top of page

A week in psychiatry with Goda Tikniūtė


In each issue we ask one of our colleagues to write a contribution about the week at their job. Although we are all psychiatrists, our days and conditions vary a lot. It is therefore both interesting and inspiring to read what daily life is like to our colleagues. This time, Goda Tikniūtė gladly agreed to describe his work week.


My week in psychiatry began this Monday, following an editorial board meeting in Nice. Unfortunately, I found myself stranded overnight at a hotel near Frankfurt airport due to a flight delay. The sudden change in plans led to a surge of uncertainty as I scrambled to reschedule appointments late Sunday evening upon learning of the flight delay just before our scheduled boarding time.

Mondays and Thursdays are dedicated to my work as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist at a private in-patient clinic. On this particular Monday, I began with an online therapy session with a patient before even having breakfast, owing to the time difference between Lithuania and Germany. With fingers crossed for a smooth departure, I hurried to the airport, relieved when the flight finally took off.

A moment at Frankfurt Airport. Image from the personal archive of Goda Tikniūtė.
A moment at Frankfurt Airport. Image from the personal archive of Goda Tikniūtė.

Returning home, I continued with online therapy sessions for my other patients. Despite the long day, it was challenging to unwind, as emotions from the past week’s meetings lingered. My colleague shared her thoughts and feelings after the week spent preparing for war scenarios in various work groups. I must admit, I had been avoiding my own feelings evoked by the sufferings of those in Ukraine, trying to ignore the threat of war in our country.


Tuesdays and Wednesdays are spent at the Center of Addictive Disorders, where I serve as a psychiatrist and head of the In-Patient Addiction Treatment Department. Although I cherish my work in private outpatient settings for its therapeutic approach, I relish the change of pace these days provide. The commute to Panevėžys, a town 1.5 hours away, offers precious time for self-care, whether through podcasts, lectures, prayer, or simple introspection.

Upon arrival, I feel ready for my workday. Time flies by here due to the structured pattern of work and tight schedule. I feel inspired working in the team. On Tuesdays we have our team meetings, where we discuss our patients and develop and improve work processes. This makes me feel not just like an executor of certain functions, but also a creator. Witnessing shifts in motivation for treatment or introspection in my patients brings me happiness. That’s why I love working in addiction treatment – because sometimes transformation miracles happen here, and I love witnessing miracles. It motivates me to keep moving forward. When I return home, I spend some time with my mom, who lives with my family and requires care due to her physical and mental condition. I can’t escape anxious thoughts about how to ensure her care if the war were to begin. After calming down, I have another three online therapy sessions with my patients. Then I catch up with my husband, son, and daughter, who are back home by then.

Town of Panevėžys. Image by Wikimedia Commons.
Town of Panevėžys. Image by Wikimedia Commons.


Wednesdays mirror Tuesdays, except that I start my day with my personal psychotherapy session. This is such an important resource for me. My therapist lives in Kiev, and besides other benefits of our work together, I somehow feel indirectly reassured that life exists even in the conditions of war. That gives me the courage and hope I need to carry on with less fear. The workday after therapy is very energetic, and I have to be quite effective to accomplish all the scheduled work. After coming back home, I have another three online therapy sessions with my patients.

I am really very tired, but today is a wonderful winter evening, so we decide to go bathing in the outdoor Jacuzzi. It improves my sleep and makes me feel a little more relaxed, catching some other glimpses of happiness. It’s also an occasion to talk to my family while taking a bath.


Thursday begins in a more predictable way than Monday, which is a twin day in terms of work. It’s quite a long day, and I’m a bit ashamed to mention here how long it was exactly. Let’s skip it. I promise to be more friendly to myself when planning my schedule in the future. Today, I had to contain a lot of anxiety and fears from patients who reflect the perceived uncertainty and threat of war. But I can handle all this because my work is so interesting and stimulating to me. When I feel uncertain or overwhelmed, I can talk to my colleagues, or simply laugh with them – that also works for me. On my way home, I reflect that my work for the week is almost done, as Friday is the day when I aim not to work. Nevertheless, I still have two or three online therapy sessions scheduled. Today, I meet my eldest daughter. She, like her younger sister, is studying medicine, and she has chosen to become a psychiatrist. We talk a bit about her plans in psychiatry. I hope this work will be not only challenging but also nurturing to her, as it is for me.


Friday is the day for my group therapy and for taking care of myself and my family, as well as developing my future plans and projects. Unfortunately, now I feel really uncertain about my goals and plans, which were quite clear before. Lately, I was developing the project of turning my great-grandfather’s old house into a private practice place for me and my family members, who are also doctors. Now I feel unsure about investing my resources this way, I am frightened by the risk of losing it all, but still choose to go on planting my garden.

Fortunately, tonight I am meeting my friend with whom I went a long way studying medicine and becoming therapists. We reflect on all the time that we did not see each other, allowing ourselves to feel all the emotions and name the experiences. We discuss “The Poor Things,” a movie we both recently watched, and it’s been 10 years since I felt similarly touched by a movie. Life is uncertain and sometimes difficult, but undoubtedly beautiful. Cheers to the weekend and to the next week in psychiatry and life in general! □


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page