Psychiatrists in Menlo Park, CA

Photo of Hari Nair, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Hari Nair
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Menlo Park, CA 94025
I strive to create a judgement free, welcoming environment and treat my patients in a holistic and culturally competent manner through the use of evidence-based therapies and medications. I use a comprehensive approach to understand the emotional, psychosocial and interpersonal spheres of my patients' lives. This allows me to identify the strengths, vulnerabilities and needs of my patients. I prioritize making my patients feel as comfortable as possible, often by engaging them in their own interests.
I strive to create a judgement free, welcoming environment and treat my patients in a holistic and culturally competent manner through the use of evidence-based therapies and medications. I use a comprehensive approach to understand the emotional, psychosocial and interpersonal spheres of my patients' lives. This allows me to identify the strengths, vulnerabilities and needs of my patients. I prioritize making my patients feel as comfortable as possible, often by engaging them in their own interests.
(650) 627-7523 View (650) 627-7523
Photo of Applied Clinical Neuroscience, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Applied Clinical Neuroscience
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Menlo Park, CA 94025
"Somethings's GOT to give. I can't take this any more! No one understands. My spouse? No way. The last doctor said "more meds" and spent as much time with the computer as he did with me! My teenager is sad and going no where fast. I think the younger one might have some kind of Asperger's, ADD,OCD,ODD,PSTD or some alphabet soup salad that I'm just supposed to deal with. The counselors out there are just too young to understand what I'm going through. Certainly life wasn't meant to be like this."
"Somethings's GOT to give. I can't take this any more! No one understands. My spouse? No way. The last doctor said "more meds" and spent as much time with the computer as he did with me! My teenager is sad and going no where fast. I think the younger one might have some kind of Asperger's, ADD,OCD,ODD,PSTD or some alphabet soup salad that I'm just supposed to deal with. The counselors out there are just too young to understand what I'm going through. Certainly life wasn't meant to be like this."
(650) 288-6479 View (650) 288-6479
Photo of Adam January Jarczewski, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Adam January Jarczewski
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Menlo Park, CA 94025  (Online Only)
I enjoy helping clients who struggle to function or experience inner pain, yet may not believe they have a mental illness. This includes those who inadvertently hurt loved ones. I'm drawn to assisting individuals with negative psychiatry experiences, or those urged to seek psychiatric help but remain skeptical. I also support clients on psychiatric medications, whether they wish to continue, adjust their treatment, or discontinue their medications. Most importantly, I value working with those eager to understand their suffering and committed to engaging in therapy.
I enjoy helping clients who struggle to function or experience inner pain, yet may not believe they have a mental illness. This includes those who inadvertently hurt loved ones. I'm drawn to assisting individuals with negative psychiatry experiences, or those urged to seek psychiatric help but remain skeptical. I also support clients on psychiatric medications, whether they wish to continue, adjust their treatment, or discontinue their medications. Most importantly, I value working with those eager to understand their suffering and committed to engaging in therapy.
(650) 629-7158 View (650) 629-7158
Photo of Leah Malhotra, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Leah Malhotra
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Waitlist for new clients
My mission is to provide state-of-the-art psychiatric care that combines a collaborative, warm approach with the most effective practices in psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. My focus is on helping relieve anxiety, mood disturbances, obsessions, insomnia and other distressing symptoms. Common therapy goals are to help with a difficult life transition, improve relationships, break maladaptive patterns or deepen personal understanding. Many of my clients are young adults adapting to life in/after college, raising a family, or juggling challenging careers. Compassionate, empowering care truly can help.
My mission is to provide state-of-the-art psychiatric care that combines a collaborative, warm approach with the most effective practices in psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. My focus is on helping relieve anxiety, mood disturbances, obsessions, insomnia and other distressing symptoms. Common therapy goals are to help with a difficult life transition, improve relationships, break maladaptive patterns or deepen personal understanding. Many of my clients are young adults adapting to life in/after college, raising a family, or juggling challenging careers. Compassionate, empowering care truly can help.
(650) 618-2803 View (650) 618-2803
Photo of Armando Leon MD | Courage Psychiatry, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Armando Leon MD | Courage Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Please visit my website at www.couragepsychiatry.org. Dr. Armando León is a licensed psychiatrist with experience in medication management and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. His clinical approach acknowledges the important roles that mindfulness and curiosity play in achieving and maintaining wellness. He sees early relationships as foundational to how we operate in the world and hopes to promote greater insight and capacity for change through this lens.
