What to expect for your first visit:
- Initial psychiatric evaluation: This evaluation typically takes an hour to thoroughly gather a psychiatric, medical, family, and social history. The client's most recent symptoms are assessed, and a detailed history is conducted of when certain problems began during the client's lifetime. In some cases, symptom rating scales are conducted during the evaluation by the provider. This will help establish a baseline of preexisting symptoms that may be associated with common disorders (Major Depression, Generalized Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, etc.) and help objectively monitor symptom improvement over time. A Mental Status Examination (MSE) will also be done during the evaluation by the provider. The history of symptoms and MSE will help formulate a differential diagnosis that will guide the treatment of care.
- Education: Education will be provided to clients on their diagnoses and prognosis, and all treatment options will be discussed—whether it be through a trial of psychotropic medications(s), psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.
- Medication Management: Selection of medications will be based on client's needs. All classes of relevant psychotropic medications will be presented, and all treatment options discussed. The risks versus benefits of each medication selection will also be discussed, including possible side effects and typical length of therapy.
- Coordination of Care: Clients will be referred to a trusted referral source if it is believed that other services would benefit the client. This may be done through collaboration with a primary care provider or collaboration with another mental health professional who may specialize in a certain aspect of mental healthcare (i.e. an eating disorder specialist or PTSD survivor group).
- Ordering Lab Work: Ordering lab work is usually recommended if a client is not established with a primary care physician. Orders for labs typically include testing for thyroid abnormalities, electrolyte imbalances, cholesterol levels, and complete blood counts (i.e. platelet levels, white blood cells, red blood cells, etc). This will help with the diagnostic process of mental health disorders and also help identify if certain disease process within the body may be causing a particular symptom or cluster of symptoms.
What to expect for your follow-up visits:
- Follow up visits are typically 20-30 minutes. The time usually depends on the client’s needs or preference. A majority of time is spent focusing on the client’s recent symptoms and response to any medications that may have been prescribed. A MSE will be conducted on every visit, and additional information will be gathered including, but not limited to: assessing response to medications and possible side effects, evaluating current life stressors, assessing recent medical concerns, review of current rating scales compared to baseline data, and review of laboratory values if pertinent. If any adjustments in medications are needed, recommendations will be made that will best serve the client to achieve symptom remission.
- Psychotherapy or Counseling may be conducted for each client encounter. Whether through insight oriented or supportive psychotherapy, the client will be guided in the right direction to establish a sense of well-being. The general theme for psychotherapy or counseling sessions is helping clients find a sense of balance in their life through three domains. These domains include interpersonal relationships, career/school, and self.