Why Are Abusive Physicians Reluctant to Seek Help?

Posted on: October 11, 2007

by George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF
Fellow, American Orthopsychiatric Association
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers

As a part of the medical training of all physicians, it is necessary to rotate through all of the specialties in medicine. This means that all physicians must rotate through a period of exposure in psychiatry as well as all other areas of medicine. One of the obvious reasons for this practice is to make sure that all physicians have enough knowledge and experience to appropriately make use of all specialties other than their own.

Unfortunately, psychiatry is an area of specialization which is often viewed by surgeons, cardiologists, oncologists and neurologists as somewhat soft as it relates to being scientific. Psychiatry is considered to be highly subjective with questionable scientific evidence. In addition, any mental health intervention carries with it a stigma which may be damaging to a physician’s professional career.

One of the first questions posed by physicians inquiring about resources for abusive physicians is “Do I have to undergo a psychiatric assessment?”. This question is extremely important to any practicing physician, as it will almost certainly affect his or her entire career if there is anything in any file suggesting impairment or even an assessment. Therefore, if the goal of a program is to help abusive physicians who are not addicted to drugs/alcohol or psychiatrically disturbed, it must not include a mandatory psychiatric assessment.

Anderson & Anderson is the largest provider of Executive Coaching/Anger Management for abusive physicians in the nation. We have many case examples of physicians who purposely selected our program for its lack of focus on psychopathology. This model uses an assessment designed to determine the physician’s level of functioning in recognizing and managing stress, anger, assertive communication, emotional intelligence and motivation to change. The Anderson & Anderson Executive Coaching/Anger Management course provides skill enhancement in the same four areas mentioned above: stress management, anger management, assertive communication and emotional intelligence. Participants who demonstrate a lack of motivation to change are not accepted into the program.

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson, The Trusted Name in Anger Management


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