For over thirty years I have enjoyed practicing child, adolescent and adult psychiatry in San Diego's North County. While in college I began working with children at a summer camp and decided I wanted helping young people to be my life's work. I see mainly children and teens and, of course, their families. Please scroll down to learn more about me and my practice.
I grew up in southern California but went east to attend college at Yale. During one of my summer breaks, I worked at a camp for emotionally disturbed children and teens living in Los Angeles. The next year I spent the summer working at Camarillo State Hospital which had a large children's psychiatric inpatient unit at the time. I loved the challenges and the fact that even these children in such dire circumstances could be helped to enjoy life and grow to become independent, happy adults. During another summer my wife and I served as foster parents to four difficult children at Camarillo. I went on to medical school, a pediatric internship, adult psychiatry residency and a child psychiatry fellowship, all at UCLA. I was tempted to continue on in pediatrics and for years worked in pediatric medical settings after moving to San Diego in 1978.
I have practiced child and adolescent psychiatry in Encinitas ever since. I worked extensively in inpatient settings during the first two decades of my career, and was Medical Director first of an inpatient unit and next a residential treatment center for many years at local hospitals. I am a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as well as an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCSD School of Medicine. I am Board Certified in both Adult Psychiatry and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. I have served as an Examiner for both the Adult and Child Board Examinations. Along the way I helped raise five children and gained the humility that only being a parent can bring. At present I focus completely on outpatients in my Encinitas office. I now practice less than half time, but still look forward to seeing my patients each day. I continue to write and give talks on a variety of topics and you can access some of my published work by clicking on "articles" above.
Over the years Dr. Putnam has written and spoken for a national audience about a variety of topics. A chronological list of some of these publications appears below. Here are a few recent articles that may be of interest:
- Putnam, N: Will You Be My Friend on Facebook. AACAP News, 40(4): 176-177, 2009.
- Putnam, N: Joys and Challenges as a Grandparent. AACAP News, 39(6): 294-295, 2008.
Peluso, E and Putnam, N: Case Study: Sexual abuse of boys by females. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 35(1): 51-54, 1996.
- Putnam, N: Special Families. Chapter in Stein, MT and Dixon, SD, Encounters With Children--Pediatric Behavior and Development. Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1987.
- Putnam, N: Seven to Ten Years: Growth and Competency. Chapter in Stein, MT and Dixon, SD, Encounters With Children--Pediatric Behavior and Development. Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1987.
- Putnam, N: Six Years: Learning to Use Symbols. Chapter in Stein, MT and Dixon, SD, Encounters With Children--Pediatric Behavior and Development. Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1987.
- Putnam, N: Three to Four Years: A Clearer Sense of Self. Chapter in Stein, MT and Dixon, SD, Encounters With Children--Pediatric Behavior and Development Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1987.
- Putnam, NH and Stein, MT: Self-inflicted injuries in childhood. Clinical Pediatrics 24:514-519, 1985.
- Putnam, N: Talking with Ariane after her mother died. Parents Magazine, August, 1985.
- Putnam, NH: (letter) Should deliberate self-harm be in DSM-4? American Journal of Psychiatry 141:160, 1984.
- Putnam, N: Emotionally abused children. Parents Magazine, September, 1984.
- Putnam, N: In consultation: What's new and important about childhood and adolescent depression? Medical Tribune, March 18, 1981.
- Putnam, N and Yager, J: Traction intolerance syndrome: A psychiatric complication of femoral fractures. Chapter in Faguet, RA, et al (Eds.): Contemporary Models in Liaison Psychiatry. New York: Spectrum Publications, 1977.
- Putnam, N and Yager, J: Traction intolerance syndrome: A psychiatric complication of femoral fractures. International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine 8:2, 1977.
- Ornitz, E, Brown, M, Mason, A and Putnam, N: Effect of visual input on vestibular nystagmus in autistic children. Archives of General Psychiatry 31:369, 1974.
- Ornitz, E, Brown, M, Mason, A and Putnam, N: The effect of visual input on post- rotatory nystagmus in normal children. Acta Otolaryng 77:418, 1974.
- Harrow, M, Tucker, G, Himmelhoch, J and Putnam, N: Schizophrenic thought disorders after the acute phase. American Journal of Psychiatry 128:824, 1972.
I keep my own calendar. I generally see patients between 1 PM and 5 PM, four days per week, however I practice only very part time and have very limited if any openings as I move toward retirement. Now with the Coronavirus social distancing requirements, I may not see patients in person until June. Initial visits are about 55 minutes and follow-up visits between 45 and 50 minutes. A good evaluation by a psychiatrist should include a complete history and interview with information obtained from patient, family and others, such as teachers, with permission and when possible.
Teenagers are usually seen initially without their parents who are invited to join the session after the teen has told his/her story. One goal of the evaluation is to decide what sorts of interventions might be most helpful. Psychotropic medications are only prescribed if the patient and family are agreeable and the risks, benefits, side-effects, and alternative therapies have been fully explored.
Another goal of the initial session is to develop an alliance with the patient and family such that they will be open to guidance, support, cognitive therapy, and many other interventions which are available. I am not comfortable with "Med Visits," short sessions related only to the effects of prescribed medications, and rarely schedule these visits.
Payment can be made by cash, check or credit card. I will also bill your insurance, but at the present time I am only on the Anthem/Blue Cross PPO panel. It is best to check with your insurance company regarding coverage prior to the first visit.