Psychiatrists in 90401

Photo of Kalyan Rao, Psychiatrist in 90401, CA
Kalyan Rao
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401
What motivates someone to see a psychiatrist? While some of us may need someone to listen and understand what it's like to be in our shoes, others may need a professional to help them tap into their highest potential. Or maybe they are convinced that their current medications are no longer working for them. Or, perhaps, they are currently on a complicated medication regimen that they wish to simplify. Whatever the reason may be that brings us together, you can rest assured that you will be in good hands. Moreover, I have a special interest in working with adult professionals who are struggling with substance use disorders.
What motivates someone to see a psychiatrist? While some of us may need someone to listen and understand what it's like to be in our shoes, others may need a professional to help them tap into their highest potential. Or maybe they are convinced that their current medications are no longer working for them. Or, perhaps, they are currently on a complicated medication regimen that they wish to simplify. Whatever the reason may be that brings us together, you can rest assured that you will be in good hands. Moreover, I have a special interest in working with adult professionals who are struggling with substance use disorders.
(424) 622-4413 View (424) 622-4413
Photo of Lana Benedek, Psychiatrist in 90401, CA
Lana Benedek
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Do you want to wake up each day feeling inspired and excited for the day ahead? Are you tired of old feelings and patterns getting in the way of achieving your goals? Are you ready to work hard and make changes but not sure where to start, I can help. I work with adolescents and adults who want to take risks and live meaningful lives and are open to looking at past patterns that aren’t working anymore. Many of my clients are going through life transitions and all want to have more peace and joy in their lives. I will help you figure out where you want to get to, what is holding you back and how to get there.
Do you want to wake up each day feeling inspired and excited for the day ahead? Are you tired of old feelings and patterns getting in the way of achieving your goals? Are you ready to work hard and make changes but not sure where to start, I can help. I work with adolescents and adults who want to take risks and live meaningful lives and are open to looking at past patterns that aren’t working anymore. Many of my clients are going through life transitions and all want to have more peace and joy in their lives. I will help you figure out where you want to get to, what is holding you back and how to get there.
(424) 344-4922 View (424) 344-4922
Photo of Charles Wuhl, Psychiatrist in 90401, CA
Charles Wuhl
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401
My approach is to build on a person's strengths and positive aspects of mental health. I believe in collaborating with my clients to determine their goals, both in terms of symptom relief and through self- understanding. I aim to achieve results quickly by giving them the tools they need to deal with life's challenges. In addition to individuals, my practice also provides counseling to couples and families through psychotherapy and medication management, as well as a combination of the two. I believe in a conservative and personalized approach to the use of medication.
My approach is to build on a person's strengths and positive aspects of mental health. I believe in collaborating with my clients to determine their goals, both in terms of symptom relief and through self- understanding. I aim to achieve results quickly by giving them the tools they need to deal with life's challenges. In addition to individuals, my practice also provides counseling to couples and families through psychotherapy and medication management, as well as a combination of the two. I believe in a conservative and personalized approach to the use of medication.
(424) 622-6907 View (424) 622-6907
Photo of James Whisenhunt, Psychiatrist in 90401, CA
James Whisenhunt
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Dr. Whisenhunt believes in the value of spirituality and the humanities in maximizing each patient's potential beyond what can be achieved through neuroscience and chemistry alone. Dr. Whisenhunt specializes in the treatment of adults with psychiatric and substance use disorders. He has worked in emergency, inpatient, residential, outpatient, intensive outpatient, detoxification, and correctional settings. He completed his residency training at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine and LAC+USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, serving as chief resident in his fourth year.
