Choosing a Psychiatrist

I wanted to veer into topics specific to peers.

Who knows–maybe while living indoors you’ve thought about things and want to make some changes.

In the coming two blog entries I’ll list questions you can ask any psychiatrist.

In this entry I’ll start out by talking about my experience.

I was told it’s hard for a doctor to recommend another professional.

The M.D. has to know the patient’s history: their unique constellation of symptoms; track record with taking medication–and numerous other details.

In 2003 I researched the names of three doctors and called them on the telephone to screen them.

One shrink required that I sign a waiver of liability releasing him from any responsibility. Had a former patient sued him?

I thought: if he doesn’t trust me, how can I trust him?

Shrink #1: ruled out.

Doctor #2 operated out of a low-income clinic. The person who answered the phone told me point blank that I wasn’t a candidate for a low-income clinic. (I kid you not.)

M.D. #3 had decided to retire and no longer had a practice.

Dr. A was the final choice that a former friend recommended.

As soon as I entered his office and he shook my hand, I thought: “This is the guy I want treating me.”

He hadn’t even opened his mouth. He hadn’t even started the intake.

You should always go with your intuition. The first time I met Dr. A I grilled him in detail. I had walked into his office with a list of 20 questions.

I recommend grilling 2 doctors and then deciding the one you think is best.

In the coming blog entries I’ll give lists of questions to ask any M.D.

Author: Christina Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the new book Working Assets: A Career Guide for Peers. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health.

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