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Do you follow the recommendations you give to your patients?

  • The most possible. It doesn't make much sense to me to offer something to a patient that wouldn't make sense if I applied it to myself. But no one is perfect! ; )

  • Overall I would say yes. I try to have a healthy life. But no one is perfect...

  • In a very variable way… Often yes, often no. 

  • Most of the time, but I'm not a liar, yes I sometimes talk through my hat. I have to do better, and yet I try to put myself in their shoes as often as possible so that my advice is achievable.


Was there an aspect of the residency program that was unexpected and required adaptation on your part? 

  • I remember finding the child psychiatry internship confusing because at the time, it was an even more psychological and social discipline and less medical than the other fields of psychiatry.  

What do you think is the most difficult medical practice? The easiest?

  • The most difficult medical practice is the one we don't like. So choose your practice wisely!

  • I believe that areas requiring high availability of hours at all times of the day and night are the most difficult.

  • It's probably a question of constraints. For example, American doctors who are very limited by their insurer-payer have a probably frustrating practice. An easy practice is one where we have at our disposal the tools we need to provide care: paramedical professionals, logistical resources, accessible medical consultants, etc.

  • Surgical specialties remain very difficult, technically, stress management, reconciliation with personal life, from my point of view. I don't see anything easy, honestly.  


Would you be friends with your colleagues if you had met them outside of work?

  • I don't know, I met them at work! : )

  • How to know ? but I have co-workers who are good friends and hang out with outside of work

  • Only a few.

  • I am not sure. We spend so much time together, and hardships that it unites us. But I'm not sure that we can also know in advance who will become our friends, regardless of where they come from.  


What is your favorite alcoholic drink?

  • IPA-style beers! Also wine (white and red) and scotch


What personality traits are typical of your profession?

  • Psychiatrists often have a more intellectual, reflective and less action-oriented side. They are often people who love culture (literature, cinema, etc.). Also as a group, psychiatrists like to talk and give their opinion, which often makes departmental life complex.

Is it difficult to take care of your mental health after hearing all the difficult stories that some patients can go through?

  • It is a very real issue. You can feel overwhelmed by the suffering of people, you have to find, as in all disciplines, a way to create an inner barrier, leave the worries that arise from it at work and have a rich personal life.  That said, I remember finding pediatrics (with sometimes very sick and even dying children) to be even more upsetting to me than psychiatry.


What are the qualities of a good psychiatrist?

  • Good listening skills, for sure. An ability to tolerate ambiguity and vagueness. Patience, not hoping for too quick results from your interventions. Avoid judging people too quickly. Stay humble.

What are the different specialties of psychiatry?

  • The three official subspecialties in Canada are child psychiatry, forensic psychiatry and geriatric psychiatry. There are others that are more informal, which could be described as areas of increased competence: consultation-liaison (care of people with medical-surgical problems), one or other of the psychotherapies, psychopharmacology, care for serious mental disorders and psychiatric rehabilitation…


What specialty would you never do? Why?

  • I don't think I would have done a laboratory specialty (like pathology for example) or imaging because I would have missed contact with patients. Specialties involving short and repetitive interventions (such as dermatology or ophthalmology) would have bored me. But all disciplines are important!

During your medical studies, what did you do on a Friday evening? 

  • Usually seeing friends or my girlfriend, having a drink, going to the movies…things like that

What do you think is the most important factor for a successful residency in your specialty? A career in your specialty?

  • Always make decisions with kindness, especially difficult decisions.

  • An open and humble attitude, a good ability to work in a team

  • Residency: the ability to make each boss believe that we agree with him. The career: the ability to constantly question yourself.

  • It takes a spirit of detective, synthesis, integration. Lots of listening too.  


What is the best advice you have received?

  • To welcome my grandeur!

  • Do not necessarily seek to be trained by big names: they are often people too busy with their multiple publications and presentations, they have little interest in showing basic things to residents

  • Don't take me seriously.

  • An older professor reprimanded a male patient who had made inappropriate comments in front of me and told me never to tolerate that. His example still inspires me to this day.  


