Meet 2015's Top Doctors
Meet Amy J. Silverman, MD
Specialty: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Hospital Affiliation: Four Winds Hospital, Katonah
Dr. Amy Silverman had always known that she wanted to work with children and adolescents. “While in college and then medical school [Mt. Sinai School of Medicine], I worked at a summer camp, taught religious school, and advised a high school youth group at a synagogue. In medical school, I loved my pediatrics rotations, but the component of treatment I enjoyed the most was helping to address the
psychosocial and emotional issues facing the children.” In 2008, Silverman left the fulltime faculty at Cornell to go into fulltime private practice in Harrison.
How important is family involvement when it comes to childhood mental health?
I think family involvement is absolutely essential and such an important part of the work in child and adolescent mental health. One can't effectively work with children without involving their parents. I find that working with families can be incredibly rewarding and productive; it is one of my favorite components of treatment.
What are the most common problems kids in Westchester face?
I see many children with anxiety disorders who struggle to effectively manage stress. I am also seeing an increasing number of young adults who are finding it difficult to achieve independence and to successfully navigate the transition to the next phase of their lives. I think technology and social media add another layer of complexity to the challenges our children face. It is wonderful when we can provide substantial resources for our children, but sometimes that creates a level of stress and pressure as well.
Is childhood stress a bigger problem in Westchester than in other parts of the country?
I think we have our fair share of stress here in Westchester among both children and parents! We feel pressure to be "perfect parents" and to give our children all the tools and resources that we can. And often our children feel pressure to do exceptionally well and keep up with peers in academics, athletics, and social activities. Is it worse in Westchester than in other parts of the country? I think we experience a high level of stress in general, but we are certainly not the only community facing these challenges.
Are we making progress in how we think about mental illness and psychiatric disorders in children?
There is a tremendous amount of work being done looking at the biological underpinnings of mental illness and also how our genetics may influence vulnerability to psychiatric disorders and response to various treatments. We now have research and data guiding treatment decisions for psychiatric disorders specifically in children, which were not available only a short time ago.
What do you find most rewarding about your work with children and adolescents?
I love helping the children in my practice to get back on track, find happiness or conquer anxiety, and then watching them go on to do amazing things in high school, college, and beyond. I can’t imagine any work that could be more meaningful!
Profiles by Ali Jackson-Jolley | Photography by Toshi Tasaki