10 Things to Look for in a Psychiatrist

It is better to take refuge in the LORD

than to put confidence in mortals. (118:8, NRSV)

Now that I’ve had fun poking at psychiatrists, I thought it best to look at the positive side. Mostly, I’ve benefited from quality psychiatric care. I realize many are not so fortunate. Maybe you know someone who is looking for a psychiatrist who can meet his/her needs. First, I should say for most people with bipolar it is functionally necessary to have two mental health care givers: a psychiatrist to prescribe medication and a counselor to provide talk therapy. Ideally, they work together as a team.

While psychiatrists typically do not provide much more than medication management, it is helpful to find one who at least coordinates quality care to address psychological needs from a more holistic perspective. Here are ten characteristics I have found in the best psychiatrists:

Someone who listens to what you say and hears what you don’t say.

Someone who provides good treatment options in plain language.

Someone who is reasonably accessible in-between appointments.

Someone who keeps up on the latest meds and yet…

Someone who is not overly anxious to prescribe them all.

Someone who talks with your key loved ones respectfully.

Someone who can smile when you joke about your illness, yet…

Someone who doesn’t laugh with you when you are being manic.

Someone with a calm demeanor who can readily ease anxiety.

Someone who respects your faith as a primary healing resource.

I believe we take refuge in the LORD when we seek out trusted servants of the LORD who are gifted at promoting healing. My hope and prayer is that more people will find quality mental health care to address their physical and emotional needs.

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