A psychiatrist draws on her artistic background to help her patients
By Debby Teich
Photography by Brian Tietz
Christina M. de Guia, M.D. ’03
hristina M. de Guia, M.D. ’03, always loved both science and the arts. After exploring her creative side as an artist and biochemistry student in college, she was enthralled by the intricate processes both disciplines required. It was then, she said, she found a way to integrate both her passions through the study of psychiatry.
“Psychiatry is a fascinating discipline,” Dr. de Guia said. “It requires me to take the nuances of a person’s life story, and then reframe it using our current understanding of neurobiological processes to create a unique treatment plan. My Miller School education gave me the foundation I needed to create meaningful connections with my patients to effect healing and growth.”
Dr. de Guia grew up in Sarasota, Florida, where both of her parents practiced medicine. After training and practicing in other locations, she returned home and is currently chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.
“I always admired how dedicated my parents were to the community through their work,” Dr. de Guia said. “Now it is my turn to help Sarasota residents.”
As a first-generation American, born to parents who immigrated from the Philippines, Dr. de Guia admits her childhood was not always easy. Since most of her patients are children, she says she often draws on these experiences to help them.
“I understand how it feels to be out of place and not to look or act like others around you,” Dr. de Guia said. “I make sure that my patients know they are not alone and are seen and heard in their time of crisis.”
She is also on the board of directors of Embracing Our Differences, a Sarasota-based nonprofit that uses the power of art and education to celebrate the diversity of family. Since 2004, an estimated 529,000 students have participated in their programs, which include educational initiatives, teacher resources, and an annual art exhibition.