On September 20, 2023, McLean Hospital hosted its inaugural Emerging Leaders in Mental Health workshop.
McLean’s Education Outreach team designed the event for psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, clinical mental health counselors, nurse practitioners, and other professionals who work directly with patients. Over 500 people attended the free event, which was led by senior faculty from McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
“So often, clinicians tell us they wish they were more skilled when they were just starting out in their careers,” director of Education Outreach Scott J. O’Brien said.
“In this workshop, our experts’ collective experiences apply to those who have just entered the mental health field, as well as to established clinicians.”
The course provided participants with professional insights from some of the top mental health practitioners in the field, with attendee-submitted questions helping to shape the course of the experts’ dialogue.
In the first discussion on developing trust with patients, Lisa W. Coyne, PhD, and Brent P. Forester, MD, MSc, shared their personal strategies for developing meaningful relationships with patients, especially those who may be hard to reach or less than enthusiastic about treatment. Each shared how a sense of authenticity is one of the most important qualities a provider can bring to the therapy room.
Forester stated that while a therapist’s ability to listen deeply to a patient’s story is critical, this skill may seem more challenging to access in today’s modern medical system, where providers are allotted less time with patients.
“But the amount of time doesn’t really matter—what matters is the quality of the time that you spend with the patient,” Forester said. “I think if you have an open ear to listen to what their agenda is, and to meet them where they’re at, that’s probably the biggest lesson that I’ve learned over the years.”