What is a Consultation-Liaison Psychiatrist?
Consultation-Liaison (C-L) psychiatrists are at the forefront of integrated medical and psychiatric practice.
C-L psychiatrists provide expert psychiatric care for patients with complex medical conditions to all inpatient and outpatient primary care and specialty services. They provide care:
- Directly through consultation with patients
- As members of interdisciplinary teams by communicating and collaborating with medical and surgical colleagues (i.e., liaison services) to optimize patient care
What does a Consultation-Liaison Psychiatrist do?
In brief, Consultation-Liaison psychiatrists focus on advancing integrated psychiatric care for people with medical illnesses.
C-L psychiatrists contribute to the care of patients with a wide range of acute and chronic conditions, which may include medical, neurological, obstetrical, pediatric, or surgical conditions. They:
- Diagnose and treat psychiatric conditions in people with medical co-morbidities
- Identify medical conditions or medications causing psychiatric symptoms
- Apply knowledge of the psychiatric aspects of illness experiences
- Facilitate effective medical care for people with pre-existing psychiatric conditions
Some examples of the ways C-L psychiatrists can have a major impact on people's lives are:
- Instituting behavioral interventions and reducing polypharmacy for an elderly individual with post-operative delirium
- Discovering a critical drug-drug interaction that led to the development of serotonin syndrome when an antibiotic was prescribed for a wound infection
- Rapidly reversing catatonia that emerged during an exacerbation of systemic lupus erythematosus
- Providing life-saving treatment with ECT to a new mother who developed delusional beliefs and intent to kill her infant and herself
- Helping patients and their care teams manage chronic pain and somatic symptoms
- Delivering psychotherapy to a woman with recurrent depression who received a mastectomy for stage 3 breast cancer and is undergoing radiation therapy
- Addressing trauma and avoidance symptoms to promote engagement in care in an outpatient clinic providing medical care for refugees
- Leading team-based care for a population of people with depression or anxiety in a community health center
C-L psychiatrists enjoy a tremendous range of career opportunities, which may include:
- Working in inpatient or outpatient medical, surgical, pediatric and obstetric settings
- Specializing in their preferred setting or patient population
- Delivering a wide array of pharmacologic and psychotherapeutic treatment modalities
- Working part-time
- Enjoying flexible remote work via through telepsychiatry
A career in C-L psychiatry is an ideal choice for anyone who enjoys:
- Working at the exciting interface of psychiatry and other medical disciplines
- Team-based care in medical and surgical settings
- The depth of patient-provider relationship that psychiatric care entails
To learn more about the opportunities a career in C-L psychiatry offers for you to make a difference in the lives of patients and colleagues visit https://www.clpsychiatry.org/training-career/medical-students/
How to become a Consultation-Liaison Psychiatrist?
Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry is an ABPN board-certified subspecialty of psychiatry.
Training consists of:
- 1-year ACGME accredited Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry fellowship following completion of the 4-year training in general Psychiatry
Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry has a vibrant global community that is:
- Welcoming and collaborative
- Experiencing substantial growth
- Comprising ~1700 board-certified C-L psychiatrists in the United States
- In high demand due to the national shortage of psychiatric providers and C-L psychiatrists