Doctoring Skillfully

Doctoring Skillfully equips medical students and physicians with a set of tools to navigate both the rewards and difficulties of practicing medicine.

Doctoring Skillfully is a 9-week course designed to help physicians develop skills to navigate the complex emotional, mental, and physical demands of their profession and to advocate for change in the medical education and healthcare systems. This training recognizes that being an effective clinician often means holding two conflicting realities: caring deeply for patients while accepting the limits of being human; feeling fatigued by the work while still being motivated by core values; and maintaining compassion despite feelings of frustration.

Through interactive exercises, group discussions, and personal reflection, participants will enhance their ability to:

  • Manage distress by leveraging individual strengths and values
  • Regulate difficult emotions while still connecting to purpose
  • Communicate with compassion and set personal limits 
  • Advocate for systems change while balancing work relationships and self-respect
  • Integrate self-awareness and mindfulness into patient care

This course is appropriate for all levels of experience, and open to students in clinical years, residents, fellows and attendings. No matter your years of experience, this course will provide you with a toolkit to handle the joys and challenges of doctoring skillfully. You will connect with a community of peers to share wisdom and find support. Together, we will learn how holding both/and perspectives can lead to growth, balance, and resilience.

Doctoring Skillfully is a collaboration with the Center for Trauma and Stress Education (CTSE), who has developed this program that provides evidence-based and easy-to-remember tools informed by Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills to improve relationships, reduce stress, and address trauma.

Join Us

Join our virtual course for physicians and medical students committed to personal growth and professional meaning today.  This course is open only to Warren Alpert Medical Students and Brown-affiliated physicians (residents, fellows, and attendings).  Reflecting the impact of shared experience, learning groups are cohorted separately for students and attending physicians.  Residents and fellows can elect to participate in either cohort, based on preference.

This is a 9-week course that meets weekly for 1.5 hours. Space is limited.


Warren Alpert Medical Students (3rd & 4th year)**

Starting 1/31: Wednesdays 12:00-1:30 pm 

Physician Faculty**

Starting 2/1: Thursdays 4:00-5:30 pm 

**Residents/Fellows can choose either group


Registration is closed.  If you are interested in future offerings, please email for more information.



  • Elizabeth (Beth) Brannan, MD

    Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
  • Alan E. Fruzzetti, PhD

    Director of Training in Family Services, McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School
  • Nicole Gier, LICSW

    Senior Advisor for Social Work and Behavioral Health, Comprehensive Care Program/The University of Chicago
  • Andrea Gold, PhD

    Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Having completed the pilot offering of these sessions in Spring 2023, I wanted to offer my strong recommendation AND a note of caution on this opportunity.

A year ago, I struggled as a program director with the challenges our residents are facing. While residency has always been intense and demanding, the environment felt shifted in recent years. The work hours limits– changed to benefit safety and protect residents – have also compacted very intense experiences into shorter timeframes. Patients and families bring extreme challenges and heightened emotions to interactions and doctors need to recognize, absorb, and manage these as part of the care process. At times, our efforts to emphasize physicians’ own well-being can have the counterintuitive effect of “What?! Now it’s on me to do all this and make sure I feel good doing it?!”.

I was looking for perspective, and concrete tools to understand and address these challenges. This series of sessions did that. Time is precious, and I am very defensive of my time. This was well worth it. The content moves through a series of highly interactive and engaging sessions to experience and intentionally practice skills. These skills are adapted from an evidence-based treatment model, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and offer ways to manage our own emotional reactions to stressors, including being faced with others’ intense emotions. These skills are also helpful for navigating complex interpersonal interactions while maintaining our own integrity and self-respect.

My caution is to consider whether you are able to commit and fully protect the time required. To get full value for your time and effort, you’ll need to be able to be at (and not multitasking through) most or all of the sessions. Less than that would diminish your own and the group's learning. As hard as it is to rearrange clinical and personal responsibilities, the longitudinal commitment is a necessary part of this process. If you’ve had the experience of going to a CME session, being impressed with the content, and then leaving and finding it unrealistic to incorporate into your everyday practices, consider this longitudinal commitment the workaround you need to ensure space to take in the training and progressively incorporate it into your daily interactions with trainees, colleagues, leaders/administrators, and patients.

So it isn’t really a caution – it’s a suggestion that this will be the highest yield to you if you prepare to protect the time and commit to the curiosity. Reach out to your program leadership and/or division director to confirm their support and consider this something to cite to strengthen their year-end GME and ACGME program reports on efforts to develop PD and core faculty capabilities and/or core residency/fellowship competencies. The content of training encompasses self-awareness, communication skills, navigating challenging encounters, and supporting trainee well-being…all areas of interest to ACGME.

Suzanne McLaughlin, MD Associate Professor of Medicine, Associate Professor of Pediatrics