Please visit my website at www.couragepsychiatry.org. Dr. Armando León is a licensed psychiatrist with experience in medication management and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. His clinical approach acknowledges the important roles that mindfulness and curiosity play in achieving and maintaining wellness. He sees early relationships as foundational to how we operate in the world and hopes to promote greater insight and capacity for change through this lens.
(415) 799-5738 View (415) 799-5738
Photo of Sheenie Ambardar, MD, Concierge Psychiatry, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Sheenie Ambardar, MD, Concierge Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Menlo Park, CA 94025  (Online Only)
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.
(310) 878-4117 View (310) 878-4117
Photo of Cordelia Ross, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Cordelia Ross
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Menlo Park, CA 94025  (Online Only)
Dr. Cordelia Ross, MD is recognized by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology as both a general psychiatrist and a child and adolescent psychiatrist. She trained at Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital, both teaching hospitals at Harvard Medical School, and is currently a professor at the Stanford University Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
Dr. Cordelia Ross, MD is recognized by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology as both a general psychiatrist and a child and adolescent psychiatrist. She trained at Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital, both teaching hospitals at Harvard Medical School, and is currently a professor at the Stanford University Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.
View
Photo of Tiffany Hwang, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Tiffany Hwang
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
2 Endorsed
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Welcome! I'm a women's mental health psychiatrist. I provide medication management and therapy for women throughout all of life's stages and hormonal changes. Additionally, as a reproductive psychiatrist, I specialize in caring for women with depression and anxiety who are pregnant, planning for pregnancy, or managing the postpartum course. My specialty extends to depressive and anxious symptoms related to periods or undergoing fertility treatments.
Welcome! I'm a women's mental health psychiatrist. I provide medication management and therapy for women throughout all of life's stages and hormonal changes. Additionally, as a reproductive psychiatrist, I specialize in caring for women with depression and anxiety who are pregnant, planning for pregnancy, or managing the postpartum course. My specialty extends to depressive and anxious symptoms related to periods or undergoing fertility treatments.
(650) 399-9022 View (650) 399-9022
Photo of Michelle Kwok, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Michelle Kwok
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Menlo Park, CA 94025
As a board certified psychiatrist, I treat psychiatric conditions using the bio-psycho-social framework. Psychiatric illnesses may have biological causes, like thyroid problems, the effects of chemotherapy, strokes, or genetic predisposition. Psychiatric issues may also have psychological causes, such as the lack of coping skills, difficulty processing situations, or early life experiences. Finally, psychiatric disorders may have sociological explanations: overwhelming expectations of one's social setting, perhaps, or drastic changes in one's environment.
As a board certified psychiatrist, I treat psychiatric conditions using the bio-psycho-social framework. Psychiatric illnesses may have biological causes, like thyroid problems, the effects of chemotherapy, strokes, or genetic predisposition. Psychiatric issues may also have psychological causes, such as the lack of coping skills, difficulty processing situations, or early life experiences. Finally, psychiatric disorders may have sociological explanations: overwhelming expectations of one's social setting, perhaps, or drastic changes in one's environment.
(408) 831-3274 View (408) 831-3274
Photo of Sarah Zheng, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Sarah Zheng
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Menlo Park, CA 94025  (Online Only)
Currently Accepting New Patients! As a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist, I work with people of all ages and background. I believe that good care starts with listening to and understanding the patient's concerns and goals for treatment. I strive to work collaboratively with patients to develop a treatment plan that is evidence-based and individually tailored to help them reach their goals. I provide both medication management and psychotherapy services.
Currently Accepting New Patients! As a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist, I work with people of all ages and background. I believe that good care starts with listening to and understanding the patient's concerns and goals for treatment. I strive to work collaboratively with patients to develop a treatment plan that is evidence-based and individually tailored to help them reach their goals. I provide both medication management and psychotherapy services.
(650) 590-5730 View (650) 590-5730
Photo of Dr. Casey Lester, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Dr. Casey Lester
