Lorraine S. Roth, M. D.
General Adult Psychiatry
Forensic Psychiatry
Dear Dr. Roth
Lorraine & Henry Roth
Henry J. Roth, Ph. D.
Child Psychology
Special Education
Behavior & Emotional Disorders

Dr. Lorraine S. Roth is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, retired from active practice in 2018. Presently Dr. Roth remains active on the Board of Current Psychiatry Journal reviewing articles submitted to the "Pearls" Department, of which she is head. Dr. Roth previously specialized in the practice of adult psychiatry and psychopharmacology --medication for the treatment of psychiatric disorders(1) --and forensic psychiatry, the evaluation of patients whose psychiatric conditions are at issue in civil or criminal proceedings(2).

She graduated from the University Of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Texas,(nee Lorraine Sharon, M. D., 1979) and held active licenses to practice medicine in North Carolina, Illinois and Virginia. and completed her residency in Psychiatry at the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Roth also completed a fourth-year post-graduate fellowship in Forensic Psychiatry through Duke University, at the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina.

Dr. Roth is a Department Editor for psychiatric articles submitted to Current Psychiatry medical journal, and for medically-themed submissions to the Book section of the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper.

(1) Psychotrophic medications are medications used for psychiatric disorders:

(2) Forensic psychiatric evaluations may include the determination of sanity during the commission of a crime; competence to stand trial; competence to write a will (also known as testamentary capacity), and competence to gain custody of children. There are many other types of competencies which may require a psychiatric evaluation, when called into question.

Dr. Roth has written and published numerous articles on a variety of general psychiatric subjects: Articles and Publications

Many readers write in asking questions, such as students doing career-research about psychiatry; or people with problems trying to locate a psychiatrist who can help. For this reason, Dr. Roth has compiled a list of "Frequently Asked Questions" (FAQ's), which may provide the answers being sought, as well as publishing some of these questions and answers in a book, Dear Dr. Roth: Letters To My Website.

Dr. Henry J. Roth is presently an Adjunct Instructor in the Department of Letters and Science at National University in Los Angeles, California. He retired as principal of the Jewish Child & Family Services Therapeutic Day School in Chicago, Illinois,in 2011. He also served as Executive Director of the Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School at the University of Chicago from 2005-2008. Before moving to the Chicago area, Dr. Roth was principal of the Duke University Child Psychiatry Day School from 1975-1989.

Dr. Roth received his Ph. D. degree from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, in 1977. He graduated with his B. A. in Psychology from DePaul University in Chicago, in 1971. He received a Masters degree in Special Education from Northeastern Illinois University in 1972; and a Masters in Human Development from Governor's State University, in Park Forest, Illinois, in 1974.

Dr. Roth previously served as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Special Education with Northeastern Illinois University since 1991. He was a Clinical Associate Professor at Duke University from 1982-1989. He has written more than sixty articles and publications in the area of working with child and adolescent students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Dr. Roth is the author of several books related to child and adolescent psychology, as well as psychological analyses of U. S. Presidents:

Tales From Time-Out

By Henry J. Roth, Ph. D.

During more than 30 years as Principal of a Therapeutic Day School, Dr. Roth had the opportunity to spend time conversing with students who were sent to "time-out" for various misbehaviors at school. This book is a collection of vignettes relating some of the more memorable exchanges that Henry had with his students in time-out, and also offers some strategies for dealing with children in time-out situations. Tales From Time-Out appeals to anyone who believes in the healing power of humor.

Paperback $8.95

Climbing Jacob's Ladder: Teaching & Counseling Orthodox Students

By Henry J. Roth, Ph. D.

School problems are universal. Orthodox students with emotional and behavioral problems who are referred to a therapeutic day school, regardless of their school difficulties, frequently experience undetected conflicted feelings about their religion. This book provides psycho-educational profiles of Orthodox students with behavioral and emotional problems; and how conflicted religious feelings may cause or aggravate psychological problems that lead to problems in school.

