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Psychiatry Courses overview
Psychiatry is the branch of medicine concerning mental or behavioural problems. Practitioners are highly skilled, prescribing treatments and engaging with patients to understand and improve their mental state. Postgraduate study has students learn all essential components of psychiatry, such as learning to make evidence-based diagnoses, considering genetic risks, integrating psychological and scientific theories, legal issues, ethical dilemmas and more.
Psychiatry can trace its roots back to ancient India, with early hospitals for mental illness being discovered during the 3rd century BCE. These continued being built worldwide, with mental hospitals being established in Baghdad during the 8th century CE. Insensitively named ‘lunatic asylums’ were instalments of the middle ages to early modern periods until 18th century reform saw patients being treated with more respect, doing away with chains and cells.
Hundreds of years later, the present day is filled with vastly improved methodology and treatment of patients. Modern psychiatrists utilise state of the art scientific knowledge and medical technology to ensure their clients are treated well and get the results they need.
Is psychiatry for me?
Psychiatry is ideal for medical professionals with a fascination for the human mind and all its enigmatic facets. It is best suited to the patient and compassionate; respectfully dealing with clients that may not speak or behave coherently can be too much of a challenge for some. If you’re someone with patience and scientific discipline, psychiatry could be an ideal and rewarding field.
Postgraduate psychiatry is available up to master level, with graduate certificates and diplomas being available.
Graduate certificates from the University of Sydney and similar institutions take six months of full time study to complete, or a year part time. They provide units in brain ageing, clinical psychiatry, child and youth mental health, psychotherapy and more. Entry requirements are quite high, as these and higher programs build off prior knowledge. Applicants must hold a medical degree in addition to being employed at an accredited psychiatry training institution.
Graduate diplomas offer a similar experience, but take one year of full time study to complete or up to two years part time. In addition to the units specified for certificates, diplomas from the University of Sydney present the opportunity to learn about psychosocial care in addition to a research inquiry. This requires students to critically appraise scientific literature and engage with the psychiatric community. Entry requirements are identical to certificates, requiring a medical degree and employment.
The Master of Psychiatry is a one and a half year full time or three year part time program offered by the University of Melbourne and similar institutions. It features all the core courses of a graduate diploma, with additional units and electives such as the psychiatry of aged care, forensic psychiatry or cognitive behaviour therapy. Entry requirements are a stringent combination of medical degree, work experience and medical registration. Students have the option of doing an even more strenuous version of the program, which can take as little as six months to complete.
Psychiatrists are in demand all over the world, as it’s no trivial feat to become one. Graduates can have their pick of hospitals and clinics around the world, seeking employment wherever they see fit. Working for companies like TMS Australia, The Hills Clinic or even starting an independent venture are all possible.
Many areas of specialisations are possible as a psychiatrist. Some of these include: