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On Healing

Susan Rako MD
Psychiatrist in Private Practice, Newtonville, MA 02460

When something’s really WRONG — we’re not okay and we haven’t found a way to gain or regain our balance, physically or emotionally — we look for help.   The best doctors are healers.  It has taken me a lifetime of searching to find my personal doctors and helpers, all of whom are healers.  

To be a healer is a gift.  One sign of this gift is singleminded dedication to the welfare of those who come for help.  Another is respect for the potential for wholeness in a person.  A third is trust in the gift of healing that one has been given.

A healer is a person in whose presence one already feels better.  Often simply knowing that one is going to see one’s healer begins the process of healing, even before the meeting occurs. 

I have been a psychiatrist for many decades.  Working with my patients is the process of my knowing that, as with a seed that, when planted in good enough earth in the presence of nourishing sun and rain, will simply grow … the task is to address what nourishment the person needs to grow and mature.  This nourishment can take imaginative forms. Key to the process is my capacity to see the person who comes for help as having the potential to become whole.

Early on in my training, I discovered that I am, myself, a healer.  I have become known as “a psychiatrist who can work with the tough cases.” Anyone who wants to be a whole self and will sit to his or her truth, sometimes with grace, sometimes kicking and screaming, but always with that intention, is not a “tough case” to me, regardless of a formal diagnosis.

I am a psychiatrist, classically trained at Harvard Psychiatric residency programs in the heyday of psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy.  In my turn, for a time I taught in these same programs.  For the past 35 years I have enjoyed the sanctity of an independent private practice and the honor of serving as healer to those who come to consult with me.   What we have to work with are feeling and words, and the ineffable gift of healing that serves as the matrix.  

I have thought many times that what gets said isn’t the key to growth and healing; it’s what gets said in the context of the healing matrix that is what matters.  That is why there’s no formula for growth in therapy. 

In recent years I enjoy most the opportunity to work with college-age kids, who are ready for the growth spurt of early adulthood; and with couples who want to stay together and live well together, but are having a rough time at present.

My message to the universe:   I am here for a final generation of work.  May those who can make best use of me come to find me.

Susan Rako MD
Author of : “That’s How the Light Gets In:  Memoir of a Psychiatrist”
Co-Editor:  “Semrad: The Heart of a  Therapist”

Dr. Susan Rako's latest book cover, That's How The Light Gets In

Do you want to consult with a world-class psychiatrist for a
second opinion or psychotherapy online via Skype?

Susan Rako, M.D., a well-respected, internationally known Boston-based, Harvard-trained psychiatrist with more than 30 years of experience in the private practice of psychiatry has expanded the range of her work to psychiatric consultation via Skype.

Dr.Rako's experience extends to providing psychiatric second opinion - helping evaluate the quality and effectiveness of ongoing psychiatric treatment, outpatient or inpatient.


Consult online with Dr. Susan Rako


Dr. Rako’s specialty is in working with very intelligent (and sometimes very sensitive) individuals who are more interested in developing their own capacities than in complaining about the inadequacy of what they find outside themselves in the world and in other people.

Her areas of particular interest include (but are not limited to) the challenges of life for musicians and other artists, college students (not having substance abuse issues), couples who want to stay together but are having difficulties, and post-menopausal women. Author of the groundbreaking book, "The Hormone of Desire," Dr. Rako is uniquely expert in evaluating the mood effects of hormone deficiency as distinguished from depression due to other causes. Dr. Rako has had extraordinary success in treating bipolar individuals and with high-functioning psychotic individuals, but believes that person-to-person office visits may be most effective for this work.

Dr. Rako is available for a limited number of individual, one hour sessions via Skype each week.

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© 2015 by Susan Rako, M.D.