If you were going to make an appointment for you..


New Member
what type of Dr would you choose? A Psychologist or a Psychiatrist?

Ever since M's first admit to the psychiatric hospital back in March and the SW there asking me "Does he remind you of anyone in the family?" I have been throwing back and forth the idea of making an appointment for myself just to make sure I'm all well and balanced and that there isn't anything I should know about myself that I should be telling all of the professionals to help diagnosis my son. The more and more I pick myself (maybe more so my childhood self) apart, I see some slight similarities between M and me. And, well, let's face it...*MY* family history is riddled with mental illness, so better to be safe than sorry, right?

So, anyway, I think I'm at the point now where I want to pick up the phone and make an appointment and request someone to do some sort of work up on me and just make sure I'm OK...but the list is long. Should I be calling a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist?


New Member
I know sometimes Psychiatrists are just used for the 15 minute "medication check"...is there any chance I'll have a hard time getting into one? Is that an industry practice or more an insurance mandated thing?

I know my mother (clinically depressed) sees a psychologist for her "talk" therapy and a psychiatrist for her 15 minute "medication check."

If it were me, I would probably start by calling my insurance company and getting as much information as possible concerning mental health benefits. I don't think it's an insurance mandated thing. I know that difficult child 1 sees a therapist more than a psychiatrist because there aren't many child psychiatrists in our area. We really don't have much of a choice unless we want to spend lots of time traveling back and forth to appointments.

If given the choice, like the others, my first choice would be to see a psychiatrist. WFEN


Alison, I think we're unusual, but we've chosen an integrated approach with all three kids in that they each see a child psychiatrist one hour weekly for psychotherapy and medication management. If I felt I had a disorder along the lines of my kids', I'd find an adult psychiatrist who does the same thing. Or at the very least, I'd find a psychiatrist to evaluate me over several sessions (NOT 15 minutes) to figure out diagnosis and medications.


New Member
I think you need to check around, because some psychiatrists only see someone for the medications, but others do both. Our insurance only covers one hospital and there are only 3 or 4 child psychiatrists and all of them work with a psychologist and only work on the medications. We did go outside our insurance for awhile and found a psychiatrist who did both. I liked it much better, but it was costly.

My sister in law who lives in a different state than us also found a psychiatrist for her son who does both, and she feels like this is much better.


It depends on what you're looking for. A psychiatrist is going to be more clinical and diagnostic...more along the lines of question and answers scenario. I find that to not be very beneficial for me because I have enough knowledge of mental health issues to be biased in my answers. It's not intentional, mind you, but it happens. In fact, when I filled out the questionnaires from difficult child's neuropsychologist I did not do them in order because they group the questions together...ADHD questions, social skills, etc...and I didn't want my answers to be biased based on whether or not *I* thought difficult child had X, Y, or Z. I already knew what I thought, but I wanted an unbiased diagnosis. However, you will probably get answers faster with a psychiatrist.

A psychologist is going to take more time and it would be more therapeutic, although a psychologist can and does diagnose. It is just typically done in a less direct fashion. At least that has been my experience.


Well-Known Member
After checking many, many doctors......I couldn't find a psychiatrist who would see my difficult child for therapy, only medications. I still am not sure how a psychiatrist treats for a disorder that is diagnosis'd by someone else. Without telling that doctor everything you told the therapist, how do they know what to prescribe? Nonetheless, we're doing it....but I don't like it a bit. IF I were going to find a doctor for myself, I'd try to find a psychiatrist who did both.


New Member
Hi Alison - I think it depends on what you are seeking ... if you want a diagnosis for yourself, then a psychiatrist is the one to see as in my experience psychologists tend to shy away from doing so. If you know you need medications, then go see the psychiatrist.

But if you want someone to bounce things off of and tell you if you need medications or just a new way of thinking, then see the psychologist.

Most of all, don't sweat it, either one is the right answer ... just go!

Probably more important is the individual you will be seeing, and you don't really know that until you meet them, but don't be afraid to talk to them on the phone or find someone else if you don't click.