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My Top Four Criteria for a Psychiatrist After My New Patient Visit

Global Warming Brains Last week, I visited my new psychiatrist for the first time.

After seven years with my last doctor, her retirement forced me into a much-needed change.

Besides the appointment being two hours behind schedule, during my work day, the visit was productive and encouraging.

After the visit, in the spirit of my discussions about a quality psychiatric doctor, I came up with four criteria that I will now use in deciding if a doctor is right for me…

1. Personality

Yes, my doctor has to have a personality.

The criteria is much different for me than a medical doctor.

If I spend hundreds of hours in someone’s office, I want to feel comfortable.

I will likely build a closer relationship with this professional than any other doctor.

This new doctor was upbeat, complimentary, inquired about my job, and even joked with me, threw in a few curse words for good measure.

If I’m going to spend two hours waiting sans book or tablet, he better at least be somewhat engaging and entertaining.

2. Collaboration

If you are a regular HBL reader, you know I’ve had trouble with getting my opinions on medication heard.

Finally, my doctor took my thoughts into consideration.

Extra meds? Thrown out. Plan for decrease of essential meds? In motion.

He took me at face value, and trusted my opinion. He wasn’t interested in trying to find hidden meaning.

He observed my affect, and was satisfied. No subjective mood charts, no fluff.

Does she look healthy? Is she emoting? Engaged in the conversation? Displays insight?


3. Expertise

My new doc specializes in neuropsychiatry, adolescent psychiatry, and has a deep background in the biological side of mental disorders.

He has a command of bipolar disorder, a command of medicine in general that my last doctor didn’t have.

And he taught me new things. I took elements into consideration that I never have. That hasn’t happened in a while.

I want to dissect bipolar, both physical and mental. I can ask questions and get answers to them.

4. Time Management

This is the element that my doc failed on.

I was not joking–I waited until 3 o’clock for an appointment at 1.

Because this was a new patient appointment, I waited over a month and took what I could get.

It didn’t quite work out that way. I was surprised, because the lobby was relatively empty.

With no indication from the front desk, the four people in the waiting area happened to be four people in front of me that needed to see my doc.

Kudos to the guy for giving each patient the care they deserve.

However, as more people walked in, and learned of the delay, they expressed that this wasn’t the first time they waited a couple of hours.


When I made my next appointment, I went AM. At least he won’t be as backed up as in the afternoon.


What are your top four criteria your psychiatrist has to have? Do you think it could change over time? is your psychiatrist fulfilling your criteria? 


Photo Credit: Emilio Garcia via Compfight




My Top Four Criteria for a Psychiatrist After My New Patient Visit

Kat Dawkins

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APA Reference
Dawkins, K. (2014). My Top Four Criteria for a Psychiatrist After My New Patient Visit. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 2, 2020, from


Last updated: 1 Jun 2014
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