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What is a Psychiatrist appt like?

I've got my first appt in the first week of the holidays.  I've been to several psychs, but I have a feeling it'll be different.


  1. How different is it?
  2. What do I have to document in terms of symptoms?
  3. How do I let mum know I'd like to be out of the room when she starts analyzing me?  

I'm scared, but relieved I'll find out what the h***is going on as I'm tired of dealing with it.....


Feel free to ask questions if something doesn't make sense. Smiley Happy


Re: What is a Psychiatrist appt like?

Wondering about this too... my first psychiatrist appt is after the holidays (god they're so hard to get in to :/)

No human being, however great or powerful, was ever so free as a fish

Re: What is a Psychiatrist appt like?

Definitly- only took me 3 years to get my GP to write the referral, although I'm glad it's soon. Smiley Happy I hope yours goes OK! Smiley Happy Just think: maybe someone might actually take us seriously. It'd be nice....  

Re: What is a Psychiatrist appt like?

Hi Shadow


We do have this fact sheet on about Psychiatrists which may help you prepare a bit. There's a whole range of articles in the Professional help section on different professional roles, confidentiality, your rights, and treatment


If you're keen, it would be awesome for you to come back here and share what your first psychiatrist appt was like and what type of info you needed to give him/her so other ppl can learn from your experience. We'll also put it on our list of future fact sheets to write.


Hope it goes well


Re: What is a Psychiatrist appt like?

Hi Shadow,

I'm really glad that you're getting help in terms of going to see a psychiatrist.

Do you mean difference between seeing a psychologist and psychiatrist? Some aspects will be quite similar as they may both do counselling and ask what's going on for you. They both may give you questionaires to fill in to assess your symptoms etc. A psychiatrist though may be more focused on medications that may help and monitoring how you're going.

You don't have to document anything beforehand if you don't want to, but if there are certain things you want to bring up, it can help to make a note so that you remember.

It's your appointment so you should be able to have a say at any time if you feel uncomfortable having your mum in the room and would rather speak to the pdoc alone.

Good luck, and if you have any other questions I'm also happy to answer them.

Re: What is a Psychiatrist appt like?


I've had experience with a few psychiatrists but I've only been to one of them, for a total of one session. 

In my experience, that one session was different to first sessions I've had with psychologists - in my psychologist sessions they wanted to learn more about me, my history, my family etc. Whereas with the psychiatrist any background stuff we did was brief (I really don't remember any background questions beyond they 'what brings you here today/why are you here').


Psychologists were willing to talk, but really want to focus on treatment paths and   thought changing; with psychiatrists I've found it to be more about thought understanding, so they want you to talk.

Psychiatrist appointments are less structured than a psychologist appointment, while they may have some things in mind that could be good to explore they are happy for you to take over the session on something that is currently relevant.


I hope a psychologist will be better suited to you, I know that the way psychologists seem to repeat everything you already know has especially annoyed you and I've found psychiatrists to be better at talking to you as a person than as lost child.


I'm can't help much with the other two, certainly can't help with the documentation of symptoms.

Since you're not a little child I would imagine that the psychiatrist would either mention to your mother that she can wait outside or ask you whether you wanted her to come in. 

If you need to tell your mum, perhaps mentioning on the drive over or while you're waiting, or before you even leave you could tell her to bring something so she won't be bored while she's waiting for you to come out.

Re: What is a Psychiatrist appt like?

Thanks guys!! Smiley Happy That helps a lot! I'll definitly let you know how it goes. Smiley Very Happy I'm relieved more than anything.... It's been so long....

Re: What is a Psychiatrist appt like?

Hey Shadow,


If you have had the appointment, I hope it went well... If not I hope this will help...


As I'm sure you are aware, a psychiatrist is a doctor (it can take a VERY long time to become a psychiatrist - 8+ years!) whereas psychologist is basically a "counsellor" (with extra study). So the approaches of both can be quite different. However, I don't find a heap of difference between them altthough the psychaitrist will probably be more interested in "diagnosing you" and wanting to know "symptoms". I actually prefer the "psychiatric" approach - but know others who prefer the way psychologists approach things.


First appointment should be VERY similar. They'll want to build a "rapport" with you so they'll ask you lots of questions about your general background and history of symptoms. They'll also ask you questions about things you enjoy. So it's quite similar to a first appointment with a psychologist. 


The psychaitrist will probably take lots of notes during the session. They will also probably give you an overview at the end of the session saying what they would like to do from then on... Whether that's trialing a medication or seeing a psychologist or something else. Don't be afraid to ask questions!


I hope it goes really well - don't forget that it's the same as any health professional... We mightn't "click" with the first one we see! My psychiatrist I have now is AMAZING and I trust him explicitly (he also does some "counselling"), but I saw a few psychiatrists through the public health system and another private one before I found him (it took 3 years!).



Re: What is a Psychiatrist appt like?

It was awesome- not only did he listen, but he took me seriously and didn't try to blame everything on life events! Smiley Happy

He asked to speak to me straight off, so I didn't have to worry about asking mum to leave- bonus! Smiley Very Happy

Whenever he asked questions such as "Why do you think that?" he didn't dismiss my answers or revert back to the old standby- life events or personality whenever I said I wasn't sure, but instinct was telling me I was right.


In terms of initial questions:   

  • How old are you?
  • Do you live with your parents?
  • Does anyonne else live with you?
  • If so, how old are they?
  • Why do you think you are here?
  • Did you have _______ x years ago?
  • If not, when dd it appear? 
  • Is it different now, to how it was then?  

And plenty more that I can't remember....

His voice was so soothing too!

He doesn't bulk bill everyone, but his receptionist accidently marked me down for bulk billing! Smiley Happy 

Re: What is a Psychiatrist appt like?

That's so great to hear, Shadow! Smiley Very Happy

I haven't found the right psych yet, only been to see a couple. Definitely something I'm going to try again soon. Fingers crossed I find someone who seems as good as this one!