Dr. Whisenhunt believes in the value of spirituality and the humanities in maximizing each patient's potential beyond what can be achieved through neuroscience and chemistry alone. Dr. Whisenhunt specializes in the treatment of adults with psychiatric and substance use disorders. He has worked in emergency, inpatient, residential, outpatient, intensive outpatient, detoxification, and correctional settings. He completed his residency training at the University of Southern California's Keck School of Medicine and LAC+USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, serving as chief resident in his fourth year.
(424) 622-4544 View (424) 622-4544
Simon Ordonez
Physician Assistant, PA-C
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401  (Online Only)
Accepting New Patients - Pacific Mind Health treats mental health disorders using a variety of treatments including medications, Psychotherapy, Telemedicine, Spravato, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). We strive to help create a treatment plan which will help guide you on a path to wellness. Our goal is to provide thorough diagnostic evaluations which will inform treatment choices and increase the likelihood the treatment will be successful. Please use this link for a free informational TMS session www.pacificmindhealth.com/tmsinfo.html
Accepting New Patients - Pacific Mind Health treats mental health disorders using a variety of treatments including medications, Psychotherapy, Telemedicine, Spravato, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). We strive to help create a treatment plan which will help guide you on a path to wellness. Our goal is to provide thorough diagnostic evaluations which will inform treatment choices and increase the likelihood the treatment will be successful. Please use this link for a free informational TMS session www.pacificmindhealth.com/tmsinfo.html
(424) 369-7353 View (424) 369-7353
Photo of Steve Park, Physician Assistant in 90401, CA
Steve Park
Physician Assistant, PA-C
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Accepting New Patients - Steve Park, PA-C is a physician assistant at Pacific Mind Health. Steve grew up in Irvine and received his Bachelor of Science degree in gerontology at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA. Inspired to treat patients, Steve gained experience as an EMT and soon received his Master’s of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies at Chapman University. Today, he finds great pleasure in helping others improve their mental health and lifestyle.
Accepting New Patients - Steve Park, PA-C is a physician assistant at Pacific Mind Health. Steve grew up in Irvine and received his Bachelor of Science degree in gerontology at University of Southern California in Los Angeles, CA. Inspired to treat patients, Steve gained experience as an EMT and soon received his Master’s of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies at Chapman University. Today, he finds great pleasure in helping others improve their mental health and lifestyle.
(424) 390-7285 View (424) 390-7285
Photo of Eva Altobelli - Home-LA, Psychiatrist in 90401, CA
Eva Altobelli - Home-LA
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Santa Monica, CA 90401
I find that life is a challenge for most of us. The allure of self medication to deal with life's stressors is often a temptation. Just being human and living within our society creates obstacles to stress free living. We are complicated creatures and it has taken us many years of experiences and usually some trauma to become who we are now. I believe there is not one path to healing and each of us have the capacity to heal.
I find that life is a challenge for most of us. The allure of self medication to deal with life's stressors is often a temptation. Just being human and living within our society creates obstacles to stress free living. We are complicated creatures and it has taken us many years of experiences and usually some trauma to become who we are now. I believe there is not one path to healing and each of us have the capacity to heal.
(310) 596-4301 View (310) 596-4301
Photo of Luis Jaime Fitten, Psychiatrist in 90401, CA
Luis Jaime Fitten
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Luis works with individuals who are looking to gain insight into themselves and improve their quality of life. He seeks to understand each individual holistically, including their backgrounds and the strengths they already possess to provide an individualized approach. Luis believes that establishing a strong alliance with his clients is essential to getting the most out of therapy and creating lasting change. Through this alliance, he partners with his clients to explore and address thought and behavior patterns that serve as barriers to enjoying life fully.
Luis works with individuals who are looking to gain insight into themselves and improve their quality of life. He seeks to understand each individual holistically, including their backgrounds and the strengths they already possess to provide an individualized approach. Luis believes that establishing a strong alliance with his clients is essential to getting the most out of therapy and creating lasting change. Through this alliance, he partners with his clients to explore and address thought and behavior patterns that serve as barriers to enjoying life fully.
