Karen Ritchie, M.D.

I believe it is time for change. It is time for doctors to take back their story.

I like to see people be empowered. That is why I chose psychiatry, more than forty years ago. I wanted people to understand that they could have more control over their lives. I wanted them to be able to feel better, do better, fix what they wanted to improve. That is still what I want.

In the seventies, psychiatrists could do that. We could listen to people – the most important, often the most healing thing we can do. Our job was to get to know the patient and design a treatment plan that fit the needs of that patient at that time.

Medicine is different now. We have no time to listen. Instead, we fill out checklists, answer questions irrelevant to the patient before us, and ultimately, prescribe only what is approved by some far-off entity whose highest goal is making a profit.

I was formerly the Chief of Psychiatry at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Texas. I am also a bioethicist, with a Masters’ degree in bioethics from Georgetown’s Kennedy Institute of Ethics. I was founder and first president of the Midwest Bioethics Center, now the Center for Practical Bioethics in Kansas City.

I have been in private practice. I have worked in a prison and state hospitals and many outpatient clinics. For the past few years I have worked with veterans. My goal was to try out an energy therapy technique called Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT. I found it helpful for many problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder. You will find a demonstration on this website and in my Amazon #1 best-selling book, Relieve Stress with this Ancient Secret: A Psychiatrist Shows You How.

But at one facility I was ordered to stop teaching veterans this process, which has essentially no side effects. I could prescribe as many drugs as I wanted, but was forbidden to show people how they could improve their symptoms.

I believe it is time for change. It is time for doctors to take back their story. It is time we had the ability to listen to patients, to provide treatment for the individual. It is time for patients to be people and not numbers. It is time to create a new version of a health care system. I hope you will join me. 

Let’s Fix Health Care.

Karen Ritchie, M.D.