You ask a great question about what to expect when having your first psychiatrist appointment or consultation. Every psychiatrist conducts his/her sessions somewhat differently, so there will be slight variations in how he/she runs the first psychiatric session. But here is a general idea of what you can expect during the first visit to a psychiatrist:
Your first psychiatric appointment may start with some paperwork – gathering identifying information (like date of birth, home address, phone number, etc.) and insurance information. The psychiatrist may take this time to go over various practice policies, such as the cancellation policy.
Depending on how the psychiatrist likes to conduct his/her consultations with children and teens, the initial visit the psychiatrist may start with just you alone, or the psychiatrist might want to include your parent(s) for some or all of the first session. If you have a preference in terms of wanting to meet with or without your parent(s), you can certainly state your preference to the psychiatrist at the beginning of the session.
Questions For You
The psychiatrist will have many questions for you so that he/she can develop an accurate diagnosis, as well as an effective treatment plan based on that diagnosis. You will probably be asked about the following: during the first psychiatric appointment.
Don’t worry about how to answer these questions or whether or not you are giving a “right” answer. Just do the best you can in giving your answers, and if you feel confused by the question or don’t know the answer, it is absolutely okay to just say so.
Questions For The Psychiatrist
You are more than welcome to ask to ask questions of your mental health provider. It is completely normal and appropriate to do so during your first psychiatric appointment, and you should absolutely leave feeling like you have an understanding of all that you feel you need to know. You don’t have to ask all of the following questions, but look over the following and consider whether any are important for you to ask. And if you don’t want to ask any questions the first session, that is fine, too.
If the psychiatrist spent time with you alone during the consultation, he/she may very well invite your parent(s) back into the office to wrap things up.
At the end of the consultation the psychiatrist will probably give their opinion as to whether or not you have a depressive disorder (or some other mental health illness). The psychiatrist will let you know if he/she recommends any other evaluations, such as meeting with a certain medical professional if a medical condition needs to be ruled out. The psychiatrist will also give his/her treatment recommendation. Treatment recommendations might include medication management, individual therapy, and/or family therapy. The psychiatrist will let you know what he/she will do – will he/she only be there for medication management and refer you to a therapist for weekly therapy sessions, or will he/she do medication management and therapy, or just therapy, themselves.
If medication is recommended, the psychiatrist will explain what medication he/she would like to prescribe, how it can be helpful to you, and what to expect from the medication. The psychiatrist will give you information on how to take the medication (often and how much), and will invite you and your parent(s) to ask any questions you may have about the medication.
The psychiatrist will probably conclude the first session by asking if you have any additional questions or concerns, and then will set up any needed future appointments and give you any needed referral information.