When hiring an electrician or plumber, you might ask friends and neighbors for suggestions, but looking for a psychiatrist is a personal private choice. Once you’ve found a few psychiatrists to call, a good interviewing strategy is to have a list of questions in front of you as a script. Here are ten examples:
- What kinds of patients or illnesses does your practice focus on? Or consider describing your concern or illness, and ask if the Psychiatrist has specific expertise in treating this.
- How long have you been in practice here? (If only a short time, you could also ask where else they worked.)
- How do you involve me in decision making and other aspects of my treatment? (Consider ruling out anyone who cannot describe how they involve the prospective patient in designing a treatment plan.)
- Where did you go to medical school? (You could research the school later.)
- Do you treat patients with medication, talk therapy, or both? If you use talk therapy, which?
- Do you require payment at the time of visit? Do you take my insurance or provide coded receipts? (Also ask any other billing questions you might have.)
- Could I reach you during office hours and after hours for urgent needs? Additional sessions? Are there times you cannot be reached and when would they be?
- Do you have early/ late/ convenient hours available?
- Will you speak with my past doctors if I agree? My other specialty providers?
- How long are appointments?
Finding the right psychiatrist may seem like a long, involved process, however, knowing that this doctor may partner with you for a lifetime makes it worth your time and effort.