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How to Prepare For a Psych Appointment

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Seeing a psych for the first time can be stressful, but going in prepared can help tremendously. Almost everyone is so nervous the days leading up to the appointment.

First, you’ve taken a major step in setting up that appointment, that’s a wonderful job knowing something is off and needs to be validated. Second, if the thought of attending that appointment is stressful, one way to help tackle this is knowing what to expect ahead of time.

This can be anything from coming in prepared with your full medical and psych history to being open to the fact that your first session may evoke certain emotions and know that this is totally OK.

So, if you’ve made your first appointment with a psych read below to find out what you can expect from your first visit in addition to tips to help you prepare and feel more at ease.

Come Prepared with Medical History

You will be asked about your medical and psych history – personal and family so be prepared and bring the following:

  • A complete list of medications and addition of psych meds
  • A list of any and all psych medications you might have tried in the past and how long you took them
  • Your medical concerns and any diagnoses
  • Family history of psych issues – if there is any

And, if you’ve seen a psych in the past, it’s helpful to bring a copy of those records, or have them sent from the previous office so the new psych will know what’s all going on with you.

Be Prepared for the Questions the Psych Doctor Will Ask You

  • So what brings you in today?
  • Tell me what you’re here for?
  • How’re you doing?
  • How can I help you?

Being asked an open ended question might make you nervous, especially  if you don’t know where to begin or how to start. Take heed in knowing that there’s really no wrong answer and a good psych will guide you through the interview.

If however you want to come prepared be sure to communicate what you have been experiencing and also feel comfortable to share the goals you would like to achieve from being in therapy.

Its OK to Experience Different Emotions

You may cry, feel awkward, or experience various kinds of emotions while discussing your concerns but know that it’s completely normal and fine. Being open and sharing your story takes a lot of strength and courage, which can feel emotionally exhausting, especially if you’ve suppressed your emotions for a long time. Any standard psych office will have a box of tissues so don’t hesitate to use them.. After all that’s what they’re there for.

Some of the questions asked about your history might bring up sensitive issues such as history of trauma or abuse. If you don’t feel comfortable or ready to share please know that it’s ok to let the psych know that it’s a sensitive topic and that you’re not ready to discuss the issue in further detail.

Work Towards a Plan for the Future

Since most psychs generally provide medication management, options for treatment will be discussed at the end of your session. A treatment plan may consist of the following things.

  • Medication options
  • Referrals for psychotherapy
  • Level of care needed to properly address your symptoms and options to find an appropriate treatment program that works with you
  • Any recommended labs or procedures such as baseline tests prior to starting medications or tests to rule out any possible medical conditions that may contribute to the symptoms.

If you have any questions about your diagnosis, treatment, or wish to share any concerns you have, be sure to communicate that at this point before the end of the session.

Might Not Be the Psych Doctor For You

Even though the psych leads the session you go in with the mentality that you’re meeting your psych to see if they are the right fit for you as well. Keep in mind that the best predictor of successful treatment depends on the quality of the therapeutic relationship.

So, if the connection does not evolve over time and you don’t feel your issues are being addressed, at that point you can search for another psych and get a second opinion.

What to Do After the First Session

Often after the first visit, things will pop into your mind that you wished you had asked. Take note of these things and be sure to write them down so you wont forget to mention them next visit.

If you left your visit feelling badly, know that building that therapeutic relationship may take more than one visit. So unless your appointment turns out horrible and unredeemable, see how things go for the next few visits.

The Bottom Line

Feeling anxious about seeing a psych is a common feeling, but don’t let those fears interfere with you getting the help and treatment that you deserve and need. Having a general understanding of what kinds of questions will be asked and topics that will be discussed can definitely alleviate some of your concerts and make you more comfortable at the first visit.

And remember, sometimes the first psych you see may not necessarily turn out to be the best fit. After All this is your care and treatment, you deserve a psych who you feel comfortable with, who’s willing to answer your questions, and who will collaborate with you to achieve your treatment goals.

Rissa View All

I have survived alot of stuff but I am a warrior. I have bpd. I'm an admin for Sam's group. And I started my own small business.

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