How to make your visit to a new psychiatrist go smoothly

When you meet with a new psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional for the first time, you may feel nervous. You may not be sure what will happen, which may cause you to feel out of control.

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Your anxiety about your first date may cause you to assume the worst or think that treatment will be more difficult than it actually is.For example, you may think you have too many problems to solve.

However, the reality is that your therapist may focus on one or two problems from the beginning before continuing. Preparing for your first visit can help you manage anxiety and tension.

Preparing for the first date

It is important to take some time to sit down a day or two before your appointment. Use this time to reflect on your thoughts. List your feelings and any questions you have to the doctor or healthcare professional.

Bipolar Disorder Discussion Guide

Get our printable guide to make an appointment for your next doctor to help you ask the right questions.

You also need to write down any details about the triggers and how each item affects your life. This is really helpful for your doctor. For example, your list might include:

  • I had to walk to the other end of Wal-Mart when the baby was crying because I couldn’t stand the noise.
  • I don’t always believe that people are what they say.
  • I will become very angry, even angry. (If there are things that cause your anger, include them.) A few friends are angry at me because I have become inappropriately angry.
  • I feel very lonely and need support very much. As a result, I spent a lot of time crying.
  • I can only sleep a few hours a night, or I sleep 18 hours a day. No matter what your current sleeping habits are, please include this information in your list.
  • Sometimes my thoughts are flying, and I can’t seem to concentrate.

If you feel paranoid, you need to list not only the feeling, but also the reasons why you feel paranoid and how it affects your life.

Make an accurate list of your feelings and experiences and the impact on your life.

Look at the label

Don’t label your feelings or triggers. Let the doctor do this. The therapist may be unintentionally affected by your label, which may affect your diagnosis.

Taking this approach not only reduces the chance that your assessment of sensations will mislead the therapist, but it also makes the whole process easier for you. Once you start to write down or think about these exact feelings and experiences you have, you may find that it is much simpler and easier than trying to name and label them.

If you find yourself feeling anxious while making the list, take a break. Make sure you just write down your feelings and not try to find explanations, patterns, or diagnoses.

Why lists are helpful for the first date

When you break down your feelings and how they affect your daily life, you paint a very clear picture for the doctor. When your brain is spinning and you are not ready, it is very difficult to do it on the spot in a short visit, so make a list in advance.

At the same time, if you have not fully listed your feelings or experiences, please don’t worry too much. Treatment usually requires multiple visits, and the first visit is to lay the foundation for filling in later. You may even want to rank or add notes to some of your feelings so that you can immediately share your most annoying feelings.

Make three copies of the list, two for you and one for the doctor. Keep one copy at home, just in case something goes wrong with your own copy, bring the other two with you. When you go to the doctor, give him or her the list and check it together. In this way, you don’t have to remember everything you want to tell him or her on the spot, and you won’t blame yourself for forgetting what to say.

What to do after the first date

When you arrive home after the first appointment, you may wish to add a note to the list. When the visit is still fresh in your mind, please write down the things you want to talk about more deeply in the future or the feelings you don’t have time to resolve during the visit.

Also take a moment to ask yourself if you want to continue meeting with this person, or if you prefer to see other mental health service providers. An important part of dealing with any mental health condition is to build a strong relationship with a psychiatrist or therapist you can trust.

Mental health professionals, like everyone else, have a wide range of personalities, strengths and weaknesses. It is important to find someone who suits you personally.

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Creating a detailed list can make your first date with a mental health professional easier.Your doctor will also thank you for your preparation. Remember to keep your checklist simple and limit it to feelings and experiences, and be careful not to fill in diagnoses that might mislead you and your therapist.

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