Meet Robert Steinberg, MD – our beloved Next Chapter Medical Director! Dr. Steinberg brings nearly 30 years of hands-on experience to the Next Chapter team, and continues to contribute an unparalleled amount of professional knowledge and personal insight to our comprehensive program.
Staff Highlight – Meet Dr. Robert Steinberg
I grew up in New Jersey. Later on I lived in Florida, and then I finally moved on to New York City. I completed my undergraduate degree and attended medical school at Boston University – all-in-all, I completed a combined 6-year Liberal Arts Medical Education Program. I was a psychiatry resident as well as a Senior Chief Resident, and I was part of a psychopharmacology fellowship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Through my psychiatry training and my professional experience, I was exposed to many patients struggling with mental and substance use issues. I personally felt that many people did not want to deal with the substance use problems, and that individuals with addictive disorders were even more stigmatized than those with other mental health disorders. I felt that they needed compassionate medical attention, and that they were far from receiving the attention they both required and deserved. I began to thoroughly understand, through reading and experience with patients, just how much a medical understanding could improve compassionate care. My research and hands-on experience helped me to better understand how individuals that were seemingly doing well could relapse. I found that the key was compassion and care – not blame.
I have always been interested in medicine. After the experiences I had while in school and throughout my psychiatry training, I began searching for an area that would allow me to combine both intellectual interests and the opportunity to care for others. I fell in love with psychiatry in medical school. I always used to tell this story: When I was supposed to be studying surgery, I would consistently find myself amidst stacks of psychiatry books in the library. I felt that there had to be a way to combine the many aspects of myself; the many interests that I knew I had. Not only an interest in science, but also in philosophy, the arts, literature… many disciplines piqued my interest. I enjoyed much more than simply analyzing numbers and taking tests – I found that I craved the opportunity to bring my “self” and the personal “relationship” I could form with my patients into my practice of care.
Early on, I spent my time teaching medical students and running inpatient psychiatric units in New York. This included running a dual diagnosis unit with very challenging patients at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where I was Assistant Clinical Professor. After this experience, I spent many years running a private practice in Boca Raton, where I worked with individual patients. I was also the consulting director of other local addiction services. I was fortunate to have met Abe (the CEO and Clinical Director at Next Chapter), who called me one day to share his vision for a trauma-focused program. I immediately sensed that he had something special in the works, especially seeing as his interest in trauma ran so deep. I knew that he truly understood the value of exploring the role of trauma in both the cause and maintenance of addictive disorders, and other disorders alike.
My role at Next Chapter is predominantly to supply solid psychiatric assessment and psychopharmacologic management. I strongly believe in the importance of a medical understanding of addictive disorders, as well as the role of biological factors in addiction (and all psychiatric disorders). I am also very interested in the many psychotherapies utilized in this specific program; especially cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic approaches, and mindfulness-based therapies. I especially enjoy working in a multidisciplinary setting, where I am able to learn from and work with others from other disciplines. This is because I truly and strongly believe in the value of multiple, differing perspectives when working with patients.
There are so many things that I like about the Next Chapter program; things that I truly believe sets this program apart from the rest. First of all, I am constantly impressed by the amazing staff, and the dedication and openness of each and every staff member. I also admire and respect how well they work together; we are in constant communication all of the time, and I never feel as if any vital, patient-related information slips through the cracks. Of course, I admire the emphasis on the role of trauma in the Next Chapter program. I believe that the focus on trauma and attachment in mental health and addictive disorders is an impressive part of this specific program. Also, the understanding of the body – not only in the medical sense – but as far as the integration of mind and body in further understanding emotions, memories and experiences. The program is truly comprehensive… it is the type of program that I have spent much of my professional life looking for.
It’s amazing to me how much I still am constantly learning, even after working in this field for almost 30 years! I am excited to continue learning from all of the other dedicated staff members, who have already helped me to broaden my own understanding and thinking about addictive and all psychiatric/psychological disorders. I feel as if, since starting at next Chapter, I have become an even more complete and compassionate psychiatrist. I can see myself broadening my role someday, progressing from “doc” to potentially leading groups – groups that revolve around my integrated perspective, which is firmly grounded in a foundation of medical training. I hope and believe that I might bring something different to the whole mind/body/spiritual dimension of care.