Friday, June 22, 2012

Psychiatry interviews questions and answers

These are the most common questions and answers asked during interviews for psychiatry residency. Make sure you apply to the programs mention in our IMG friendly psyciatry residency program list to avoid staying without interviews. Enjoy these questions and answers and let me know if you need any further help in your match:

For more educational material visit our website:

• What is it about psychiatry that interests you?

Psychiatry is a very challenging and yet very rewarding medical profession. Challenging is because most of time you are not handling a concrete disease entity like in IM. You deal with emotions, moods and abstract thoughts. Rewarding is because I love to listen to personal stories and become my patients' real friends, and eventually help them to deal with their psychiatric illness.

• What areas of biological psychiatry are of particular interest to you?

Psychiatric neuroscience and psychopharmacology. For the former, brain imaging is a hot topic, for the latter, nowadays there are many new and effective drugs adding to our treatment arsenal.

• What areas of psychological psychiatry are of particular interest to you?

Individual psychotherapy and social psychiatry such as group therapy and marriage counseling.

• What role do you think psychiatrists should play in the overall health care system?

More of consultant, educator and administrative role. In the overall health care system, Psychiatrists must recognize that in the future a substantial proportion of clinical care for psychiatric patients will be provided by primary care physicians and other mental health professionals.

• What role do you think psychiatrists should play in trying to influence social issues?

Psychiatry is the one of the pressure valves of thevsociety. With their successful practice, psychiatrists can prevent suicides, homicides and increase an individual's productivity in the society.

• When was the first psychiatric hospital built?

The first was built in Baghdad in 705, followed by Fes in the early 8th century, and Cairo in 800.

• What are your thoughts about the role that psychologists and social workers should play in the care of those with mental illnesses?

As important as the role of psychiatrists. All three should work as a tightly knit team and provide as best as possible service to the mentally ill patients.

• What thoughts do you have about requiring psychiatric patients to take their medication?

You can't force psychiatric patients to take their medication without their consent or their legal guardian's consent. If the patients are declared incompetent and have no guardian, then you need a court order.

• Do you have a philosophy about suicide? What should the psychiatrist’s responsibility be for preventing suicide?

Suicide is a very contraversial topic because different cultures and different religions have different viewpoints. For example, atheists may think suicide is the final release from pain and suffering but christians may think it's a moral sin. No matter what, as a psychiatrist- a trained medical professional, we should hold the opinion that the outcome doesn't justify the action. So for every psychiatric patient we encounter, we should bear the minds of possible suicide and intensely probe the patient. Early detection and every visit detection is the key. If suicidual thoughts were detected, intense counseling and/or medical treatment is warranted.

• What do you think the role of pharmaceutical companies should be in the education of psychiatrists about medications?

They should honestly inform the mechanism of the medications, all the relevant research results, side effects and any black box warnings.

• What are the reasons that you decided to apply to this residency program?

My senior from my country, a good friend of mine, who is....., highly recommended your program. And after a thorough research on Freida and your website, I found your program has what he claimed: excellent curicullam teaching and clinical training, img friendly team environment, and attractive location for my family.

• What is important to you in life?

My family, career, faith, and my friends.

• What do you expect to be doing as a psychiatrist?

My major interest is general adult psychiatry. I would like to practice both in a hospital and in an outpatient clinical setting. If i have the opportunity to join your faculty, I will because I enjoy teaching and research.

• What do you think the hardest thing about being a psychiatrist is?

Sometimes you cannot help but getting emotionally involved with patients' treatment. If the progress is very slow and full of ups and downs, you need to have great patience. also often you couldn't find a definite diagnosis for a mentally ill patient, and this can cause frustration. so how to avoid burnt-out is the hardest thing.

• Have you heard the term “psychological mindedness?” What does that mean to you? Are you psychologically minded? How do you know?

PM is an individual's capacity for self-examination, self-observation, introspection and personal insight. It also includes an ability to recognize and see the links between current problems within self and with others, and the ability to insight one's past particularly for its impact on present attitudes and functioning. Psychological mindedness bespeaks a capacity to tolerate psychological conflict and stress intrapsychically rather than by regressive means of conflict management or resolution such as somatization.
For psychiatrist, PM is the ability to look beyond the surface of overt behaviour for underlying psychological meaning. For example, understanding the patient’s subjective responses; objective approach to behaviour; ability to make contact with psychiatric patients; understanding of signs, symptoms and syndromes; ability to conduct and organise investigations and treatment methods using physical, psychological and social approaches; and an understanding of the self.

• What do you think the role of psychotherapy is in psychiatric practice today?

Still an essential part of psychiatric practice. Personally I think it's a great way to establish long term patient-physician relationships and prevent social issues such as suicide, homicide, sustance abuse.

• Have you ever attended a meeting or a conference where food was provided by a drug company? What do you think about that?

Yes I have. Food is not the point here, the drug is. As psychiatrists, we should be wary their advertisement sale pitch but we also need to find out the truth about the drug-what the drug can really do for our patients.

• What book is on your nightstand?

Absolutely, DSM-IV-TR !!!

NB: If you don't have this book, then get it, otherwise you will be looking like the writer without a pen! Don't take it with you to the interview but you should be honest that you have it. Go through the chapters and read the headlines. Program directors appreciate the value of this book and will give you advantage.

• What are your hobbies? Tell me more about them?

Fishing keep me sane and enjoying a quiet day. Reading and listening to music release my stress. Playing tennis makes my muscle tight and keeps up with my friends. Going to beach with my family keeps us moral high. Watching a movie now and then is a good escape.

• How will you handle stress in your residency training?

I believe I am a person who handles stress appropriately and thrives when I’m in a situation with a lot of pressure. I know residency can be difficult and stressful but I believe I have the right mindset and social supports outside to be an excellent resident. My family and friends keep me down to earth and are always there for me. They help recharge my energy. I have also been very lucky to have found some mentors who I can share my experiences with and receive feedback from. Overall, I am a person who does well under pressures of treating sick patients and I know how important it is to have a balanced life outside of medicine.