Sherman Counseling

Preparing for a New Psychiatrist: How to Ease the Transition

Woman Talking to Psychiatrist

Whether you’re moving or starting psychiatry for the first time, switching to a new psychiatrist can feel like an intimidating process. It is natural to be nervous about the transition, but you do not have to be. With a little preparation, you can make the switch as smooth as possible. Here are some tips for preparing for a new psychiatrist.

Write down What You’d Like to Discuss

You may not remember everything you want to talk about in the moment. This may give you anxiety before the appointment and regret after the appointment. Prevent all of these negative emotions by simply creating a list of discussion topics. This may include:

  • Issues You’ve Had with Medications or Treatments in the Past
  • Your Goals for Psychiatric Treatment and Medication Management
  • Allergies and Medical History
  • Treatments You May Not Have Discussed before, Such as Sleep Aid
  • Symptoms and Experiences – Not Diagnoses (See next section for details)

Write down these topics, and then save a list of them on your phone as a backup. You could also put a copy in your wallet/purse and one in your car. This will ensure you have the list on hand no matter what, and it will keep your anxiety to a minimum.

Prepare to Talk about Your Symptoms, Not Your Diagnoses

Your new psychiatrist may ask about previous diagnoses, but he or she will mostly focus on your symptoms. Your psychiatrist does not want to be directed to a certain treatment method. Instead, he or she wants to find the ideal course of treatment for you. For instance, you may see a psychiatrist for anxiety medication, when in reality, you would do better with ADHD medication. You might not need medication at all. Your psychiatrist will determine that during your appointment so you get the ideal care from the start.

Bring a List of Current Medications, Including Dosages

Your psychiatrist will ask you about the medications you are currently taking. Do not assume that they will be listed in your file. Include your medications and dosages on your list of questions, and create backups for that list as well.

What to Expect in Your First Psychiatrist Appointment

Perhaps the best way to ease your mind is to know what to expect during your first psychiatrist appointment. This applies to people seeing a psychiatrist for the first time and those transferring to a new psychiatrist.

The first appointment is mostly a get-to-know-you session. Your psychiatrist may have notes about your medical and mental health history from previous providers, but that is not always the case. Even with those notes though, your psychiatrist will ask you about your symptoms, experiences, concerns, goals and more. This creates a foundation for your relationship, and it allows the psychiatrist to create a personalized treatment plan for you.

Based on your answers, your psychiatrist will recommend a course of treatment. This may be identical to your previous treatment plan, or it may be altered in some way. Your psychiatrist will go over every detail of the treatment with you. Then you can discuss follow-up appointments, including how frequently they will occur and how long they will last.

For more information about psychiatry appointments or to schedule a consultation with a psychiatrist near you, call Sherman Counseling at 920-733-2065. We have licensed psychiatrists and psychologists in Wisconsin who will gladly assist you.

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