(424) 622-4651 View (424) 622-4651
Photo of Martina Nankivell, Physician Assistant in 90401, CA
Martina Nankivell
Physician Assistant, PA-C, MPAS
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401  (Online Only)
Accepting New Patients - Martina is a highly qualified physician assistant with an impressive academic and clinical background. She earned her Master of Medical Science degree from Nova Southeastern University and holds board certifications in both general medicine and psychiatry. Additionally, Martina possesses a Certificate of Added Qualifications in psychiatry, reflecting her commitment to excellence in patient care.
Accepting New Patients - Martina is a highly qualified physician assistant with an impressive academic and clinical background. She earned her Master of Medical Science degree from Nova Southeastern University and holds board certifications in both general medicine and psychiatry. Additionally, Martina possesses a Certificate of Added Qualifications in psychiatry, reflecting her commitment to excellence in patient care.
(424) 766-0961 View (424) 766-0961
Photo of Leah Silver, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in 90401, CA
Leah Silver
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNO, DNP
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Leah Silver is a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in California who started practicing in 2022. She earned an Undergraduate Degree in Nursing from the University of Arizona and a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree from the University of Washington. Leah believes it is a privilege to positively impact her patients and help improve their mental health. Her hope is to empower individuals, families, groups, and communities to achieve their health goals.
Leah Silver is a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in California who started practicing in 2022. She earned an Undergraduate Degree in Nursing from the University of Arizona and a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree from the University of Washington. Leah believes it is a privilege to positively impact her patients and help improve their mental health. Her hope is to empower individuals, families, groups, and communities to achieve their health goals.
(310) 730-1781 View (310) 730-1781
Photo of Dr. Anne Phan-Huy, Psychiatrist in 90401, CA
Dr. Anne Phan-Huy
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401  (Online Only)
Dr. Phan-Huy's philosophy of care is all about you. Your beliefs, your experiences, your goals. By partnering with Dr. Phan-Huy, you will be empowered with the tools necessary to achieve fulfilment. That’s because – with Board certification in psychiatry and specialty training from the University of Michigan – Dr. Phan-Huy is a beacon of clarity in the complex world of mental health.
Dr. Phan-Huy's philosophy of care is all about you. Your beliefs, your experiences, your goals. By partnering with Dr. Phan-Huy, you will be empowered with the tools necessary to achieve fulfilment. That’s because – with Board certification in psychiatry and specialty training from the University of Michigan – Dr. Phan-Huy is a beacon of clarity in the complex world of mental health.
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Photo of Kayse Budd, Psychiatrist in 90401, CA
Kayse Budd
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401  (Online Only)
Hello and welcome to my profile! I am a holistic psychiatrist who's also an artist, yoga instructor, & astrologer. I spent 12 years working with Andrew Weil MD's Integrative Medicine Program at the Univ of Arizona & Deepak Chopra/Chopra Center in Southern CA. I love helping people find purpose, live healthy + balanced lifestyles, & reach their potential. Mild depression, anxiety, insomnia, stress, path-finding, & burnout are my specialties. My practice is entirely online. Though conventionally trained at Duke University, Univ of Michigan Med School, & Univ of Arizona Psychiatry Residency, I practice in a unique & integrative way.
Hello and welcome to my profile! I am a holistic psychiatrist who's also an artist, yoga instructor, & astrologer. I spent 12 years working with Andrew Weil MD's Integrative Medicine Program at the Univ of Arizona & Deepak Chopra/Chopra Center in Southern CA. I love helping people find purpose, live healthy + balanced lifestyles, & reach their potential. Mild depression, anxiety, insomnia, stress, path-finding, & burnout are my specialties. My practice is entirely online. Though conventionally trained at Duke University, Univ of Michigan Med School, & Univ of Arizona Psychiatry Residency, I practice in a unique & integrative way.
(424) 353-2148 View (424) 353-2148
Photo of Dan Begel, Psychiatrist in 90401, CA
Dan Begel
