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Who do psychiatrists turn to when they need therapy?

(Global Times)

08:47, May 14, 2013

"I'm really frustrated, and don't know what to do sometimes. I don't make any progress on my cases, and I am close to being in self-denial," Zhou told the Global Times in a telephone interview.

Whenever she feels like this, Zhou knows it's time for her to turn to psychiatric experts for help.

But Zhou is not any ordinary patient seeking therapy: she herself is a psychiatrist.

She believes her negative emotions are transferred from people who have come to her for psychiatric help, or "visitors," as the professionals prefer to call them.

Zhou has been working in this field for three years, and believes she has been driven to seek help because of the nature of her job.

Turning to colleagues for help

But who do psychiatrists turn to when they find themselves in need of therapy? Psychiatrists can attend lectures or talk to other professionals in their field to try and solve their problems, according to Ou Yongling, a psychiatry supervisor, who works at a psychological education center under the Beijing Normal University Education Training Center.

Visiting senior psychiatrists is an effective choice, but for Zhou, a supervisor doesn't need to be someone who's more experienced than her.

"In a specific period, as long as this psychiatrist can understand me and tolerate me, he or she would make a perfect supervisor," she told the Global Times.

"I need different 'supervisors' in different stages," said Zhou, adding that some supervisors can be helpful in one stage, but not in the next.

Psychiatrists can find their supervisors by visiting them after a lecture or being introduced by colleagues. "When you really need a supervisor, someone will be there," said Zhou.

Lin Ye (pseudonym), 40, has been a psychiatrist for over 10 years and offers advice to both ordinary visitors and colleagues. Some of his visitors are students at a major university in Beijing.

"Trying to be less exposed or not exposed to the public is a requirement for this job," said Lin, explaining that too much exposure could have a negative impact on the relationship between psychiatrists and visitors.

For Lin, every psychiatrist needs to be supervised by other professionals.

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