Many psychiatrists only do medication management and refer people to other professionals for therapy, so patients should decide if they are comfortable with seeing two mental health professionals, as suggested by KevinMD.com. Patients who prefer to see one person for both types of care should ask any potential candidates about that up front.
Patients should ask how long the initial evaluation takes, as noted by KevinMD.com. An initial evaluation that is less than 50 minutes is a sign that the psychiatrist might not be as thorough as possible. Subsequent appointments are usually shorter, particularly if the doctor only does medication management.
Patients who have friends or family members who see a psychiatrist should ask them for recommendations, suggests KevinMD.com. Doctors are also a good source of recommendations, since they know other doctors and make referrals. Insurance companies can also provide a list of in-network psychiatrists. If insurance coverage is important, the patient should double check any names against this list.
It is important for patients to feel listened to and respected by their psychiatrists. The first appointment is a good time to evaluate that. Psychiatrists who lecture the patient or talk instead of listening are usually not a good choice, according to The Huffington Post. A good psychiatrist should be an active, engaged listener who can accurately summarize the patient's concerns and develop a treatment plan that takes the patient's wishes and goals into account.