If you’re reading this, chances are that you’re struggling with your mental health, and looking to find a good psychiatrist for care. Considering seeking help is a great first step toward peace, happiness, and recovery, and the fact that you’re doing your research is even better – go you! So how do you find the best psychiatrist for your specific needs?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors that specialize in mental health and are qualified to assess both the mental and physical aspects of psychological problems. To become a psychiatrist, a person must attend medical school, pass a written examination for a state license, complete four years of psychiatry residency, then completes at least three more years learning various forms of mental health treatments and medications. Some psychiatrists go onto become “board certified,” and/or complete additional training in a specific condition, such as eating disorders, bipolar disorder or substance abuse.
At this point, you’ve probably Googled “psychiatrists near me” and thousands of results have popped up. How do you know who is the best and who you can trust? Here are some tips to help guide you to find a good psychiatrist:
Choose a board certified psychiatrist
Before selecting a psychiatrist, check to see if they are board-certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Psychiatrists who are “board certified” by the ABPN have completed additional training and successfully passed an intensive evaluation process. The ABPN estimates that only about 76% of psychiatrists in the United States are board certified. Board certification can be a great sign that a psychiatrist is committed to high standards and provide quality patient care in a specialty.
What qualities make a good psychiatrist?
Besides confirming that your psychiatrist goes above and beyond with training and certifications, there are certain good qualities to look out for in a consultation visit. These traits can help further identify if this doctor is a good mental health professional.
Good listening skills
A great psychiatrist will actively listen to your explanation of your feelings and issues. The doctor will be psychologically minded, so they will take great interest in how you’re viewing and coping with your troubles or mental illness. From your first encounter with the psychiatrist, you should feel valued and listened to.
Compassion and empathy
You should always feel comfortable to discuss your concerns with your doctor. If the psychiatrist you are visiting lacks compassion or empathy, there are better health care providers that can offer higher quality support. Your psychiatry office should feel like a support group, partnering with you and your primary care doctor to combat mental health side effects, not add to your worries.
However, a psychiatrist might not always tell you what you want to hear; in fact, a great one will focus on what will truly help you the most, and that might not always align with your feelings at the moment. If you encounter this situation, don’t be afraid to voice your concerns. Your psychiatrist should always be able to explain to you why they’re making the decisions they are for your mental health. If your doctor does not respond to you with compassion and empathy, then you might want to consider an alternative provider.
Willingness to provide education
Your friends and family are an important part of your mental health journey. If a family member has questions or concerns about your mental health, a great psychiatrist will be open to providing education to your loved ones.
Should you listen to psychiatrist reviews? Yes and no
Always take online reviews with a grain of salt. Most people who have a good or average experience by a service will never write a review. Reviews are typically only written by two types of people: someone so angry with their service they want to lash out, or someone so pleased with their service they want to support the provider. Either way, reviewers are always high-emotion responses that might not give you the most accurate depiction of what that service could provide you.
With mental health services, in particular, online reviews become even more tricky and selective. Many patients want to keep their mental health care private, even those who are very happy with their service, thus never reaching out to post a review online.
Do I need to see a psychiatrist or a psychologist?
You might be confused about whether your mental health condition requires the attention of a psychiatrist or psychologist. Psychologists primarily help their patients work through problems by discussion, while psychiatrists are medical doctors that can also write prescriptions and work with patients on medication management. Learn more about the difference between psychiatry and psychology in a related blog post from the Holiner Group.
Looking for a great psychiatrist in Dallas Texas?
For treatment in the Dallas and Mckinney, Texas area, Dr. Joel Holiner and the dedicated psychiatrists at The Holiner Psychiatric Group can help with both medical treatment and psychotherapy. Dr. Holiner is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology and specializes in addiction psychiatry. His office is a full-service practice that provides high-quality inpatient and outpatient services for people in every walk of life. Learn more about the psychiatrist treatment services offered at The Holiner Group.