When is it helpful to consult with a psychiatrist?

  • you have noticed a change with your mood, your nerves, your thinking, or your behavior and you are not sure why
  • you have been taking psychiatric medications from your primary care doctor but your symptoms don’t seem to be getting better or are not resolved
  • you have been taking psychiatric medications but wonder if they are necessary, if they are causing side effects, or whether there are better choices for you
  • you have been seeing a therapist or counselor and they recommend a psychiatric consultation
  • you wonder if you have a problem with alcohol, pain pills, or other substances

What is the different between a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor with specialty training in psychiatry. They complete 4 years of medical school and 4 more years of residency training. Psychiatrists are trained in both psychotherapy and psychiatric medications so they are able to provide both services. Other providers (like a psychologist, a social worker, or a licensed counselor) can provide psychotherapy services but they cannot prescribe medications.

Will it feel strange or awkward to talk to a psychiatrist?

When you think of a psychiatrist you might have images of an old bearded man smoking a pipe while you lie on a couch and talk about your childhood. At CPCH you can expect to be seen in a professional office environment, you are greeted by our administrative team who will help you with any scheduling, billing, or general information questions you have. After that you will meet with your doctor in an office setting where you sit in a normal chair across from your doctor. You will talk with your doctor like you would with any other professional and you will not have a physical examination.

Will the psychiatrist try to make me take medications even if I don’t want to?

NO! When you talk with your doctor you will discuss all treatment options including medication and non-medication treatments. If your doctor recommends a medication, you will discuss the risks and benefits of the medication carefully and you will decide whether or not you think it is a good choice for you. In many cases, your doctor may recommend that you stop taking medications that are not necessary or helpful for you.

Will the psychiatrist try to “read my mind”?

Your doctor relies on you to provide important information. You will be asked questions about your past medical history, social history, psychiatric history, and family history so that your doctor will understand how best to help you. We cannot read your mind! You and your doctor act as a team to make sure all the important information is covered. It is of the utmost importance that you are 100% honest with your doctor, otherwise they will not know how to help you and will not be able to make accurate recommendations.

Will I have to talk about my past?

You may find it difficult or even painful to talk about your past. When you consult with your doctor they will want to know some information about your past but you do not need to go into painful details unless you want to. If you have a history of trauma or abuse, you can tell your doctor that you have a history of these problems but would rather not discuss the details at this time.

We understand that you may have concerns about your consultation visit and are here to help. If you have more questions about what to expect at a consultation visit, please call us at 919-636-5240 option #1 or email us office@cognitive-psychiatry.com.