Monday, July 7, 2008

Why I'm posting a BLOG

I was reading an article the other day about a doctor who has his own blog, and I thought it was a good idea. A bit bold.

With regard to psychiatry and mental illness, I've had a lot of ideas about things I've wanted to share, to write about, opinions to express more publicly, but really I've never had the time, energy, audacity, or wherewithal, to publish these things in a journal or book.

I know a lot of my patients find out a lot of information on the internet, and I thought it would be fair to have my own opinions out there too. Sometimes I might not be available directly, and I wonder if it could be a comfort to at least be present in an indirect way, such as a blog?

I have also found this blog to be a good setting to document some of my continuing education activities.

One thing I know to be true is that I certainly do not have a monopoly on the truth. Many of my ideas could be vigorously challenged. I am a strong believer in always challenging dogmas, and I invite others to challenge my own. Yet, sometimes our dogmas--even if mistaken--can have valuable kernels of wisdom, and I think it is important not to automatically discount dogmas either.


I've read the "about me" description of myself numerous times, and sometimes I realize that it sounds quite arrogant, or at least a bit wordy or awkward. I consider arrogance--in myself or others--to be unhealthy, and I like to think that I aim and struggle not to be arrogant. I do realize, though, that my paragraph is typical of something that I would say or think (I can certainly be wordy and awkward), so I stand by it as a sincere introduction.

I deliberately named my blog "Garth Kroeker" so that people in search of me would be able to find me. I left out labels such as "Dr." or "MD" because I would rather be known or respected just for my name or for my thoughts, rather than for one of my labels or titles. Such labels can be useful at times, most often when I'm trying to reach someone in a hospital or lab quickly on the phone regarding one of my patients. I do not care for the practice of brandishing labels or credentials to persuade people about the value of one's ideas.

Sometimes there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance; despite my admission that I often don't know the answers that my patients seek, I do admit that I have become quite confident in my work over the years. I also admit that I have to be on the lookout not to cross the line into arrogant territory. I hope my patients will help and remind me about this one, as needed.

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