Psychiatrists and Psychologists are professionally trained to help people suffering with psychological distress or mental illness. They have different roles but work collaboratively to optimize patient care and treatment.
A Psychiatrist is a medically-qualified doctor who will have had an additional six years of specialist training to qualify as a Psychiatrist. Psychiatrists oversee a patient's care and treatment plan, including medication management. A Psychiatrist can prescribe medication.
A Psychologist will have gained a degree in psychology at university before gaining further experience working in relevant healthcare settings. Psychologists engage a patient in various types of talking therapies. A Psychologist cannot prescribe medication.
If you have a suspected mental health issue, it is advisable that you have a proper mental health evaluation by a Psychiatrist in order to reach a definitive diagnosis and a treatment plan can be formulated.
Other than the diagnosis of a mental illness, you may need to see a Psychiatrist if:
- You do not feel that you are getting better under the care of your GP alone
- You would like a medication review (you may be on medication prescribed by your GP)
- Any time you need more than one psychiatric medication (generally)
- You think that you may have more than one diagnosis
- You disagree with your doctor's diagnosis and treatment and would like a second opinion
- You are struggling to function on a daily basis (i.e. eating, sleeping, working, looking after yourself, etc.)
- You have thoughts of hurting yourself or others
- You cannot control your thoughts
- You would like to be referred for talking therapy
During your initial assessment, I will take a detailed history from you. I may also ask you to complete a number of self-report questionnaires. This will help me formulate a diagnosis and treatment plan. It is essential that you are as open and honest with me as possible. The more information you provide, the better equipped I am to help you.
Of course you can. They can sit through the whole or part of your assessment - it's entirely up to you. Family and friends can often provide useful, objective, collateral information.
Whilst you do not have to bring anything with you to the initial consultation, details of the following (either in advance, or during the appointment) are helpful:
- Your current problems/issues
- The effect that they are having on your life
- A relevant timeline of events/symptoms
- Medical/psychiatric reports by other professionals
- The results of any medical/psychological tests
- A list of medication you are on, or have tried
- A list of any side-effects from current and previous medication
New patient assessments are one hour. For more complex cases, or where more detailed cognitive testing is required, I may need to allocate up to two hours. This is rare, and if required, you will be advised of this when booking the appointment.
Follow-up reviews are approximately half-an-hour.
The decision is ultimately yours however, medication can be extremely effective in helping people with mental-health issues, both in the short and long-term.
Medication can be particularly beneficial for conditions such as ADHD, depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
If I feel that you would benefit from taking medication, I will discuss it with you at the appointment. I will explain why I have recommended a specific medication, the dose, how long you might need to take it for, and any possible side-effects or interactions.
If you have a history of poor response to medication, or frequent side-effects, I may recommend pharmacogenetic testing.
With your consent, I will write to your GP detailing the findings of my assessment, your diagnosis and treatment plan. If there is specific information that you do not want me to share with your GP, you must inform me at the time of the appointment. It typically takes about a week from the appointment date, to the letter being sent to your GP.
If I recommend taking therapy as part of your treatment plan, I will suggest a suitable therapist. It typically takes about a week from the appointment date to the referral for this information to be provided.
I will need to review you regularly to ascertain your response to treatment, whether it be medication, talking therapy, or a combination of the two. How often I need to see you will depend on your condition, and the medication/treatment that I have prescribed.
You will need to check with your insurance company that you are authorised to see me before our initial consultation - insurance policies vary quite a lot.
You can find out more about the payment process on the Fees & Terms page.
Your consultations with me, as well as your medical records, are subject to medical confidentiality. Before I see you, you will need to complete a new patient registration form, where you can detail who you consent to your information being shared with, i.e. your GP, a family member, or a friend.
There are exceptions to this, which are guided by the General Medical Council. These exceptions involve situations where you may pose a serious risk/threat to yourself or others, or in the case of criminal investigations. For further information, please refer to the General Medical Council guidance.