About Decatur Family Psychiatry
First and foremost in our practice, we strive to help our patients and their families achieve as much healing as possible. There are always problems that can’t be solved and hurts that will not completely heal. Sharing the burdens of those problems and hurts can be healing. Sometimes what we have to offer may result in more pain before the healing can begin. Sometimes we have only ourselves to offer as witnesses to the difficulties and suffering. Sometimes we are able to work with our patients to help them heal themselves. Ultimately, we construct our own healing out of whatever life has given us. That is the lesson I learned from my Granny Siney.
My great grandmother Siney lived in a wooden dirt floor shack on the edge of a swamp near Rocky Bayou, Florida. She was known to all the local folks as a healer. Of course she also produced the local liquor. She always had something – a root, an herb, a prayer, a poem, a talisman – for those who came to visit. She kept a large mason jar on the hearth and her “patients” left what they could in the jar or took what they needed. Not all of her “cures” were easy to stomach. They didn’t always help. People sometimes left angry and unsatisfied. My father, told me she never apologized. She simply shrugged and swept the dirt floor with her homemade pine straw and palmetto broom, “I do what I can; the rest is up to you.”
As practitioners we are primarily problem solvers. When presented with the story of someone’s struggle, we look for the themes, the symptoms, the clues to etiology that may help in devising the way forward. We use therapy, medications, coaching, homework, exercise and other lifestyle changes. In our partnership with our patients we bring knowledge from years of clinical experience and an understanding of the science and research that has a direct bearing on their struggles.
I am not a fan of fads or the newest solutions. Often these offerings are more about personality and money than about helping and healing. My dad always said, “If it sounds like somebody’s trying to sell you a car, they probably are.” Our practice is about relationship, experience and science forming the foundation for a future that is better than the past. It is not about false promises, gimmicky cures or reports with lots of fancy graphs and pretty pictures. It is about hard work and commitment.