Our Philosophy

The philosophical orientation of the UCLA-San Fernando Valley Psychiatry Training Program is that of a balance between biologic, dynamic, and behavioral conceptual viewpoints coupled with the acquisition of technical excellence in therapeutic skills.  There is a centrist vision which provides a broad base for the understanding of psychopathology and the development of effective therapies.  The trainees are encouraged to view the Axis I psychopathological processes as a part of a continuum of Axis II & III forces that either add to the diathesis of the Axis I presentation or influence the outcome/management of it.

Given the lack of a singularly applicable conceptual viewpoint within psychiatry, we emphasize integrated models that stress a balance of genetic, biophysiologic, developmental, and psychosocial factors in the making of the overall personality and illness.  Our goal is to train psychiatrists who will be able to function in a variety of settings, and will be comfortable in selecting and utilizing the broad spectrum of somatic, diagnostic, and therapeutic interventions within the field.  We expect our graduates to be prepared for a choice of various careers in teaching, research, administration, or clinical practice.

The model of instruction is one of skill acquisition.  The aim of this approach is to provide the intellectual and academic discipline that will be essential to keep current in this period of accelerating growth and change.  Theoretical eclecticism is adjunctive to eclecticism in techniques, i.e., we expect housestaff to obtain skills as well as knowledge.

The psychiatric housestaff gain experience and training in comprehensive psychiatric services providing both inpatient and outpatient care.  There is opportunity to follow patients longitudinally and to maintain follow-up care in the community.  This longitudinality of care is a basic tenet in the treatment philosophy of the training and clinical programs within the Department of Psychiatry.

The training program is structured to allow maximal elective time, up to 12 months, so that each resident may supplement his/her skills as a well trained general psychiatrist with individual interest in subspecialty modalities, including research, psychotherapy, biological, and community psychiatry.  The individual resident’s personality and experiences are combined with a firm clinical grounding throughout the training years as his/her psychiatric identity emerges.

The program utilizes various measures to gauge the progress of housestaff and the training experience.  Direct observation of work with patients and performance in seminars is combined with a review of the written clinical record.  Open written and verbal feedback from supervisors is standard.  All housestaff take the Psychiatric Resident-in-Training Examination (PRITE) yearly as a measure of their cognitive knowledge based on national norms.  From the PGY I year on, mock oral exams follow the format of the American Board of Psychiatry. These exams are designed to document competence in clinical assessment, differential diagnosis, case formulation, and treatment plan.  A log of psychotherapy cases is maintained to ensure a balanced mix of clinical experience across diagnostic categories, and utilization of the widest possible variety of interventions.