Your first appointment with a Psychiatrist, are you prepared?

Reflecting on my first appointment, I was clearly unprepared and this article would have come in handy.  Bringing someone would have helped immensely, and when the pdoc asked if there were any questions, it would have prevented me from sitting there looking stunned. 

This article was written by: Natasha Tracy on

Recently, someone wrote me and asked how to best handle a first psychiatric appointment. This is a good question because, essentially, people are walking into the vast unknown. If you’ve never seen a psychiatrist before, how could you possibly know what to expect? And, the kicker of that is, the doctor will be asking you why you’re there. So you’re supposed to know what to say when he says that. So how do you handle your first psychiatric appointment?

Write Down What Concerns You Before Your Psychiatric Appointment

Many people get in front of a psychiatrist a freeze, completely forgetting all the issues that brought them there in the first place. This is extremely common. So, before you head off for your first psychiatric appointment write down all your concerns. Everything that has been odd and everything that you think might be odd should go down on the list, with examples.

For example, “I find I obsessively count things. I can’t leave a room without counting all of the ceiling tiles.”

It doesn’t matter what your concerns are, believe me, the psychiatrist has heard them all before.

Bring a Loved One to Your First Psychiatric Appointment

It can be really difficult to sit in front of a stranger and pour out your heart and admit to things you’d likely prefer to forget. But you have to, so bring a loved one to your first psychiatric appointment to make it easier. This person will be on your side and be able to fill in any blanks you might forget. Plus, this person can offer a perspective on what symptoms he or she has personally seen and that can be very helpful for a doctor. (Your loved one can also write down concerns before the appointment too. They may freeze under the stress of being there as well.)

Be Open and Honest In All Psychiatric Appointments

Honestly, it’s natural to want to hide stuff, even from a psychiatrist, but he can’t help you if you don’t give him the full picture so it’s critical to be honest with your psychiatrist. If you’re experiencing sexual dysfunction – say so. If you’re raging in out of character ways – say so. If you just bought five, $5,000 handbags that you can’t afford – say so. All of this is important stuff even if you’d prefer it not be.

Also try to answer the psychiatrist’s questions with as much honesty as possible. Don’t try to shape your answers into a diagnosis, just be honest. Really, you’ll be a more accurate diagnosis that way. You don’t’ know what is important so don’t try to do your psychiatrist’s job for him.

Write Down Everything the Doctor Says in Your First Psychiatric Appointment

Chances are there will be a lot of information flying your way in your first psychiatric appointment so write it down for reference later. This can be the job of your loved one.

Remainder of this article @



3 thoughts on “Your first appointment with a Psychiatrist, are you prepared?

  1. Just Plain Ol' Vic says:

    Reblogged this on Just Plain Ol' Vic and commented:

    Great article. I actually kept a journal leading up to my first appointment with my therapist, so that way my thoughts would be organized and I would miss less. Plus I also took notes about what we discussed and points to ponder.


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