Paperback $3.95

Dear Dr. Roth: Letters To My Website

By Lorraine S. Roth, M. D.

Around the turn of the century, Dr. Lorraine Roth designed a web page and invited readers to ask questions. Over the next several years hundreds of email letters arrived. She gave advice and information to people who did not know where to turn for the resources to solve their problems. Much of that advice and information could be helpful to others, so she compiled the letters and her responses into this book. The letters are unchanged except to clarify their message and safeguard confidentiality. Dr. Roth hopes her readers find some value in it.

Paperback $8.95

If you have a question, please feel free to send an email to either Dr. Roth at:

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Psychiatry as a Career:

1. What kind of degrees must you have to become a psychiatrist?

You should have a bachelor's degree from college (B.A. or B.S.), although it is not mandatory that you do; and a medical degree (M.D.) from medical school. Then you should complete a psychiatry residency training program.

2. How many years of school does it take?

Usually 4 for college, 4 for medical and 4 for residency training. However, this is not absolutely the case for every individual. If you complete the minimum required credits to apply to medical school, with a high grade point average, and score in the upper range of the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), you may be accepted early to medical school. Most medical schools require 4 years to complete, but not all. Some may grant early graduation if residency training requirements are met. Finally, residency training program length may vary from site to site.

3. What high school courses should you take to get ready for this career?

Science and math -- as much as you can!

4. What kind of classes do you have to take in college?

Sciences, especially biology, zoology, physiology, physics, chemistry. Genetics is very helpful, as is comparative anatomy. You should have math through the calculus. These classes will prepare you to go through medical school. Courses in psychology in high school or college may be helpful in determining your interest in psychiatry.

5. What kind of additional training do you need to have?

You may take a fellowship for a year or two beyond your residency. There are many different types of sub-specialty fellowships in psychiatry, such as Forensic Psychiatry, Child Psychiatry or Geriatric Psychiatry.

6. What is the minimum experience you must have to be a Psychiatrist?

You should complete a 4-year psychiatry residency training program following medical school in order to be eligible to take the examination to become certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

7. What is your salary range?

That depends on where you work and what hours. A local, county, state or federal institution often will pay a salary with benefits. Private practice tends to make more income, but you have no benefits, such as vacation or health insurance.

8. What is the work environment like?

That again depends on where you choose to work: a hospital, out-patient clinic, private practice, or combination.

9. Is your job interesting, why?

Very interesting -- Just when you think you've heard everything, someone comes along with a new problem that you never could have imagined!

10. What are the hours/schedule?

Psychiatry is somewhat less demanding than other medical specialties. Psychiatry can be a 9-to-5 job, once you have completed your residency training, if you practice with others who can share on-call with you. But you should always try to be available by telephone for emergencies.

11. What are the benefits?

Benefits such as vacation time, sick leave, malpractice liability and health insurance are usually offered by institutions that hire you for a salary. Private practice offers the benefit of higher hourly income, usually. Private practice also allows you to design your own schedule and limit or expand your patient caseload.

12. What are the necessary skills?

The ability to listen and to keep boundaries between yourself and your patients is essential. It is not good to get involved with your patients in any way other than to listen, suggest, and prescribe medication, if indicated. Socializing outside of the doctor-patient relationship is highly discouraged, as it is usually detrimental to the patient, and can result in severe consequences for the practitioner.

13. What type of person do you need to be to do this job?

That's a hard question. One who is able to sort things out from a distance, have a strong interest in people, but be able to keep one's perspective and not take patients' problems home.

14. What are the rewards of doing this job?

There is a tremendous satisfaction in helping people. Good income, generally, as well. It is great to have financial security, but it is indescribably rewarding to hear someone say, "You've helped me so much, I can't thank you enough..."

