How to find a good psychiatrist

How is a person supposed to find a good psychiatrist ? After you convince yourself (or someone else) that you need therapy it seems to be impossible to make that second step and find someone to see. It’s not like people talk about this stuff often and I’d hate to spend time in this ackward situation talking to someone who is no good.

I have a friend who has been through a divorce and has regressed to the point that at 30 years old he acts like a freshman in college. He has self esteem issues and has become semi-misogynistic. He confided in me that he is ready to seek therapy but has two concerns.

The first problem, how to find a good therapist. The second is that he tells me he does not want to use his insurance because “people will look back at his records” and use it against him. Any truth to that ?

I would think that his records would be confidential, so the only ones to use it against him would be otehr doctors, and they can’t really do that, can they?

I would have answered that the best way to get a therapist/psychiatrist would be through the recommendation of your own doctor. I know that’s what delayed my aunt from getting treatment for something at one point - trying to get an appointment with a GP who would recommend her to a psychiatrist!

I found my therapist through a friend who wanted me to get help after my horrible, messy divorce. Word of mouth—and people will share if you ask them specifics. Because a person needs help does not mean they are mentally ill and most people know that. Looking back on my records, I don’t see how anyone could use the fact that I saw a therapist against me. I needed help and paid a professional to help me.

All I can say is DON’T let your parents find you one.

Your friend probably needs a psychologist, not a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is likely to precribe medications. Most of them don’t do therapy. A psychologist, on the other hand, can’t prescribe (but can refer you to someone who can if need be), but does do psychotherapy.

In your friend’s case, since this is divorce aftermath, a marriage and family therapist might be a good idea. If he isn’t willing to ask his MD or someone he knows for a recommendation, the phone book is worth a try, as long as you know what to look for. Anyone can call themselves a “counselor,” so look for degrees–if someone has a Ph.D., or at a minimum, a MSW or MA, they are at least qualified in terms of education. Unfortunately, therapy is an art, and although education is important, it is not everything.

Good luck to him–knowing he needs this is a huge step.

If you have a friend in the mental health field, ask him or her. If you have a friend who is in therapy, ask them to ask their shrink if you can call them for a reference. Many shrinks will be cool with this. Good luck. Use the phonebook as a last resort, OK?

Some cities have referral services. You go there for an initial discussion where you figure out what kind of therapy you’re looking for, what kind of personality, and how much you can afford. Then they give you a list of four or five people you can go to for a trial session (usually free), to see if any of them suits you. It’s not ideal, but it’s a place to start.

I am totally blanking on the names of these services, although I think they’re often connected with training programs, but I suppose you could find one in the phonebook.