The Riggs Blog

Riggs Helps Establish APA Caucus on Psychotherapy

This past December, the APA Board of Trustees approved the formation of a Caucus on Psychotherapy. According to Riggs own Eric Plakun, M.D., chair of the Assembly’s Task Force on Psychotherapy that led the push for the establishment for such a Caucus, the purpose of the Caucus is to “promote communication and networking among APA members who share a special interest in psychotherapy”.

Plakun notes the irony that, even while an evidence base is growing demonstrating that psychotherapy is an effective treatment associated with behavioral and brain change in multiple disorders, “psychiatrists are doing less psychotherapy” and residents get less training in it. In the past, the psychiatry Residency Review Committee (RRC) identified psychiatry as a skill that psychiatrists were in danger of losing, leading to the mandate that residents be instructed to a measurable level of competence in supportive, cognitive behavioral and psychodynamic psychotherapies, and to the establishment of first a Commission and then an APA Component Committee on Psychotherapy, which Plakun chaired for several years. Since the sunsetting of that Committee in 2008, there has been no formal place in the APA to represent psychotherapy as a crucial part of the training, identity and skills of psychiatrists.

Other members of the task force established by the APA Assembly that worked toward the establishment of the Caucus included several Riggs psychiatrists -- Elizabeth Weinberg, David Flynn, Samar Habl and non-Riggs psychiatrists Evan Leibu and Donna Sudak.

The Caucus on Psychotherapy will meet at the APA annual meeting in May. For more information on this caucus, please contact Eric Plakun, M.D. at eric.plakun@austenriggs.net.

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