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Redefining the term 'shrink'

Alumna and colleagues write about modern-day psychiatry

Broke your leg? You’ll want to see an orthopaedist, of course. Experiencing cloudy vision? Call your ophthalmologist.

Having trouble sleeping, lost your energy and appetite? Well, you could call a psychiatrist … or a psychologist, counselor, social worker, therapist, or even a personal “coach.”

A new book, Shrink Rap: Three Psychiatrists Explain Their Work, explains the sometimes fuzzy distinctions between these professionals and what they do.

Specifically, the authors, University of Minnesota Medical School alumna Annette Hanson, M.D. (Class of 1988), Dinah Miller, M.D., and Steven Roy Daviss, M.D., seek to clarify the role of the clinical psychiatrist.

Through the use of fictional doctors and patients—used to protect confidentiality — the book highlights common experiences in psychiatry, disagreements in the field, and ideas about the future of modern-day psychiatry.

Hanson and her colleagues became collaborators more than five years ago, when they started a blog about psychiatry for health professionals. “We got a much broader discussion going with the Internet community at large,” she says.

After publishing the book, Hanson and her coauthors have begun writing columns in industry publications, such as Clinical Psychiatry News and Psychology Today. “It’s taken off surprisingly well,” she says.

A forensic psychiatrist, Hanson treats prisoners and conducts pretrial sanity evaluations in Maryland, where she lives, but she says that she still has strong ties to Minnesota.

“I have fond memories of the University of Minnesota Medical School,” Hanson says, adding that Thomas Mackenzie, M.D., her attending during her psychiatry rotation in medical school, inspired her career. “I was introduced to psychiatry and I never looked back.”

By Robyn White, associate director of Editorial Services, Minnesota Medical Foundation

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