Joel Bernanke, MD

( he/him/his )



Washington, D.C.

Ages Treated

6 and Up

Practice Philosophy:

Dr. Joel Bernanke is a board-certified psychiatrist who works with children, adolescents, and adults. Personable, warm, and genuine, Dr. Bernanke takes a practical approach to mental health, focusing on how patients feel and function in their everyday lives. As a physician, he has a holistic view of diagnosis and treatment, integrating his knowledge of psychiatry, psychology, genetics, child development, family dynamics, and social relations. He uses his expertise in psychopharmacology to prescribe medication when warranted, and often complements medication with evidence-based supplements and lifestyle changes. His comprehensive approach also includes psychotherapy, and Dr. Bernanke has training in several therapeutic methods. When working with children, he includes parents as an integral part of the treatment. Caring and compassionate, Dr. Bernanke offers the highest level of attention to each person and family, taking the time to make sure everyone feels heard and understood.

Areas of Expertise:

Dr. Bernanke specializes in the comprehensive assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and adults struggling with anxiety, mood symptoms (like feeling depressed, irritable, or manic), overwhelming emotions, obsessive-compulsive symptoms, poor focus, concerns about gender identity, trouble in relationships, and other complex conditions. He makes actionable diagnoses and guides patients through the choice of medication, psychotherapy, and evidence-based complementary treatments for both short and long-term care. His work with children and parents includes addressing difficult behavior and academic challenges, offering parent coaching and support that considers the needs of the entire family. He works extensively with adults navigating the challenges of careers and relationships, helping them become insightful about troublesome patterns, develop a resilient sense of self, and learn new psychological skills.

Experience and Training:

Dr. Bernanke received his medical degree from Weill Cornell Medical College, where he was the chapter president of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He completed his residency in general psychiatry at Columbia University and his fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Columbia University / Weill Cornell joint training program. His background also includes a Master of Science in Epidemiology from the Boston University School of Public Health and fellowship training in translational research at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, where he used brain imaging to understand the biological basis of psychiatric symptoms. Dr. Bernanke has published several articles on best practices for training psychiatrists and on the results of his brain imaging studies. He has worked in both hospital and private practice settings.

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