Choosing a psychiatrist requires extensive research and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Your primary care doctor will be able to provide some recommendations. Your insurance provider can as well. Once you have these recommendations, it’s important to conduct your own research to be sure you choose the psychiatrist that best fits your needs. Here are 10 warning signs your psychiatrist may not be right for you.
1. Your psychiatrist is judgmental or critical of your behavior, lifestyle, or problems.
Your psychiatrist should never be judgmental or critical of anything about you. He should listen with an open mind and encourage you to take steps that better your situation and your life.
2. Your psychiatrist doesn’t have sufficient and specific training to address your issues.
Your psychiatrist must be specifically trained and educated to treat specific mental illnesses. For instance, if you have adult ADHD your psychiatrist must be trained and educated in ADHD in order to provide the most appropriate treatment.
3. Your psychiatrist makes promises or guarantees.
There are no guarantees with therapy and promises must not be made in regard to your treatment. Therapy works best when you’re open and honest with your psychiatrist, which leaves little room for guarantees and promises.
4. Your psychiatrist is overly “touchy-feely”.
Your psychiatrist should always maintain a professional relationship with you no matter how long you have been his patient.
5. Your psychiatrist tries to be your friend.
Your psychiatrist must always maintain boundaries and must never cross the line. He cannot remain objective if he is trying to be your friend instead of your treatment provider for mental health.
6. Your psychiatrist doesn’t talk at all.
During your sessions, your psychiatrist should be vocal with you in order to provide treatment. An even exchange should occur between you and your psychiatrist so that your issues can be identified, discussed, and treated accordingly.
7. Your psychiatrist talks too much.
Having a psychiatrist who talks too much is worse than having one who doesn’t talk at all. If you can’t get a word in edgewise, you and your psychiatrist will not be able to effectively address your issues and create the proper treatment plan.
8. Your psychiatrist speaks in complex terms.
Psychiatry is a complex field but your psychiatrist should always make sure you fully understand what he is saying and what the next steps are with regard to your treatment.
9. Your psychiatrist doesn’t pay attention during your sessions.
Your psychiatrist is there to actively listen to you and to help you determine the best possible ways to cope with your mental illness. This cannot be done if your psychiatrist isn’t paying attention to you during your sessions.
10. Your psychiatrist tells you what to do or makes decisions for you.
Your psychiatrist’s role is to help you make better decisions by treating your mental illness. He should never tell you what to do; he should only make suggestions as to what might be good options based on your individual situation.
If your psychiatrist does any of the above, it’s time to start looking for a new one.
To your mental health,
Scott Shapiro, MD, FAPA