How I Got Here
I received a B.A. from Harvard University, an M.D. from Cornell University Medical College, and completed a 4-year residency program in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College. After graduating from residency, I continued working at the hospital as the in-house psychiatrist for the Employment Assistance Program and also opened a private practice in Manhattan.
A few years later, a patient I had been treating for mild symptoms of depression made an observation that made me rethink what it means to be a psychiatrist. “Dr. Boardman, I hate coming to our weekly sessions,” she confessed. “All we do is talk about the bad stuff in my life. Even if I am having a good day, coming here makes me think about all the negative things. I’m done.”
Her words stung but she was right. I’d been trained to focus on what was wrong in my patients’ lives and to reduce symptoms but realized I knew little about the factors that promote well-being or enable a good day. So I went back to school and got a Master’s degree in Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Positive psychology is the scientific study of optimal mental health. Instead of focusing on illness and pathology, it focuses on human strength and mental wellbeing. Essentially, it was the opposite of everything I had learned in medical school and psychiatry residency.
The year at Penn rewired my thinking and expanded my approach to mental health. I studied resilience, optimism, and post-traumatic growth. I explored the role of lifestyle and psychosocial factors that impact mental health and learned about evidence-based interventions that promote well-being. I have been practicing Positive Psychiatry ever since.
I have published papers in journals including Translational Neuroscience, Nature Reviews Neuroscience, The American Journal of Psychiatry, and The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. I’m also a frequent contributor to Psychology Today, The Wall Street Journal, and Thrive Global, and a guest on the Today Show and Good Day New York.
If you’re interested in fortifying yourself in the face of daily stress and feeling better than “airquote fine”, sign up for my newsletter, The Dose.
Also, I am thrilled to share my new book Everyday Vitality with you! Are you ready to build the strength that goes beyond just fixing what’s wrong? Be sure to pick up a copy for yourself.