Top Five Things to Look for in a Psychiatrist or Mental Health Professional
Deciding that the issues you are facing are more than you can handle yourself, is a very difficult decision to make. However, seeking help puts you on a path to better mental health and helps you take a big step towards a happier, healthier you.
Once you’ve decided you’d like to speak with a mental health professional, finding the right psychiatrist is another decision that requires a lot of thought. Finding a professional who will carry out diagnostic evaluations and medication treatment, or refer you to a local clinician for therapy, is crucial in helping you regain mental health.
With so many psychiatrists out there, it can be hard to know which one will match your needs and requirements. To help you narrow down your choices, I’ve compiled a list of the top five things to look for when hiring a psychiatrist.
- Easily Reachable.
A medical provider should be responsive to a patient's request for an appointment or for information about them or their practice. Telephone calls should be answered the same day, or the next if received late in the day, even if they do not have any appointment openings.
Does the doctor seem warm and friendly on the phone? Is she or he a good listener? Does she or he give you time to ask your question and state your concerns, or cut you off? Are you comfortable talking with him or her, or does it feel awkward? You can tell a lot from a just a ten-minute phone conversation.
Check out their education, training, and experience. Did they attend reputable schools? How long have they been in practice? Do they have experience treating the problem for which you are seeking help?
- Good Track Record.
Check with the Medical Board of California (mbc.ca.gov) to be sure there have been no disciplinary actions or judgments against the doctor and that they have a license to practice.
Often a personal recommendation is a good place to start. It could be a family member or friend, a therapist or primary care physician; someone that knows the provider and has worked with them successfully can give you the confidence you may be able to work with them too.
If you’re looking for an experienced psychiatrist in Palo Alto, California, get in touch with Dr. Trudy Hartman, M.D. I also have clients from across the San Francisco Bay Area, from as far south as Morgan Hill, and north to San Francisco.
With over twenty-three years of experience in private practice, I specialize in child and adolescent psychiatry, however, a third of my patients are adults. I offer help with tackling depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, ADHD/ADD, panic attacks, OCD, and psychotic disorders, by being responsive to and respectful of a patient's values and beliefs and ensuring all questions and concerns are addressed.