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Dr. Begel received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Yale University, where he also completed his residency in psychiatry. At Yale he studied the conceptual foundations of psychiatry and the core principles of diverse treatment methods. Today he treats people for a wide variety of issues, from the seemingly mild to the severe. He is up to date on psychiatric research and treatment, and utilizes the full range of methods in his work, including genetic analysis, psychotherapy, and medication management.
Dr. Begel received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Yale University, where he also completed his residency in psychiatry. At Yale he studied the conceptual foundations of psychiatry and the core principles of diverse treatment methods. Today he treats people for a wide variety of issues, from the seemingly mild to the severe. He is up to date on psychiatric research and treatment, and utilizes the full range of methods in his work, including genetic analysis, psychotherapy, and medication management.
(424) 610-8627 View (424) 610-8627
Photo of Amir E Ettekal, Psychiatrist in 90401, CA
Amir E Ettekal
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
2 Endorsed
Santa Monica, CA 90401
*Offices in Hermosa Beach & Santa Monica.* I am a psychiatrist specialized in understanding both the biological and psychological factors of human emotions. I take the time to understand what my patients need and through a collaborative approach, we create a personalized treatment plan based on your unique needs. Through my work in clinical trials, I stay on the forefront of medication innovation and safety, giving me first-hand experience in the most effective, and safe treatments. Through my training in psychotherapy I continue to address the emotional and psychological aspects of that person.
*Offices in Hermosa Beach & Santa Monica.* I am a psychiatrist specialized in understanding both the biological and psychological factors of human emotions. I take the time to understand what my patients need and through a collaborative approach, we create a personalized treatment plan based on your unique needs. Through my work in clinical trials, I stay on the forefront of medication innovation and safety, giving me first-hand experience in the most effective, and safe treatments. Through my training in psychotherapy I continue to address the emotional and psychological aspects of that person.
(310) 341-2905 View (310) 341-2905
Photo of Bonmente, Psychiatrist in 90401, CA
Bonmente
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401  (Online Only)
ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS-Bonmente knows asking for help is not an easy thing to do. We also know that finding a provider you trust to help you navigate mental health care can be a challenge. That's why we're here and we're doing things differently. As a patient at Bonmente, you enjoy comprehensive treatments customized specifically for your unique circumstances, convenient telemedicine appointments that allow you to see your provider from the comfort of home, an online patient portal that lets you communicate directly with your provider, and a highly trained support team that makes becoming a patient as simple as it should be.
ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS-Bonmente knows asking for help is not an easy thing to do. We also know that finding a provider you trust to help you navigate mental health care can be a challenge. That's why we're here and we're doing things differently. As a patient at Bonmente, you enjoy comprehensive treatments customized specifically for your unique circumstances, convenient telemedicine appointments that allow you to see your provider from the comfort of home, an online patient portal that lets you communicate directly with your provider, and a highly trained support team that makes becoming a patient as simple as it should be.
(424) 371-7442 View (424) 371-7442
Photo of Gol Ara, Psychiatrist in 90401, CA
Gol Ara
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Accepting New Patients - Dr. Ara completed her fellowship training in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (CLP) at UCLA. CLP is a subspecialty of psychiatry that focuses on treating mental health issues in patients with complex medical conditions. Before her fellowship training, she completed her psychiatry residency at the University of New Mexico and earned her M.D. degree from Tehran University.
Accepting New Patients - Dr. Ara completed her fellowship training in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (CLP) at UCLA. CLP is a subspecialty of psychiatry that focuses on treating mental health issues in patients with complex medical conditions. Before her fellowship training, she completed her psychiatry residency at the University of New Mexico and earned her M.D. degree from Tehran University.
(818) 740-6729 View (818) 740-6729
Photo of Dr. Ronil Shah, Psychiatrist in 90401, CA
Dr. Ronil Shah