15. What kind of license/certification do you need?

It is not mandatory that you are certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology to obtain work as a psychiatrist, but many institutions are requiring it now in order to join their staff. You must have completed medical school and received a Medical Degree (M. D.) before applying for a license to practice Medicine in any state. That generally requires passing a state licensing exam, and a national exam such as the Federal Licensure Exam (FLEX).

16. Is this occupation in high demand?

Very high. There are many positions for Board-certified or Board-eligible psychiatrists around the country which go unfilled. Certain regional governments may even offer full coverage of expenses, including malpractice insurance and office expenses to attract a psychiatrist to their area. In other areas, such as larger metropolitan cities, there is an abundance of practitioners.

17. What is the dress code?

Some psychiatrists prefer the casual look, and may even wear jeans, sandals, or other casual clothes. Others prefer to appear more formal, and may wear a suit and tie, or dresses /suits with skirts and heels. It is easier to maintain one's professional distance, in my opinion, in the more formal attire. However, some professionals feel that the more casual look is friendlier and less threatening to patients who may otherwise have trouble expressing themselves.

Finding a Psychiatrist or Other Therapist:

Often one's own physician -- Internal Medicine, Family Practitioner, Obstetrician or Pediatrician -- can make a referral to a psychiatrist. If a psychiatrist does not feel that medication is indicated, he may refer you to a psychologist, psychiatric social worker, or psychiatric nurse practitioner. Many of these therapists can do excellent psychotherapy.

If there is a University Medical Center -- a hospital affiliated with a medical school -- nearby, that is a good place to look for a psychiatrist or psychotherapist. If there is no univesity medical center in your area, you might check out your local County resources. Often they have good providers and may be less expensive. You can check for a county mental health clinic in the yellow pages under "Clinics, Mental Health" or under your County Government Offices in the white pages.

Getting Help for a Friend/ Relative/ Co-Worker/ or Other:

It is very difficult to deal with a mentally ill family member, or other close acquaintance. Sometimes it seems as though they are deliberately manipulating everyone around them. They may be depressed and confused about what they want or should do. If they are paranoid, they may not trust anyone, even those whom they know love and care about them.

If they will not consider going to a psychiatrist, sometimes it is less threatening to suggest taking them to see their primary care medical doctor -- Internist or Family Practitioner. They can be hospitalized, if necessary, and a psychiatric consultant called in.

One excellent resource affiliation is the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (N.A.M.I.) This group was started by the parents of seriously mentally ill adult children. They can offer a great deal of support and information.

For a friend or relative who is abusing drugs or alcohol, the Al-Anon groups are an excellent resource. Once again, you can look up Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous in the white pages of your phone book. Other resources for Substance Abuse on the internet are listed below, with links to Directories and Helplines.

My Psychiatrist/ Therapist is not helping me:

If you feel that you are not getting the help you need, the best course is to seek a second opinion. Be sure that the therapist you locate is licensed by their professional licensing board. Each state usually has its own licensing board. Check the section on Finding a Psychiatrist or Other Therapist to locate a professional for a second opinion.

Links to Other Helpful Resources on the Internet:

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill

  • http://www.nami.org/

American Psychiatric Association

  • http://www.psych.org/

Dept. of Health and Human Services

  • http://www.mentalhealth.org/

National Women's Health Information Center

  • http://www.4woman.gov/

American Medical Women's Association

  • http://www.amwa-doc.org/

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

  • http://www.samhsa.gov/

Directories of Service Providers and Referral Helplines

  • http://www.samhsa.gov/look3.htm

Bipolar Disorders in Children

  • http://www.mhsource.com/pt/p960531.html
  • http://bipolarparents.virtualave.net/resources.html
  • http://www.klis.com/chandler/pamphlet/bipolar/bipolarpamphlet.htmLinks for Loss of Children

Loss of Child

  • http://www.compassionatefriends.org/
  • http://www.penparents.org/reachout/help.shtml
  • http://www.misschildren.org/
  • http://emptyarms.org/

American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (and other Forensic links)

  • http://www.aapl.org/
  • http://www.abfp.com/board.html