As a psychologist who cannot prescribe medication, I often refer clients to the psychiatrists here in town. Unfortunately, we have a distinct shortage of psychiatrists in Ft. Collins, to the point that clients often have to wait anywhere from three weeks to three months to get an appointment. Many clients talk with me about the difficulties of psychiatric appointments. Often the chief complaint is how the psychiatrist doesn’t “listen” or have enough time to truly attend to the client. I get both sides. Clearly psychiatrists are doing a phenomenal job seeing so many patients in a town where psychiatric services are in high demand. They are very busy. On the other hand, clients often have a lot to discuss when it comes to medication, and they want more time than may be available.
Enter KevinMD, “social media’s leading physician voice.” Kevin Pho, MD, runs a site where he helps patients “see what goes on behind the scenes of medicine.” Great blog, all in all. He recently published a guest post from a psychiatrist that is the inspiration of today’s Talk Therapy post: How to Be Heard by Your Psychiatrist. It’s certainly worth a read, and the comments below are interesting as well. It provides helpful hints for how a patient can best prep for a psychiatric appointment in order to get the most out of it.
Does this mean that it’s all the client’s responsibility to guide their appointment? No, not at all. The psychiatrist must carry a significant portion of the weight and assume responsibility for structuring the appointment (logistically and interpersonally) in a way that is most beneficial to the patient. But just like in therapy, it’s very helpful when the client assumes some of that responsibility as well.