Academic Psychiatry

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 385–390 | Cite as

Listening: An Underlying Competency in Psychiatry Education

  • Adam M. BrennerEmail author
In Depth Article: Commentary

It may seem unnecessary to argue for more attention to be paid to listening as a competency in psychiatric education. Popular culture certainly seems to embrace the idea that this is a central aspect of being a psychiatrist. Television psychiatrist Frazier began each call on his radio program with the catch phrase, “I’m listening.” Many New Yorker cartoons play off the image of the psychiatrist in his or her chair listening deeply, or, for comic effect, not listening at all. During residency application season, many medical students report that they are drawn to a career in psychiatry because it rewards their interest and aptitude for listening to patients. All of this is ultimately a reflection of the fact that being listened to is a profound and fundamental human need, one that may become even more important when ill with a condition that society often drapes in silence. Being listened to “allows our experiences to count and ourselves to matter” (p. 3) and thereby fosters a sense of...


Psychiatry Resident Medical Education Literature Subliminal Priming Literary Fiction Clinical Empathy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author appreciates the critical edits and conceptual contributions provided by Amy Brenner.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

The author attests compliance with all relevant ethical standards.

Ethical Considerations (e.g., IRB information, consent process, if applicable)

The article is a commentary and did not require IRB review.


The author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Academic Psychiatry 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Texas Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA

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