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Hello! I'm a Stanford and University of California trained child & adolescent & adult psychiatrist in a small, concierge-style practice. I work with a therapy dog who helps my patients to feel safe and comfortable. I have special interests in trauma-related disorders, OCD, anxiety, and ADHD. My style is compassionate, nonjudgmental, warm, patient-centered, and therapy-oriented. When prescribing medication I practice based on the latest scientific evidence, so that my patients have the highest chance of meeting their mental health goals without unnecessary side effects. I connect especially well with teens and young adults.
Hello! I'm a Stanford and University of California trained child & adolescent & adult psychiatrist in a small, concierge-style practice. I work with a therapy dog who helps my patients to feel safe and comfortable. I have special interests in trauma-related disorders, OCD, anxiety, and ADHD. My style is compassionate, nonjudgmental, warm, patient-centered, and therapy-oriented. When prescribing medication I practice based on the latest scientific evidence, so that my patients have the highest chance of meeting their mental health goals without unnecessary side effects. I connect especially well with teens and young adults.
(650) 899-7156 View (650) 899-7156
Photo of Stephen H Richmond, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Stephen H Richmond
Psychiatrist, MD, PsyD
Verified Verified
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Not accepting new clients
I treat the entire person, which includes both psychology and biochemistry, if needed. For both people struggling with addictions, and for those with other issues, the focus is on the difficulty with being fully present to one's life. My ideal client is someone motivated to look inside, and ready to open up to the richness and pitfalls of his or her internal world.
I treat the entire person, which includes both psychology and biochemistry, if needed. For both people struggling with addictions, and for those with other issues, the focus is on the difficulty with being fully present to one's life. My ideal client is someone motivated to look inside, and ready to open up to the richness and pitfalls of his or her internal world.
(650) 383-8934 View (650) 383-8934
Photo of Matthew May, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Matthew May
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Perhaps you are suffering from anxiety or depression, would like better relationships or healthier habits? If so, I have some excellent news for you. There are many new and powerful therapy methods that can lead to rapid and profound improvements, even cures, without requiring medication. If this sounds interesting to you, I would be honored to work with you, collaboratively and compassionately, to help you achieve your goals.
Perhaps you are suffering from anxiety or depression, would like better relationships or healthier habits? If so, I have some excellent news for you. There are many new and powerful therapy methods that can lead to rapid and profound improvements, even cures, without requiring medication. If this sounds interesting to you, I would be honored to work with you, collaboratively and compassionately, to help you achieve your goals.
(650) 209-7669 View (650) 209-7669
Photo of Alex Dimitriu, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Alex Dimitriu
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
3 Endorsed
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Over 10 years of proven expertise in performance psychiatry and sleep medicine. We take a holistic approach that allows us to fine tune psychological, biological, and lifestyle interventions to achieve peace, peak performance and longevity.
Over 10 years of proven expertise in performance psychiatry and sleep medicine. We take a holistic approach that allows us to fine tune psychological, biological, and lifestyle interventions to achieve peace, peak performance and longevity.
(650) 326-5888 View (650) 326-5888
Photo of Dr. Kevin Luo, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Dr. Kevin Luo
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Welcome! I specialize in working with children, teenagers, young adults, and working professionals who are navigating difficult situations at school, at home, at work, and with friends. I provide talk therapy and medication management.
Welcome! I specialize in working with children, teenagers, young adults, and working professionals who are navigating difficult situations at school, at home, at work, and with friends. I provide talk therapy and medication management.
(650) 761-7392 View (650) 761-7392
Heidemarie Ernst
Psychiatrist, MD, PhD
Verified Verified
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Welcome to my profile in Psychology Today. I am a Stanford-trained, board-certified psychiatrist who has provided mental health care to a variety of populations over the last 18 years. In my private practice, I see adults over 18 years old, and I have expertise with diagnoses, such as anxiety disorders, PTSD, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. When I first meet new patients, they are frequently unsure what kind of treatment they might benefit from. By providing a warm and collaborative environment, I help the patients understand their needs and identify treatment options, such a medications, therapy, or a combination of both. I strongly believe that ‘no patient is a diagnosis’ – instead, we are all a complex combination of genetic predisposition, upbringing, and other influences that make us the people we are.
Welcome to my profile in Psychology Today. I am a Stanford-trained, board-certified psychiatrist who has provided mental health care to a variety of populations over the last 18 years. In my private practice, I see adults over 18 years old, and I have expertise with diagnoses, such as anxiety disorders, PTSD, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. When I first meet new patients, they are frequently unsure what kind of treatment they might benefit from. By providing a warm and collaborative environment, I help the patients understand their needs and identify treatment options, such a medications, therapy, or a combination of both. I strongly believe that ‘no patient is a diagnosis’ – instead, we are all a complex combination of genetic predisposition, upbringing, and other influences that make us the people we are.
