All clients meet first with a counselor for an intake appointment. Typically, the client will meet with their therapist two or three times before a referral to a psychiatrist is made. We take this approach because it is often necessary to understand the client's concerns thoroughly before referring for medication. In some cases, clients have been known to decide that they did not want medicine after meeting with their therapist, as they were feeling better.
The psychiatrist's office is in the Counseling Center.
The first session with the psychiatrist is between 30 and 50 minutes. Follow-up sessions are 15 to 30 minutes.
The psychiatrist focuses more intensely on medical history, medications, side effects, and whether the medicine is working. The psychiatrist typically does not explore the client's concerns in the same depth as a therapist. Similarly, the therapist might ask about whether the medicine is helping or if there are concerning side-effects, but he/she will not explore these concerns with the same depth as the psychiatrist.
There is no fee for the appointment, but if a medication is prescribed, clients will need to either use their insurance or pay out-of-pocket to fill the prescription.
LENGTH OF TREATMENT:
The psychiatrist is able to provide approximately a semester's worth of care to clients. It is hoped that with this amount of time, an effective medication at the correct dosage can be found to alleviate some of the presenting concerns. After the correct medication and dosage is established, the client will be referred to a community provider for continuing prescriptions.
QUESTIONS FOR THE PSYCHIATRIST:
There are a variety of appropriate questions you can ask the psychiatrist, including: length of treatment on medication and side-effects.
You are strongly advised to raise any questions or concerns about taking the medicine with the psychiatrist. This can also be a topic of discussion in counseling.
There are many medications that can be prescribed to treat similar conditions. Your psychiatrist will discuss with you which one might be best for you.
We encourage clients to be informed consumers; however, the psychiatrist might have a good reason against prescribing the medication in which you are interested. If you have questions about why the psychiatrist is suggesting a medication other than the one you were interested in, please ask.
The psychiatrist, like the counseling staff, is bound by laws of confidentiality and cannot report illegal behavior unless you are an imminent danger to yourself or someone else. That said, you need to report alcohol and drug consumption to the psychiatrist, as use of these substances may affect how a medication works in your body. In some cases, there might be dangerous side-effects from drinking alcohol or using drugs while taking psychiatric medication. In other cases, the medication simply might not work if there is too much drinking or drug use.
ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS: If you have a question that has not been answered here, please feel free to call the Counseling Center at 414-288-7172. We will assist you to the best of our abilities.