How do I choose a psychiatrist ?

As I have referred to in previous blogs my psychiatrist dropped the bombshell that he is leaving the Clinic in June and I have to be referred to a new one. I have a choice of three !!!! Sometimes I wish I did not have a choice and that  the referral was just made for me. So what are my criteria after a long a trusting relationship with a good psychiatric practitioner to have to start all over again.

First and foremost I have to trust that they believe my story and past. That is paramount and it is going to take time for that to happen but there are subtle cues and clues a person gives out that they believe me and I can read them immediately so that is not hard.

Secondly, they must not be “drug happy prescribers”. I am on a drug regime now that has taken a long time to work out and is working. My sleep and mood are good and I do not want psychiatrist with a ‘gung-ho’ approach with medications waltzing onto the scene believing he can give me a cure it all drug. I am open to discussing medications, of course I am but am believe therapy is the best approach in my situation coupled with some medications for mood stabilisation and sleep/nightmares/flashbacks.

Thirdly, I need a good pro-active good listener not one writing or staring at notes the whole time during the consultation. I he/she is not listening to me or I do not feel they are mistakes are going to be made and given the nature of Complex PTSD and Trauma more harm than good can be done through inadequate treatment. Missing subtle cues can result in missing a suicidal or self harm episode. So careful monitoring is vital.

Fourth, working closely with my psychotherapist is crucial to again avoid negative episodes and build good relationships. Working with my family, my autistic son doing his final year exams, a daughter who has just moved interstate and helping me juggle family life.  This has proved very effective in the past and I wish it to continue. The proverb “many hands make light work” comes to mind here.  By working together they can ascertain timely admissions to the clinic before a crisis happens hopefully.

So with my psychiatrist and psychotherapist both being away for the last two weeks I have been seeing a gentleman who I have found surprisingly good. I do not know if he is on the referral list but I would be interested in seeing him and asked if he is taking on new patients and the answer was yes so that is open for discussion with my psychiatrist when he is back next week. My psychotherapist is back Saturday. I cannot wait to see her. The flashbacks have been bad and are in need of processing. Thoughts of self harm has been prominent on my mind. I hope with her back I can work towards a discharge from the clinic in time for Easter with the family.

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