As a general adult psychiatrist I am skilled in treating mood disorders, anxiety disorders, and other conditions that are appropriate for a single provider practice. The obvious advantage of seeing a psychiatrist is that you can be evaluated for any medical conditions that may be affecting emotional symptoms, and get an opinion on whether medication may be beneficial.
The advantage of being seen in my practice is that often you do not have to see another provider for psychotherapy, and this is what I mean by “integrated treatment.” Not all patients require psychotherapy, and likewise not all will require medication; this is what is special about seeing a psychiatrist with a balanced, individualized approach in treatment-planning.
In the past medical care was provided according to each person’s needs, independent of any particular flowchart developed for the masses. Algorithms engineered by a business entity, a product of our current health care system, may not be advantageous or applicable for doctors or patients who desire individualized care. An insurance corporation that must prioritize the financial bottom line is often in conflict with providing patients optimal care.
It is true many people don’t seek out professional psychiatric help because they don’t know how it works, and they don’t know what to expect. There is a great deal of confusion about psychiatric treatment in general.
Psychotherapy is rational and accessible. It is not some esoteric, undefined, mystical process that only some people can grasp, a faith that only converts believe in and others do not. It is a logical process which anyone can understand and follow. There is no reason for anything in a session to be unreasonable or mysterious. On the contrary, in good psychotherapy every step should make complete sense to you.
Psychotherapy is a dialogue, not advice. The world is full of advice. Part of what brings you to treatment is that you’ve become lost in that advice and can’t sort out who’s to heed; the last thing you need is yet another voice to consider.
The goal of treatment is for you to rediscover your own voice, your own priorities, and the courage to act on them. I do not tell a patient what to do about his/her marriage, career, or anxiety. The ultimate goal is to help patients change their image of themselves from someone who is overwhelmed by emotional symptoms, to one who can master them.
Yes, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), supportive, and psychodynamic psychotherapy are a few of the techniques I utilize in my practice. For more information about different types of psychotherapy please refer to the resources section. All therapies have the ultimate aim of helping a patient increase awareness and self-understanding.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who have comprehensive training in biology and psychology, and as such are in a unique position to prescribe the right type of treatment depending on each individual’s circumstances.
Psychotherapy has been validated as an effective treatment for depression and anxiety, and is also used adjunctively with medications if deemed appropriate. That being said, I do not recommend psychotherapy to patients who are unlikely to benefit from it. After your initial consultation is complete we will discuss treatment recommendations. If I feel another psychiatric provider may be a better fit for the treatment I have recommended, we’ll discuss that as well.
M.D. - Medical Doctor:
This one you already knew, right? Psychiatrists are medical doctors (although some are D.O.s). Their education includes a four year undergraduate degree + 4 years of medical school, and then 4 years of residency training after med school (for psychiatrists). As a comparison, family practice doctors and internists finish 3 years of residency training after medical school. Thus, psychiatrists are in a unique position to evaluate the need for psychiatric medications, and to evaluate the impact other medical conditions may have on a psychiatric condition.
D.O. - Doctor of Osteopathy:
Very similar to an M.D. Osteopaths generally have the same residency training as M.D. physicians. Their medical schools include additional training in physical manipulation techniques somewhat similar to chiropractic.
Ph.D. psychologists have about 5 years of graduate training in psychology and usually an undergraduate psychology major as well. Psy.D. psychologists have almost as much training but with less emphasis on performing research. In order to obtain a license as a psychologist most states require a further 1 or 2 years of post-graduate supervised experience in the field. Masters level psychologists are not addressed as "doctor" and have only about 2 years of graduate training
Note: You can also get a Ph.D which stands for “doctor of philosophy” in Social Work, Nursing, English, Mathematics, and Philosophy.
N.P.- Nurse Practitioner:
Nurses who have obtained a masters degree can apply for a nurse practitioner license. Nurse practitioners may open their own practice, and may prescribe medication under the supervision of a medical doctor. According to the North Carolina Medical Board www.ncmedboard.org they must have an ongoing collaborative practice agreement with a medical doctor.
There others APBN, “advanced practice nurse-board certified” (exact details to be updated soon)
P.A.- Physician’s assistant:
This is another type of “physician-extender” that requires completion of a physicians assistant program. PA’s may also prescribe medication under the supervision of a medical doctor.
D.S.W. - Doctor of Social Work:
An advanced social work degree, often held by educators in social work.
L.C.S.W.- Licensed clinical social worker:
Usually 2 years of graduate training with an emphasis on psychotherapy, an internship also emphasizing psychotherapy, and a year or two of supervised post-graduate work before obtaining the license.
Ed.D. - Doctor of Education. Many Schools of Education confer this degree. A recipient can be a psychologist, an educational administrator, or someone in another education-related field.
DCM - Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine: A chiropractor who completes a 4 year program.
D.Min. - A minister. Possibly a doctoral level pastoral counselor, but not always. Th.D. or D.Div. are also used.
J.D. - Doctor of Jurisprudence - An attorney. Some mental health professionals also have law degrees.
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