Psychiatrist: Dr Fatima Seedat

She is helping others to help themselves

Answers by Dr Fatima Seedat, Specialist Psychiatrist

Describe your business/profession.
I am a Specialist Psychiatrist, practising full-time in private practice in Newcastle, at the Hospital Street Office Park, opposite Mediclinic Newcastle. My practice consists of seeing out-patients as well as hospitalised in-patients at Mediclinic Newcastle. As a Specialist Psychiatrist, I am a qualified medical Doctor, who specialises in Psychiatry, which includes the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. A Psychiatrist is not a Psychologist (who is not medical a doctor), so we are mental health care professionals who not only prescribe medication, conduct physical examinations, order and interpret blood investigations, CT scans and X-rays, but are also trained in psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is study of mind and behaviour, applied to the assessment and treatment of mental health problems, towards understanding and solving problems, by enhancing coping skills, reducing negative thoughts, offering support, among other uses. We are legally bound to respect patient confidentiality.

What does it take to be successful in this career?
My passion for people, patience, empathy, and desire to help those who are experiencing emotional crisis or mental health challenges, make me successful. My working hours are extremely long, and I often work until late in the evening, when I finish hospital rounds. Work also includes most weekends and public holidays.

What did you study to qualify for your career?
I completed six years of training to become a medical doctor, plus one year of internship. The new regulation requires two years of internship. “This was followed by one year of community service, one year of working as a medical officer in psychiatry and I then went on to specialise for four years at Weskoppies Hospital, through the University of Pretoria (TUKS).” Her passion included research, which gave her the opportunity to attend several international congresses and present her research findings. “I thoroughly enjoyed the academic experience at the state hospitals.”

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