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Dr. Shah is welcoming new patients for video appointments. As a Board-certified M.D. psychiatrist, he specializes in assessing and treating anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, PTSD and other psychiatric issues. A holistic provider, he combines non-pharmacologic approaches - including psychodynamic psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy - in addition to medication. He utilizes such therapeutic modalities in medication management appointments as well as dedicated therapy sessions. Consequently, patients benefit from well-integrated treatment that is both systematic and thorough.
Dr. Shah is welcoming new patients for video appointments. As a Board-certified M.D. psychiatrist, he specializes in assessing and treating anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, PTSD and other psychiatric issues. A holistic provider, he combines non-pharmacologic approaches - including psychodynamic psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy - in addition to medication. He utilizes such therapeutic modalities in medication management appointments as well as dedicated therapy sessions. Consequently, patients benefit from well-integrated treatment that is both systematic and thorough.
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Photo of Pavel Ksendz, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in 90401, CA
Pavel Ksendz
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401
I am a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) specialized in treating mood, anxiety, cognitive, trauma-related, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. I am a strong proponent of the philosophy that health is multifactorial, made up of physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual facets. I value taking a collaborative approach with clients to create a thorough, individualized treatment plan that best meets their specific needs and goals. I have a long-held passion for mental healthcare and have worked with individuals of all ages in a variety of settings within psychiatry.
I am a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) specialized in treating mood, anxiety, cognitive, trauma-related, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. I am a strong proponent of the philosophy that health is multifactorial, made up of physical, psychological, emotional, social and spiritual facets. I value taking a collaborative approach with clients to create a thorough, individualized treatment plan that best meets their specific needs and goals. I have a long-held passion for mental healthcare and have worked with individuals of all ages in a variety of settings within psychiatry.
(805) 900-4030 View (805) 900-4030
Photo of Brainpower Wellness Institute, Psychiatrist in 90401, CA
Brainpower Wellness Institute
Psychiatrist
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Brainpower Wellness Institute is a leading center for children and adolescent psychiatry. We provide comprehensive and compassionate care to children and adolescents ages 5 through 18. Our team of experienced and board-certified psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners specializes in diagnosing and treating a wide range of mental health disorders, including anxiety disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and tic disorders.
Brainpower Wellness Institute is a leading center for children and adolescent psychiatry. We provide comprehensive and compassionate care to children and adolescents ages 5 through 18. Our team of experienced and board-certified psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners specializes in diagnosing and treating a wide range of mental health disorders, including anxiety disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and tic disorders.
(805) 552-5878 View (805) 552-5878
Photo of The Happiness Psychiatrist | Sheenie Ambardar MD, Psychiatrist in 90401, CA
The Happiness Psychiatrist | Sheenie Ambardar MD
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Do you feel like you're trudging through life, weighed down by a constant sense of sadness & worry? Perhaps the joy you once knew has faded, replaced by a persistent feeling of being stuck. You're not alone. Millions of adults struggle with Depression, Anxiety, ADHD, and an overwhelming sense of being trapped in a cycle of negativity. I understand the profound impact these conditions can have on your daily life. The relentless drain of energy, the crippling anxieties, & the sense of hopelessness can make even the simplest tasks feel insurmountable. You may yearn for the vibrant life you once had, but the path forward seems unclear.
Do you feel like you're trudging through life, weighed down by a constant sense of sadness & worry? Perhaps the joy you once knew has faded, replaced by a persistent feeling of being stuck. You're not alone. Millions of adults struggle with Depression, Anxiety, ADHD, and an overwhelming sense of being trapped in a cycle of negativity. I understand the profound impact these conditions can have on your daily life. The relentless drain of energy, the crippling anxieties, & the sense of hopelessness can make even the simplest tasks feel insurmountable. You may yearn for the vibrant life you once had, but the path forward seems unclear.
(424) 581-0623 View (424) 581-0623

