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  • Writer's picturekjrusseth

Why Integrative Psychiatry? My Journey

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

Returning to Roots: Choosing Integrative Psychiatry

There was never a shift or sudden change to Integrative Psychiatry, but rather a gradual pull from and move back towards my initial aspirations and visions in the field of medicine. When I first entered this profession, my goal was clear in my application essays for both college and medical school. I expressed a desire to approach healthcare holistically, considering the whole person by integrating science, psychology, and spirituality, aiming to positively impact health and well-being.

Consistent Vision

Since the beginning of my academic journey, my focus has been on understanding the complex nature of humans and their health. I've always believed that health is not just the absence of disease but a balance of physical, mental, interpersonal and metaphysical aspects of an individual.

Navigating Traditional Medicine

For over two decades within conventional medicine, the tension between my deep commitment to holistic, patient-centered care and the systemic pressures I encountered has been palpable. Despite constant nudges to prioritize quantity over quality, I worked diligently to stay true to my vision of providing care that comprehensively addresses the needs of the whole person, in their particular family and environmental situation. Nonetheless, safeguarding the sacred time and quality of interaction between doctor and patient amidst a system that often seemed to undervalue these principles was an uphill battle. While I did my utmost to navigate this tension, the strain of striving to maintain the integrity and quality of patient care amidst conflicting systemic demands became increasingly burdensome. And now, I have chosen a path where I no longer have to try to fit in a compromised system. But I can provide the depth of care I wish.

The Pull Towards Private Practice

Amidst the challenges, I held onto a vision from my childhood: obtaining expertise and competence and being able to help people. This dream was not just about having an independent practice but about creating a space where the true essence of healthcare could be provided with attention to each patient's unique needs.

Personal Health Journey

A few years ago, a serious health scare forced me to reevaluate my career path. For a brief period, I believed I had limited time left, igniting a desire to leave a lasting, positive impact on the medical field. However, endeavoring to bring about sweeping changes in medicine proved unsustainable and caused undue stress. I found that my responsibility was not just to come back or stay in medicine, but to ensure the community didn’t lose an expert deeply committed and uniquely skilled in child psychiatry. This critical juncture prompted reflection on my deep-seated aspirations, including childhood dreams and legacy goals. It was a poignant moment where my professional hurdles and personal challenges converged, gently guiding me towards a path I had long dreamt of but had not pursued until now.

The Time is Now

I have always envisioned a form of psychiatry that transcends the narrow confines of medication management, one that truly embodies the holistic care I believe in. This vision has now come to fruition in my practice of Integrative Psychiatry. This approach isn't an alternative; it represents the essence of psychiatric care – treating the whole person, not just symptoms. Integrative Psychiatry represents my vision for a forward-thinking, holistic approach to mental health, one that transcends the conventional disease-focused model. This method emphasizes positive psychology and the nurturing of mental and emotional wellness, rather than solely treating illnesses.

It is a detriment to the field that the traditional role of psychiatrists has become mere managers of medication, instead embracing our potential as providers of comprehensive, whole-person care. I am with the psychiatrists who choose to redefine their role as multifaceted caregivers, aligning with the comprehensive training we received. This shift moves us from a purely problem-solving perspective to one that actively promotes psychological health and resilience.


Through Integrative Psychiatry, I can provide more than just medication; I offer understanding and comprehensive care that addresses the physical, psychological, social, and transcendental needs of individuals. This approach allows for a practice that mirrors both my patients’ and my own experiences and aspirations in healthcare. The journey to this point has been long and necessary, providing me with deeper insight and a stronger commitment to offering holistic health care.

Welcome to a practice where your health and story are valued, where you are not just a patient but a partner in the healthcare process, and where healing is a collaborative effort. Welcome to Centered Psychiatry.

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