More about Steve Adelman, MD

I like people and I thoroughly enjoy marshaling my skills, knowledge, and experience in the service of others. What a privilege! Read on if you’re interested in any of the following: How I Help People; Core Values & Essential Qualities; Education; Career in Psychiatry & Medical Leadership; Humble Origins; and, Adelman in the News. Although some of the info covered in these links may be of interest, a better use of your time may simply be to reach out and schedule a free 20-30-minute consultation (telephone or videoconference).

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My Background in Coaching

I was trained at the College of Executive Coaching and am Board-Certified in Business/ Executive/Leadership Coaching by the Center for Credentialing and Education. Catalyst, Innovations in Care Delivery of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published a piece I co-authored on coaching to improve the health care system.  I envisioned, developed, and produced the Medical Professionals Empowerment Program (MedPEP.org), a highly-rated podcast that documents the coaching journey of Dr. Marie Curious (pseudonym), a practicing primary care doctor afflicted by burnout. More here on the role of coaching in my career.

How I Help People

Connecting, Listening, Processing
Communicating & Collaborating

Sometimes the work of psychiatrists, therapists, coaches, and clerics can be powerfully helpful, a game-changer. What’s going on with this so-called ‘talking cure?’ When a person with a problem entrusts someone else to hear them out, that’s often the beginning of the solution.

The novelist E.M. Forster opined that meaningful connection to others is the hallmark of well-lived lives.  In the early stages of working with a person who calls upon me to help them solve a problem, I endeavor to forge a strong and viable connection with them.  Clients with well-defined problems and goals who are able to readily connect – these are individuals who respond well to ‘shortest distance between two points’ approaches like coaching or specific, manualized psychotherapies.

A more nuanced, holistic and integrated clinical approach is often in order for longer-standing or more deep-seated challenges.  That’s when excellent psychotherapy training, hard-earned clinical wisdom, and stick-to-itiveness pave the collaborative way forward.  I’ve posted more about me as a psychotherapist on my Psychology Today profile.

The problem-solving, solution-focused coaching approach sometimes informs a more complex and open-ended process of shared exploration.  Together, we answer questions like: Where am I? How did I get here? Where do I truly want to go from here, and, what’s the path forward?

For those interested in my coaching background, I was trained at the College of Executive Coaching and am Board-Certified in Business/ Executive/Leadership Coaching by the Center for Credentialing and Education. Catalyst, Innovations in Care Delivery of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published a piece I co-authored on coaching to improve the health care system. I envisioned, developed, and produced the Medical Professionals Empowerment Program (MedPEP.org), a highly-rated podcast that documents the coaching journey of Dr. Marie Curious (pseudonym), a practicing primary care doctor afflicted by burnout. More here on the role of coaching in my career.

Core Values & Essential Qualities

I am a client-centered problem-solver, and I love being of service to those I am qualified to assist.  Although it is important to be careful and thorough in order to get things right, my direct and spirited approach to this sacred work aims to avoid cumbersome, roundabout, and unnecessary side excursions.

Being helpful to you and those you serve is my passion. I am truly grateful that I have been able to develop the ability to be helpful to others. 

Thankfully, I have benefitted from a stable upbringing, a superb education, many positive and growth-promoting life experiences, excellent training, and several rewarding career opportunities.  This fortunate mélange propels me to be of service – that’s what matters most.

Education

I received excellent training in psychiatry and addiction medicine at Harvard Medical School’s McLean Hospital. Then, and now, I have strived to learn from experts of every stripe and to fuse their wisdom into an informed, non-doctrinaire, eclectic approach that serves patients and clients.  My medical school training at the University of Pennsylvania was delightfully patient-centered and this resonated with my strong humanistic tendencies. I graduated with Highest Honors in Biology from Harvard College, where I was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

Career in Psychiatry & Medical Leadership

After my residency, I became a full-time faculty member and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine. There I ran an outpatient clinic, co-founded a psychotherapy fellowship program, and developed expertise in addiction medicine as a nationally-funded faculty fellow.

In the 90’s I joined Harvard Community Health Plan, which gave rise to Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates (now Atrius Health).  I helped launch an independent 4,000-employee, multispecialty group practice as a founding trustee; served on its board; led the Behavioral Health Department for 13 years; successfully chaired a CEO search; and became intimately acquainted with the mounting challenges of practicing clinicians in our large multisite, multidisciplinary, multi-payor, ambulatory group practice – all of this while maintaining a large and satisfying general and addiction psychiatry practice. I launched and led several long-term treatment groups that cumulatively served hundreds of individuals recovering from substance use disorders.

In 2013 I became the director of the non-profit Physician Health Services, Inc. (PHS). There I designed and launched a unique coaching program for physicians who manifest problematic workplace behavior, grew the volume of self-referrals, and established a reputation as a thought leader in the domains of physician burnout and professional coaching. I expanded the mission by increasing the number of supporting organizations from 15 to more than 70, dramatically growing charitable contributions to support the services we provided to distressed medical students and physicians. More than most mental health professionals, I understand the business world and the pressure it exerts on its central figures.

I transitioned from PHS to private practice during 2020, and it soon became clear that my work with physicians, medical leaders and healthcare executives prepared me well for my bespoke private practice of psychotherapy, addiction psychiatry, coaching, and, in-depth evaluations. I just love what I do and I endeavor to imbue this experience of flow and deep personal/professional satisfaction to each and every one of my clients!

“Passionately dedicated to enhancing the well-being of front-line clinicians and their leaders, Steve has skillfully pioneered the use of professional coaching across the healthcare system.”

Margaret Moore, MBA
Founder & CEO, Wellcoaches • Co-Founder & Chair, Institute of Coaching (McLean Hospital, a Harvard Medical School Affiliate)

Humble Origins

I grew up in a small rowhouse in Philadelphia, where my parents taught in the public schools. My education at Harvard was funded by multiple scholarships and I graduated with highest honors in five semesters. Following college, I lived abroad for three years, worked in aviation and farming, and decided to commit myself to a career in medicine and psychiatry. I was chief resident at McLean Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

I have been fortunate to collaborate extensively and co-author publications with Harvard Professor of Psychiatry, Roger Weiss, MD. Currently, I am a Consultant in Psychiatry in McLean’s Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse that is led by Dr. Weiss.  In 2019 the American Psychiatric Association recognized me as a Distinguished Life Fellow, an honor bestowed upon those who have made significant contributions to the psychiatric profession.

Media

How Physicians Can Be Better Leaders

Listen to KevinMD interview Dr. Steve on this podcast How Physicians Can Be Better Leaders.

Partnering With State Physician Health Programs

How can State Physician Health Programs guide your care of physician patients? Read about it in this Psychiatric Times article.

Why it’s important to embrace dialectical thinking

Read about this on the the Kevin MD blog.

Contact

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