of adult development. The authors describe in functional terms strategies for successful navigation of these challenges in clinical habits development. At all stages, mentorship and supervision are highly encouraged, as is attention to macrolevel changes in the clinical and administrative milieu.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-371
Number of pages7
JournalAcademic Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Education


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