What is the most common criticism you receive?

  • The ambient discourse is generally quite critical of psychiatry, but I think that many people do not know what good we do, in everyday life, for patients...

  • Residents tend to find that I am demanding in terms of knowledge, that I am impatient with work that is too approximate

  • Of my patients whom I intern by force: asshole.

  • How disappointing that I can't treat Alzheimer's.  


Do you have mental health issues? Can we treat people with the same disorders as ourselves?

  • I think we must above all think about the reasons that lead us to treat specific patients, whether or not we have a mental health issue.

  • I was lucky not to suffer from formal mental health problems, even though I had some difficult times like in all life, I imagine. I think it is possible to treat people with similar disorders if you yourself are treated well; it can give an inside perspective and a greater empathy, if you are humble and open enough.

  • Yes, an anxiety disorder, fortunately well controlled. Absolutely, we can treat an individual who suffers from the same issues as us.


What are the pathologies or psychiatric disorders that are the most interesting in your opinion?

  • I stopped telling myself that I liked certain psychiatric disorders better because frankly, it's mostly people who are interesting.

  • I have always found psychotic disorders interesting, also neuro-cognitive and neuropsychiatric disorders.

  • The psychoses, from afar.


How many hours of work per week on average?

  • Many!

  • Between 40 and 55 hours

  • About 50.

  • Between 40 and 55

What do you dislike most about your practice? 

  • Chronically self-destructive patients. The capricious colleagues.

  • The lack of resources to have widely developed interdisciplinary teams.

  • ​ I don't really like the psychiatric emergency even though I've done a lot

How would your colleagues describe you?

  • You should ask them! The basic rule of mentalizing is not to assume what others might think! ; )

  • Probably quite reasonable, who seeks to treat well and quite knowledgeable.

  • Devoted to patients, silly at times.

  • Funny and harsh. A nurse advisor from the team sometimes introduced me to: “Sometimes Dr. Jessika is very demanding but she is very nice, you will see”.


If you had to specialize in something else, what would it be and why?

  • I don't know what I would have done other than psychiatry... maybe landscaping...

  • I think I would have liked general internal medicine, or maybe even orthopedics.

  • I would not have survived any other specialty. I was made to be a psychiatrist, period.

  • Geriatrics maybe. It is a global approach, which calls upon a wide variety of knowledge and interdisciplinary work.  


Does your specialty deal well with jokes at work?

  • Yes, it is essential to laugh in psychiatry!

  • In any case, I have a group of colleagues with whom we like to laugh

  • Absoutely! A day at work without a few jokes is like smoked meat without mustard.

  • Definitively. I don't think we could face so much adversity without using our sense of humor on a daily basis.  Before the pandemic, in the name of the elves, we turned our colleagues' offices upside down during the whole month of December.  


What are the difficulties, the least pleasant aspects that you encounter in your specialty?

  • The severe, persistently unstable and chronically self-destructive personality disorders, the problem of substance abuse which has become much worse in the last decades. It makes it difficult to approach


What car do you drive? 

  • A 2013 Subaru Impreza. More recently, we also acquired a small all-electric car (the VW e-Golf).  


How do you plan your vacation? 

  • My wife and I sit down together to discuss it, around around March or April to plan the summer

Do students/residents sometimes make you feel overwhelmed?

  • No.

  • Rarely do I make an effort to stay up to date; but the last years of my practice, I found it more difficult to keep up with the flow of new knowledge.

  • Yes, but that's not a problem.

  • No. When they ask good questions, they keep us engaged, they can even teach us things and it's very rewarding.  


If your specialty had to have a romantic relationship with another which one would it choose?

  • I'll let my specialty decide its sentimental inclinations for itself! ; )

  • A natural affinity exists with family medicine, I believe.

  • Let's be honest: a faithful relationship is very rare. It would therefore possibly be in contact with several other specialties at the same time. It remains to be seen whether this would be assumed, in an open relationship, or in secret...

  • Geriatrics. Together we can make true holistic medicine.

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