Med School/Year Graduated: University of Michigan, 1975
Years in Practice: 45
You have epic maxillofacial hair. How long have you been cultivating it?
In my first year of medical school, I decided on a lark to grow a mustache. I’ve had it ever since, and it has brought me great joy. Several times I thought of shaving it off, but my wife persuaded me not to do so. She said I look sexy with it, so how could I say no?
We’re all familiar with the Hollywood trope of the patient lying on the couch and talking about their dreams. Does actual psychiatry bear any resemblance to that?
Classical psychoanalysis does have the patient lying on the couch speaking to the therapist, [but] this is not done very often [in modern times] because it’s not a very efficient way to treat emotional disorders. Today, we have many different forms of psychotherapy that are very helpful. This process continues to grow.
How much of psychiatric therapy is pharmaceutical vs. psychological? Are there disorders that can be treated without medication?
Both psychotherapy and medications are important treatments for mental illness. Some patients require just medication – however, most patients require psychotherapy as well. Pills don’t teach skills. If we’re fortunate, the symptoms are reduced by the medications and help people to function and feel better, but the psychotherapy component can be very useful for unresolved issues from our developmental years or traumas that we have been through.
In your bio, you mention your sense of humor. How does this help your practice and put patients at ease?
I believe humor is very important to our mental well-being. I use corny jokes and am positive with people in a friendly manner. Of course, if someone is in a very fragile place, I approach them with compassion.
You’re a Michigander! What brought you to the desert? How does it suit you?
[After] what seemed like several months of constant rain, cold and gray weather, my wife and I decided that a sunnier place to live would be better for our mental health. We looked at several places and fell in love with the desert. We are so happy to be here. Even though our winters are mild, the springtime is still a special time. I love planting cacti and different plants in the spring. We enjoy hiking and going to the botanical garden. Throughout the year we also enjoy classical music, dance performances and art.
What are you watching on Netflix these days?
We enjoy watching CBS Sunday Morning, which is a great show if you haven’t seen it. We also like to watch Chicago P.D., Chicago Fire, Blue Bloods. Currently we are watching The Empress on Netflix. For a lighter touch, we like the humor of Home Economics.
“If I wasn’t a doctor, I’d be…”
A motivational speaker, business executive or conceivably an attorney on the right side.