November 12, 2013

About Dr. Kirsner

Dr. Ron Kirsner and family dog Gravity

I became interested in medicine at a young age and decided to pursue it as a career during my childhood in Miami, FL, where I was born and raised.  Flash forward to some years later, and I attended medical school and then became boarded in Internal Medicine, but later found my more natural niche in the “low tech-high involvement” specialty of psychiatry (see “Background and Training”) .  My aim is to spend enough time with you in session to understand your issues and goals, rather than employ a “cookie cutter” approach to psychiatry.

My Interests 

My professional interests tend to revolve around a future oriented approach to both medication management and psychotherapy. I start out by asking you to fill in a questionnaire, which is available online.  We review this in detail during our initial session, which lasts 80 minutes face-to-face. Follow-up  sessions usually last 25 minutes face-to-face. In general, we do have some time during those sessions to do some brief psychotherapy . I may, for example, ask my client how they would know if their medicines were working even better. This is one way to elicit  goals, so that I can be sure that we are working towards the same objective.  This is important, since my idea, for example, of recovery from a depressive disorder may be different from yours. I want to be sure that we are on the same page. I also do more in-depth 50 minute psychotherapy sessions, and these frequently take on a Cognitive Behavioral approach.

This approach has been shown to be successful across a wide variety of mental illnesses. For example, it can be used for children or for adults, for depression or anxiety, for anger management, eating disorders, etc, and has a wide body of evidence supporting its use. Into this model we can incorporate other approaches, such as Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), and Solution Focus Therapy. Some people wish to do this work with me, whereas others prefer to work with their own psychotherapist or to not have psychotherapy at all. Any of these approaches is fine with me, and I will work with you in an effort to find what’s best for you.

I also have a particular interest in “life coaching”. This work involves maximizing your potential, or overcoming  obstacles that are hindering you from reaching your goals.  Having a particularly strong personal interest in the martial arts and in staying fit, I also work with athletes who wish to thrive competitively in their arena of sport,  or with students attempting to better their grades.

Background and Training 

I attended the University of Pennsylvania, where I double majored in Philosophy and the Biological Basis of Behavior. I was fortunate enough to graduate Cum Laude.  I then attended the University of Miami School of Medicine and moved on to complete a residency in Internal Medicine at MosesConeHospital in Greensboro, NC.  I then became Board-Certified in Internal Medicine,  but I have since let this certification expire,  since I much prefer Psychiatry and never went into practice in Internal Medicine.

I completed a one year fellowship in Addiction Medicine at WillingwayHospital in Statesboro, GA.  I enjoyed working with mental health issues so much,  that I then went to Baltimore, MD and took my psychiatry training at SheppardPrattHospital and became boarded in Psychiatry. I chose Sheppard Pratt because of their emphasis on combining training in medication management with psychotherapy so that I could develop expertise in both.  My wife, whom I met at ConeHospital, finally put her foot down and insisted I get a real job, so I entered solo practice in psychiatry here in Jacksonville, FL.

(I moved from my JaxBeach location after nearly 15 years of practice there.)

In between (or during) other training,  I received Master Practitioner Certification from NLP Comprehensive and completed a Faculty Development Fellowship at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Personal Interests 

I love spending time with my family.  My main hobby involves self-defense and Krav Maga, the Israeli martial art.  I thrive on tough “personal training” type workouts. I enjoy learning about history, science (particularly physics), and politics.  I am a proud “dog person”, and love our family Brussels Griffon, Gravity.