June 14, 2024

The Most Important Thing I Learned as a Psychiatrist


As a psychiatrist I have had the pleasure of working with many people with different circumstances and difficulties. Through years of experience, I have learned many valuable lessons, but one stands out to me: the power and importance of empathy.

Empathy: The Importance

Empathy can be defined as the ability to empathize with another person. It is essential for the treatment of mental illnesses and building healthy therapeutic relationships. As a psychiatrist, it has been my experience that patients feel more comfortable sharing their feelings with me if they are understood and heard. Empathy allows me also to see beyond the symptoms and understand what is causing the patient’s struggles. This is critical in creating a successful treatment plan. My patients are more likely to trust me when I listen and understand them. This allows me to provide a more comprehensive approach to their care.

What are the challenges of being a psychiatrist in Manila?

It is not easy to practice as a Filipino psychiatrist. There is a shortage in mental health professionals, which means there is often a higher demand than supply for psychiatric care. This can make accessing the care patients need difficult.

Another problem is the stigma around mental health in the Philippines. Mental health conditions are still seen as a sign that someone is weak or incapable, and can make it difficult for people to seek treatment. It is therefore crucial for psychiatrists like myself to demonstrate empathy and educate the public regarding the importance mental health.


As a psychiatrist for over 30 years, I’ve learned empathy is my most valuable tool. It allows me build therapeutic relationships with my patients and understand their struggles. As a psychiatrist in Manila, it is important for me to inform the public about the importance of mental well-being and work towards breaking down the stigma.

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