Finding a Good Psychiatrist!

March 14, 2013 Natalie Jeanne Champagne

Finding a good psychiatrist is, apparently, problematic for some of my readers. Don't worry, you're not the only one who can't find a good psychiatrist.

Last week, I wrote a post focused on communicating with your psychiatrist. This post spurred a few replies, questions from readers, that I want to try to address within this post. I'll do the best I can being a patient myself---a patient who is less than patient!

How Do You Find A Good Psychiatrist?

How do you find a good psychiatrist, a psychiatrist you can trust and communicate with?I have altered these a little bit--artistic freedom?--so we can make a complicated topic a little bit easier.

One reader of the last blog wondered:

"How do you find a psychiatrist that does not try to heal using faith?"

By the word "faith" I will take the liberty--and correct me if I am wrong--in stating that the psychiatrist in question believes less in utilizing medications and more in the notion that those with a mental illness can recover based on emotions and practices such as confidence, trust and finding a higher power (side-note: I still can't find mine).

In other words, less of a focus on psychiatric medications. Of course, the word faith has religious connotations, but in my best interest I'll refrain from talking about that.

Another reader asked:

"How can we find a psychiatrist with the capacity for compassion?"

I can relate to this. It is hard to feel as if our psychiatrist has a great deal of compassion. We often sit in the same chair each time, answering the same tiresome questions and they take notes. Short and swift. We might wonder: "Do they really care?"

Last but not least, a reader asked:

"What is a person to do when they get speechless during a session and their mind goes blank because they are not able to move their mouth?"

I think most of us living with a mental illness can relate to this. It's not easy trying to verbalize our feelings when we are so depressed we cannot rise from bed. Or so anxious we cannot sit still and everything in-between!

These are all fantastic and equally relevant questions. I'm going to try to address them but please share your own experience---positive or negative! In the end, we are all working to recover from mental illness. We share this common goal.

How Can We Find a Psychiatrist That Works For Us?

Let's focus on the comments the readers provided. The first focused on finding a psychiatrist that does not base his or her practice on "faith." I am going to go out on a rather large limb here and state that very few psychiatrists treat patients based on faith alone. They understand mental illness is primarily biochemical and treat it as such.

However, if it's a concern to you just ask. It can be as easy as that. If they cannot communicate effectively on the topic they might not be the right psychiatrist for you.

Second, looking for a psychiatrist with the capacity for compassion. I think it can be easy for us to feel as if our psychiatrist has little compassion but I am certain that they do. It's a job that requires empathy---the ability to put oneself in another's shoes. But if you feel misunderstood, communicate this. Words are power.

However, our third comment focused on words. Specifically, the difficulty expressing oneself when unstable. When we cannot use language to our advantage, we do have tools to communicate: take notes days or weeks before appointments, rate your mood in a mood journal on a daily basis and ask friends and family for feedback.

If you can swallow your pride, bring them into the meeting, strength can be found in numbers. Even in your psychiatrists office!

Final Thoughts. . .

Finding a great psychiatrist is sort of like finding a great medication. The first medication might work or you may need to try a few (or maybe a hundred) before you find a fit. Remember that you, as a patient and a person, have a voice. Use it!

PS: sorry for the "World's Greatest Psychiatrist" image. Sometimes, it helps to remember that they are human, just as we are, and I am pretty sure we aren't always so "good."

APA Reference
Jeanne, N. (2013, March 14). Finding a Good Psychiatrist!, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Natalie Jeanne Champagne

dr Musli Ferati
March, 29 2013 at 10:24 pm

This is very provocative and bewildered psychiatric question as well. In professional vocation it is named as transfer and contra-transfer interpersonal relation. It means that psychiatrist-patient communication indicates mutually emotional impression to each other in delicate psychiatric treatment process. However, it is professional and humane responsibility of psychiatrist to manage appropriately the treatment, as long and difficult social collaboration. But, the numerous seeking of mentally ill patient may be serious handicap to good and successful psychiatric treatment. Therefore, it ought to balance these opposite tendencies in order to enhance the outcome of treatment. Each side of this intrigued diade should to invest emotionally along professional engagement of psychiatrist on the management of any patient with mental problems. Otherwise, the treatment of mentally ill patient would be somewhat a tedious psychiatric undertaking with weak and unsatisfying results.

Dr. Douglas Beech
March, 19 2013 at 6:41 am

Hello, several thoughts I wanted to share with readers as a practicing psychiatrist. I took the question about faith to relate to religious faith. As a patient, one should expect that the psychiatrist's personal religious beliefs would not be a part of the content of the treatment. The psychiatrist should take into account the patient's religious beliefs in helping the patient understand what troubles them. However the psychiatrist's personal religious beliefs should not form the basis for the treatment plan.
I would advise anyone looking for a good psychiatrist to ask your primary care physician to recommend one for you. Think of it as a medical specialist. If you had a heart problem or needed surgery, you would get a recommendation from your primary care physician. That is often a good place to start. Also the organization called Best Doctors conducts a reputable survey where doctors are asked who they themselves would go to any given specialty. All the major cities in the United States publish the results of the surveys in their city magazine. for more information.

March, 17 2013 at 2:46 am

Why do I really only get to talk to the Psychiatrist's assistant w/ everything that's been going on since last meeting? She has my scripts printed up before he gets in the room. It's not very reassuring I'm getting "custom-care" Is this normal procedure? To be fair, last appt. he did add a script after going over my notes...(this was a first)

Nirmala Cruller
March, 15 2013 at 3:13 pm

What I find hard - when another Psychiatrist is assigned to you-
Young - first year... The decide they might re diagnosis you...??
After meeting you twice- for a total of 15 mins. On being asked what this is about
States " that is what we do !!!" So, it's not about helping me...
So dumped Psychiatrist - going back to Anthroposophical Dr.
I know my health matters to him.

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