Many factors can go into a psychiatric appointment. Each Psychiatrist has their own style but also the treatment modalities dictate how an appointment is run.

There are different types of appointments. Some appointments are initial assessments. Initials appointments can be the only appointment with a particular psychiatrist and called a “consultation”. At the end of a consultation, the psychiatric might recommend another Psychiatrist who specialized in a particular issue or another clinician for a specific type of therapy. By the way, this could mean that a person believes they are meeting with a psychiatrist they’ll continue to see after an initial assessment but then hear from that Psychiatrist that another clinician is better suited for them. But most of the time, the Psychiatrist who completes the Initial Assessment (or “Evaluation”) will continue to see that person for treatment.

Another type of appointment are called “follows ups” because they are “following up” on treatment. These appointments are usually shorter in duration that initial assessments. They can be scheduled as infrequently as once every few months or as often as many times a week. The frequency can depend on the nature of the treatment and the severity of the symptoms. Follow up appointments can include medication management, therapy or both. Follow up appointments can also include family meetings or family meetings can be scheduled separating.

Termination appointments are appointments when either the patient or the Psychiatrists knows this will be the last appointment. Ideally this is when treatment has concluded and can be therapeutic for the patient. Sometimes a regularly scheduled follow up appointment becomes a termination appointment when either the patient or Psychiatrist decides in the appointment that this will be the last appointment. This decision can happen for many reasons such as if another clinician is more appropriate for a new issue. Sometimes it can be because the patient or doctor has determined the doctor-patient relationship (an important concept in Psychiatry and important to read about when considering meeting with a Psychiatrist! is no longer therapeutic. Discussing feelings and concerns when terminating a doctor-patient relationship can be very therapeutic. For this reason, you’ll often hear Psychiatrist insist on a termination appointment. If you’re considering switching Psychiatrists, I encourage you to discuss terminating the relationship with your Psychiatrist.

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