Going to a psychiatrist for the first time can be both an exciting and an anxious task. This can be because you are excited as to how the psychiatrist can help you while also being nervous as to what is actually going to happen during the consultation. Almost all people that visit a psychiatrist will tell you that the hours before the first consultation are truly nerve-wracking, but once they actually do the consultation, they will be more at ease. Of course, going to a place that you have never been to before will make you nervous, but if you know what you are supposed to do during the consultation, then the sense of uncertainty that makes you anxious may go away. To help you prepare and lose your nervousness, here are some tips that you can follow or take note of before you visit the psychiatrist.
Calm Your Mind
As mentioned in the introduction, visiting a psychiatrist may be intimidating for some, as they don’t know what to expect and what to actually do during the first consultation. However, if you are experiencing anxiety before going to a psychiatrist, you should always keep in mind that the person you are going to talk to is not going to hurt you and that a psychiatrist’s goal is to help people in need. The anxiousness usually stems from being intimidated by the psychiatrist, so don’t be afraid of him or her and picture the psychiatrist as a friend that will help you solve problems.
Prepare Your Medical History
The first thing that a psychiatrist may look for before proceeding to the consultation is your medical history, which means that you would have to tell them with honesty if you have been taking medications or if there have been past diagnoses on your mental health. In addition, the psychiatrist may also ask if your family has a history of psychiatric issues, as some mental disorders can be hereditary. By providing your medical history, the psychiatrist will be able more accurate in assessing your mental health and give you proper consultations and prescriptions. Visit BetterHelp.com and read their guide on what you should look for in a local psychiatrist to learn more about how they can provide suitable prescriptions and advice for their patients.
Be Prepared for Questions
The consultation will mostly consist of questions from the psychiatrist, so it is recommended that you prepare for at least some of them. Two of the most common questions in the first minutes of the consultation are “How are you doing?” and “How can I help you?”
For most people, these questions often be intimidating to answer, as you need to provide a long answer, but you shouldn’t really be anxious about the questions since the psychiatrist will guide you in case you have trouble answering. However, it would be best if you could actually tell the psychiatrist your problems with your mental health and if there are cases that you have experienced mental breakdowns or panic attacks so that the psychiatrist will know more about your condition and provide you with a better diagnosis.
You Can Express What You are Feeling in the Moment
During the consultation, you shouldn’t be afraid to show emotions, as they are a way for the psychiatrist to understand your situation better. So, you can cry if you are feeling sad about your problems, and you can be angry if you are frustrated with yourself for acting violently during certain events in the past that you are discussing with the psychiatrist. Be more open to talking with your psychiatrist about your concerns, as he or she can serve as your friend that you can rely on during the moment. By letting out whatever troubles your mind and your heart, the psychiatrist can better assess what you need and what you should do to improve your life.
Be Willing to Build a Therapeutic Relationship
As mentioned before, you should think of a psychiatrist as a friend that is willing to listen to you and give great advice, and by setting that as your mindset before going to a consultation, you may be able to build a therapeutic relationship with your psychiatrist. A therapeutic relationship is usually needed for the psychiatrist to have a deeper understanding of his or her patient’s personality and problems, although the patient must be willing to build that relationship by giving trust.
Understand that a Psychiatrist May Not Be Suitable for You
There may sometimes be a case where both the psychiatrist and the patient are unable to build a therapeutic relationship because their personalities and the way they approach things are different. If this ever happens to you, then the psychiatrist you are consulting with may not be the one that will help you get better. You would need to understand that not all psychiatrists are suitable for you, as there may be only a few that may actually understand your concerns better based on their specialties. In addition, you should take note that psychiatrists are humans too, so they may also have personalities and attitudes that may match well or clash with yours.
Visiting a psychiatrist is already a brave task to do, as you are actually able to admit that you may have problems with your mental health, which some people might see as a sign of weakness, and that you are willing to seek help for it. If your first consultations didn’t actually go well, don’t get worried that things didn’t go as planned, as you and the psychiatrist may be able to communicate better on the next consultations.