(650) 282-3962 View (650) 282-3962
Photo of Kathryn Kinasz, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Kathryn Kinasz
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Thank you for your interest in my practice. I am a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist. I specialize in the treatment of psychiatric illnesses that impact children and adolescents including but not limited to mood and anxiety disorders, ADHD, and eating disorders. I also see children struggling with behavioral issues at home or at school and adolescents exploring their gender identity. I see adults with similar disorders and have a unique interest in women’s mental health including women facing infertility, psychiatric issues in pregnancy and postpartum, and challenges of new motherhood.
Thank you for your interest in my practice. I am a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist. I specialize in the treatment of psychiatric illnesses that impact children and adolescents including but not limited to mood and anxiety disorders, ADHD, and eating disorders. I also see children struggling with behavioral issues at home or at school and adolescents exploring their gender identity. I see adults with similar disorders and have a unique interest in women’s mental health including women facing infertility, psychiatric issues in pregnancy and postpartum, and challenges of new motherhood.
(310) 935-0754 View (310) 935-0754
Photo of Barbara Anne Ballinger, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Barbara Anne Ballinger
Psychiatrist, M, D
Verified Verified
Menlo Park, CA 94025
The central concern of my work is mental suffering, it is universal, yet with unique roots for each of us. These are often confusing, even unknown. Harm may be inflicted upon our developing selves, and we may carry the pain outside of awareness. I seek to help with knowing, and with pain. Or we cannot figure out how to care for our particular bodies. They may have biological needs we cannot recognize, or again, carry hidden psychological wounds. I have trained also to help recognize and treat biological needs. I see mind and body as inextricably linked in the pursuit of health, peace, and meaning.
The central concern of my work is mental suffering, it is universal, yet with unique roots for each of us. These are often confusing, even unknown. Harm may be inflicted upon our developing selves, and we may carry the pain outside of awareness. I seek to help with knowing, and with pain. Or we cannot figure out how to care for our particular bodies. They may have biological needs we cannot recognize, or again, carry hidden psychological wounds. I have trained also to help recognize and treat biological needs. I see mind and body as inextricably linked in the pursuit of health, peace, and meaning.
(650) 681-0393 View (650) 681-0393
Photo of Beatrice Rabkin, Psychiatrist in Menlo Park, CA
Beatrice Rabkin
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Thank you for visiting my profile! I am a board-certified general psychiatrist, working with a variety of patients in my outpatient practice. I have office locations in San Francisco and Palo Alto. While I specialize in medication management, I use a multimodal approach with clients that draws upon psychotherapy, mindfulness work, Yoga psychology, and other integrative practices. For more info about my holistic approach to treatment, here's an informative podcast highlighting my work: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/holistic-psychiatry-dr-beatrice-rabkin-md/id1501515784?i=1000502625263 or https://youtu.be/wJe3t3ZzkNs
Thank you for visiting my profile! I am a board-certified general psychiatrist, working with a variety of patients in my outpatient practice. I have office locations in San Francisco and Palo Alto. While I specialize in medication management, I use a multimodal approach with clients that draws upon psychotherapy, mindfulness work, Yoga psychology, and other integrative practices. For more info about my holistic approach to treatment, here's an informative podcast highlighting my work: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/holistic-psychiatry-dr-beatrice-rabkin-md/id1501515784?i=1000502625263 or https://youtu.be/wJe3t3ZzkNs
(650) 955-0435 View (650) 955-0435
Photo of Lauren Varma, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Menlo Park, CA
Lauren Varma
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP
Verified Verified
2 Endorsed
Menlo Park, CA 94025
I specialize in treating a wide range of complex psychiatric conditions, with an emphasis on optimizing sleep, in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.
I specialize in treating a wide range of complex psychiatric conditions, with an emphasis on optimizing sleep, in order to achieve the best possible outcomes.
(650) 398-1289 View (650) 398-1289

See more therapy options for Menlo Park

How does your Psychiatrist compare?

Number of Psychiatrists in Menlo Park, CA

50+

Average cost per session

$392

Psychiatrists in Menlo Park, CA who prioritize treating:

98% Anxiety
88% Depression
83% Medication Management
81% ADHD
73% Obsessive-Compulsive (OCD)
73% Sleep or Insomnia
69% Stress

Average years in practice

16 Years

Top 3 insurances accepted

82% Aetna
73% Cigna and Evernorth
73% UnitedHealthcare UHC | UBH

How Psychiatrists in Menlo Park, CA see their clients

70% In Person and Online
30% Online Only

Gender breakdown

50% Female
50% Male

FAQs - About Psychiatrists and Psychiatric Nurses

How can I find a psychiatrist in Menlo Park?

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.