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Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (P)
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Specialty Description

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