What can I expect from the first visit at Online Psychiatrists?
Psychiatric treatment starts with an initial 60-minute appointment where we focus on why you are starting or continuing psychiatric care. What are your concerns and what have you noticed about yourself? What are your strengths and your goals? What do you want from treatment? I will ask questions about your overall health, your background and current life circumstances, your family and friendships and use of drugs or other substances. I may also ask you to complete some pen and paper symptom scales to provide an additional measure of how you are doing. This process, though intensive, bears fruit down the road as it allows me to have a fuller understanding of who you are and to collaborate with you to find the best treatment possible.
At the end of this appointment we will discuss a treatment plan which will include the frequency of subsequent visits. This treatment plan may include medication or psychotherapy or both, and will be guided by your preferences and needs. I may also refer you for a group or other professional consultations or testing. If you choose to go on medication, we will discuss potential side effects and what you can expect from the medication.
Is there anything I should do before our first appointment?
If you have been on medication previously, please bring a list of your current and previous medications, including the doses and length of time you used them. If you have a psychotherapist and would like for me to speak with them before your fist visit, please have them contact me.
Diagnosis, psychiatric evaluation
Before establishing an effective treatment plan it is important to first begin with a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation. Mental health conditions can be complex and involve many factors which interact to effect feelings, mood, thoughts, and behavior. Many of these biological, psychological, and social variables can have significant influences on life experiences, relationships, work and sense of self. It is imperative to consider all aspects of a person’s past history and current circumstances when determining the optimal treatment approach. A thorough evaluation produces clinical information that can be utilized to form an accurate diagnosis. If needed laboratory tests, imaging studies, or psychological testing can be incorporated as part of the evaluation process.
Often times, mental health disorders co-exist and need to be diagnosed and treated in an independent but coordinated manner. This is especially true when addressing past “treatment failures”. With the development of an effective treatment plan, optimal clinical strategies can be implemented which can lead to the reduction of distressing symptoms and promote restored health and well-being.
We know your mental health treatment is the most personal and private thing to you. Likewise, we realize that one of the most important tools for our helping you is maintaining your privacy. We are ethically and legally bound to keep everything you say confidential, unless we have your explicit permission. The only exception to this rule is if you are a danger to someone.
Email and the internet have made life easier for us all. One way in which it can help you is by serving as an additional way for you to direct a specific question to your provider. Our providers welcome email contact for routine, non-urgent matters, but not for emergencies and scheduling appointments. If you have an urgent matter, please call our office; in case of an emergency, call 911, or go to your nearest emergency room. Administrative requests, like scheduling appointments, can be addressed by calling the office. Please remember, most email that anyone sends, unless special security measures are taken (like 64-bit encryption), may not be fully secure or confidential.
In order to provide you with the highest quality of care, without restrictions imposed by insurance companies, our doctors and therapists are not members of any insurance panels. This means the provider is able to spend more time and attention devoted to your care, because their first priority is your care, not the interests of an insurance company. However, if you have insurance coverage for out-of-network providers (PPO insurance), you should be able to be reimbursed by your insurer.
For more information, please contact your insurer for specific details about your coverage and how to obtain reimbursement for your visits here. A statement summarizing your visits with our office can be obtained by asking your provider or calling the office.
Please arrive at the office at least 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to check-in and complete some light paperwork. Your check-in papers will be in our waiting room. Once you have completed it, please push the “Assistant” call light and we will collect it from you.
We have a 24-hour cancellation policy. In order to avoid a charge for a late cancellation, please give our office notice of at least one business day (by Friday for Monday appointments).
Medication monitoring visits are 25 minutes long and are spaced apart depending upon how often we need to get together to review your medication treatment and make decisions about any changes that may be needed. If your medication is working well and your condition stable, I will ask you to see me every 6 months at a minimum. These checkup visits must be face to face and cannot be held over the phone.
Psychotherapy visits are 45 minutes in length and may include medication monitoring. The frequency of psychotherapy visits is variable, ranging from twice weekly to once a month.