How to Find a Good Psychiatrist

written by Natasha Tracy B.Sc - Jul 23, 2015

is a professional writer and author for and Bipolar Burble. She currently worked as a freelancer for CanadaPharmacyOnline.

How to Find a Good Psychiatrist
Psychiatrists are doctors who specialize in the area of mental illness. Particularly for those with serious mental illnesses, seeing a psychiatrist, rather than a general practitioner (family doctor) is critical. Psychiatrists can offer an expertise through both additional education and clinical experience that a general doctor cannot.

SEE ALSO: How to Know When to Change Psychiatrists

But finding the right psychiatrist that can help you and your particular illness is critical for successful treatment and recovery. To find a good psychiatrist that can meet your needs, follow these steps.

1. Narrow down your psychiatrist choices.

You may want to initially narrow down your choices based on insurance coverage and geographical area. If necessary, you can always widen your search later.

2. Decide what is important to you in a psychiatrist.

While competency is always critical, there are other factors like compassion, bedside manner, punctuality, office staff, availability, and others to consider as well. You need to decide what is most important to you and this can guide your research.

3. Get referrals from friends and family.

If your friends and family have experience with psychiatrists, see if they have any recommendations. Often a personal referral holds more weight than other factors.

4. Research the options online.

Many sites specialize in rating doctors and giving you additional information about their practices. However, keep in mind that if the reviewers are not authenticated in any way, reviews may be suspect. Look for sites with the most ratings for the psychiatrists in question for the most reliable information. Sites like this include:



You may also find additional sites that are specific to your area.

5. Check to see what each psychiatrist specializes in.

Often psychiatrists primarily treat patients with a certain type of disorder such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, and so on. If at all possible, find a psychiatrist that specializes in the area of your illness. This is especially critical if your mental illness is less common such as dissociative identity disorder or if you have specific concerns such as gender identity.

6. Create a shortlist of possibilities.

Once you have researched the available psychiatrists, make a list of who you think would fit you best and then schedule an initial appointment with the most likely.

7. Write a list of questions to ask your potential psychiatrist.

There are many questions you might want to ask any potential psychiatrist. Just because a psychiatrist effectively works with others doesn’t mean that psychiatrist will be a good fit for you. Questions should be designed to determine if your approach to your illness matches the psychiatrist’s approach to the illness. Questions you might want to ask your potential psychiatrist include:

• What is your background and what do you specialize in (if you haven’t been able to find this out in your research)?

• What is your approach to treating my mental illness?

• What are your thoughts on psychotherapy? Do you provide it? What psychotherapies do you recommend?

• What would your proposed treatment plan be for me?

• How do you feel about complimentary treatments and supplements?

• What happens if I have an emergency outside of office hours?

8. Determine if that psychiatrist is right for you.

Only you know if your needs can be met by this doctor. If they can, great, you can get started on an effective, working, therapeutic relationship. If you don’t feel like this psychiatrist will work for you, go back to your list and repeat step seven with the next doctor on the list.

When you’re looking for help it may seem like you have no time to spend on these steps but remember, the relationship you have with your healthcare provider is going to be a huge part of what is going to make you better.


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Muhittin says at 2017-10-26 10:48:10:
Unfortunately there is no such thing as a step-by-step program when it comes to metanl diseases. Bi-Polar is a disease just like diabetes and heart disease and requires the right safe medications. It is caused by a disruption in valuable brain chemicals. A psychiatrist is the only specialist who can diagnose and treat you with the right medications. A excellent psychiatrist can usually diagnose you in one visit. You will want to make a list of all of your symptoms, how often and how they disrupt your life. Do not believe anyone who tells you that there are natural cures as they don't continue living. Bi-Polar is usually an inherited disease. To find out more and get help you can go to the site which is the site for the Inhabitant Alliance on Mental Illness. On their site you can find the phone number for your community stage. They offer help, information and they have the best referrals for the help you need in your area. Anxiety usually co-exists with Bi-Polar. The choice as to which medications are right for you can only be made by a psychiatrist. With Bi-Polar you would require an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer. Possibly you will find that you don't have Bi-Polar but it is extremely valuable to find out. A diagnosis is pretty simple to make and doesn't require any written questions or tests. With the right medications at the right dosage you aren't even aware that you are taking them and you will have the ability to live a lucky and productive life.
Sarah Smith says at 2017-10-26 11:02:16:
My brother is having trouble and needs to get a psychiatrist. Thanks for the information about how you should get referrals from friends and family. Another thing to consider is to get a psychiatrist that accepts your insurance.

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