How does your Psychiatrist compare?

Number of Psychiatrists in 90401

50+

Average cost per session

$390

Psychiatrists in 90401 who prioritize treating:

100% Depression
100% Anxiety
92% Medication Management
90% Obsessive-Compulsive (OCD)
86% Trauma and PTSD
84% Bipolar Disorder
82% ADHD

Average years in practice

10 Years

Top 3 insurances accepted

97% Aetna
88% Optum
79% Blue Shield

How Psychiatrists in 90401 see their clients

72% In Person and Online
28% Online Only

Gender breakdown

50% Female
50% Male
FAQs - About Psychiatrists and Psychiatric Nurses

How can I find a psychiatrist in 90401?

The Psychology Today Directory enables you to search specifically for psychiatrists, using the drop down provider menu in the navigation bar, by city or zip code, or by the name of the psychiatrist. Search results provide detailed profiles of professionals, including their treatment approach and areas of expertise. In addition, listings provide important information about each psychiatrist’s credentials, fees, payment options, and insurance affiliations. Directory users can select psychiatrists who meet an array of personally-desired criteria, such as familiarity with a specific community or condition.

What is the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist?

Psychiatrists are medical specialists who focus on understanding, diagnosing, and treating diseases of the brain and disorders of the mind and behavior. As physicians, psychiatrists are trained to recognize the often-subtle biological causes of mental disorders and to monitor the effects of mental disturbances on physical conditions, such as heart disease. Psychologists are especially attuned to the influence of early experience on development and behavior, emotional and cognitive processes, the nature of personality, and social functioning. They are also trained to deploy an array of psychological tests—IQ tests, personality tests, behavioral assessments—to gauge a person’s functioning.

What is a psychiatric nurse practitioner?

A psychiatric nurse practitioner, also known as a mental health nurse practitioner, is a registered nurse who completes advanced training in psychiatric care, earning either a master’s or doctoral degree in psychiatric nursing, and in the U.S., passes a national certification exam. Like psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners are trained to assess, diagnose, and treat mental health conditions. In some locales, psychiatric nurse practitioners can offer the full range of psychiatric care, including prescribing and managing medication. In other places, they must work in collaboration with a physician.

Is everyone in the Psychology Today Therapy Directory a licensed psychiatrist?

The Psychology Today directory lists providers who offer legitimate mental health services to the public, including psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and counselors. All psychiatrists listed in the directory have a valid license issued by the state(s) in which they practice and are certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Providers whose license or primary credential has been verified by Psychology Today are signified by a “Verified” symbol. Some individuals or organizations provide services for which their state or country does not offer licenses, such as pastoral counseling. They may be selectively included without the “Verified” seal.

Can a psychiatrist prescribe medication?

Psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors who are trained to recognize the many ways body processes affect the functioning of the brain and mind. As physicians, they can prescribe medication. Patients who are prescribed medications will typically need to continue to see a psychiatrist so that the effects of the medication can be monitored. For many psychiatric conditions, including common disorders such as anxiety and depression, the preferred treatment is combination therapy—medication accompanied by psychotherapy.

Do psychiatrists offer therapy?

Psychiatrists are generally trained in a number of treatment modalities, including psychotherapy, pharmacotherapy, and, increasingly, somatic therapies. Typically, psychiatrists make a diagnosis and determine a course of treatment based on chemical or biological factors, using lab tests, brain scans and physical and psychological evaluations. While psychotherapy may be used in the first session to aid in diagnosis, it is not typically utilized in subsequent visits. In fact, after the introductory session, most sessions with a psychiatrist may only be 15-20 minutes in length and are largely focused on medication management. Many psychiatrists who do not offer psychotherapy work collaboratively with psychologists and other mental health clinicians and can refer clients seeking talk therapy to those providers.

How do I know if I need a psychiatrist or a therapist?

It is not always easy to know which type of mental health practitioner to choose. Many people are unaware of the root of their mental or behavioral problem. One way many people learn which type of care is best for them is by seeing their primary care provider first. Depending on the nature and severity of the symptoms, the physician may review their medical history or perform medical tests to determine whether biological factors are involved before making a referral. It is not necessary for a person to know precisely what type of care they need in order to seek help. Many psychiatrists and psychologists refer clients to each other depending on client needs.

Do I need a referral to see a psychiatrist?

A referral to a psychiatrist is often not required. However, seeing your primary care physician first can be helpful and actually prove to be a shortcut to getting what you need. Your PCP may have a clear idea whether psychiatric help is needed and/or which kind of mental health care would be most beneficial and refer you to the right type of practitioner. For that reason alone, some psychiatrists require a referral. Further, many insurance plans require a referral from a PCP if they cover all of part of the cost of seeing a specialist; if, however, you are paying out of pocket, you may not need a referral. In any case, a referral may speed the process of securing an appointment with a psychiatrist, especially in areas where there is a shortage of mental health specialists and new patients face long waits for appointments.