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Bermak, G.E. (1977). Do Psychiatrists Have Special Emotional Problems?. Am. J. Psychoanal., 37(2):141-146.

(1977). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 37(2):141-146

Do Psychiatrists Have Special Emotional Problems?

Gordon E. Bermak

A questionnaire dealing with the emotional problems involved in the practice of psychiatry was sent to seventy-five psychiatrists residing in the San Francisco Bay Area. They were all known personally to the author in his role as either teacher, student, or colleague. The sample was probably somewhat biased in that the author practices psychoanalysis and psychotherapy in the same geographical area, and there may be some skewing of the selection in that direction. However, an effort was made to include representatives of different subspecialties of psychiatry. One hundred percent of those questioned returned the questionnaire, with over fifty percent adding a full page of comments. The sample appeared to be an accurate cross section of therapists in this area, in which the major practice is made up by psychotherapists. More specifically, twenty nine reported that they did analytic psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, twenty were doing various forms of psychotherapy not clearly defined by them as psychoanalytic psychotherapy, twelve did hospital work primarily, nine spent the major part of their time in administration, three had left psychiatry for the resumption of the general practice of medicine. There did not appear to be statistically valid correlations between the responses and the subspecialty practiced.

The questions and answers were as follows:

1)   “Do you think that psychiatrists have emotional difficulties that are special to them and their work as contrasted with non-psychiatrists?” Sixty eight replied yes and seven, no.

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