Psychiatrists in Palo Alto, CA

Photo of M Rameen Ghorieshi, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
M Rameen Ghorieshi
Psychiatrist, MD, MPH
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94306
I care for patients from the paradigm that mental and physical health are so strongly intertwined that one may not fully achieve either without striving for both. I treat both a vast range of psychiatric conditions and help those who wish to better understand themselves and their relationships. My areas of interest include anxiety, depression, whole body health, coping with medical illness, and addiction medicine. I will formulate a customized treatment plan, which may include psychotherapy, medications, and behavioral techniques, to best care for your condition and meet your needs.
I care for patients from the paradigm that mental and physical health are so strongly intertwined that one may not fully achieve either without striving for both. I treat both a vast range of psychiatric conditions and help those who wish to better understand themselves and their relationships. My areas of interest include anxiety, depression, whole body health, coping with medical illness, and addiction medicine. I will formulate a customized treatment plan, which may include psychotherapy, medications, and behavioral techniques, to best care for your condition and meet your needs.
(650) 204-3479 View (650) 204-3479
Photo of Riz Ahmad, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
Riz Ahmad
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94303  (Online Only)
We know 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. Now welcoming new patients!
We know 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. Now welcoming new patients!
(650) 628-8367 View (650) 628-8367
Photo of Dr Mark Chofla | Empathy Therapy, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
Dr Mark Chofla | Empathy Therapy
Psychiatrist, DO
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94301  (Online Only)
Dr. Mark Chofla is a board-certified psychiatrist and physician who completed his specialty residency training at the Los Angeles County + University of Southern California Medical Center. After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior from the University of California at Davis, Dr. Chofla earned his medical degree from Midwestern University: Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Dr. Mark Chofla is a board-certified psychiatrist and physician who completed his specialty residency training at the Los Angeles County + University of Southern California Medical Center. After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior from the University of California at Davis, Dr. Chofla earned his medical degree from Midwestern University: Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine.
(888) 832-9635 View (888) 832-9635
Photo of Silicon Valley Executive Psychiatry, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
Silicon Valley Executive Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, MD, MBA
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94301
A Stanford psychiatry professor and Director of Stanford’s Lab for Mental Health Innovation, Dr. Nina Vasan drew on her experience in management, entrepreneurship, and Stanford MBA to create Silicon Valley Executive Psychiatry, a first-of-its-kind boutique concierge clinic for executives, entrepreneurs, and elite performers in CA & NY. We optimize your mental fitness and provide a comprehensive, individualized program targeting your unique stressors. The exceptional care and nuanced understanding that only we provide is an investment in your health, leadership, success, wellbeing, and ability to flourish.
A Stanford psychiatry professor and Director of Stanford’s Lab for Mental Health Innovation, Dr. Nina Vasan drew on her experience in management, entrepreneurship, and Stanford MBA to create Silicon Valley Executive Psychiatry, a first-of-its-kind boutique concierge clinic for executives, entrepreneurs, and elite performers in CA & NY. We optimize your mental fitness and provide a comprehensive, individualized program targeting your unique stressors. The exceptional care and nuanced understanding that only we provide is an investment in your health, leadership, success, wellbeing, and ability to flourish.
View
Photo of Gloria M Kardong, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
Gloria M Kardong
Psychiatrist, MD, DLFAPA, DABPN
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94301
I am a psychiatrist providing psychotherapy and/or psychopharmacology, depending on the client's needs. I believe that it is important to offer individualized care based on the client's specific problems, concerns and preferences. My style is warm, collaborative and interactive. I can help with a practical, solution-focused approach for current problems. I also do exploratory therapy to address unresolved issues from the past that may be interfering with living your life as fully as possible. My clients also seek depth therapy to promote personal growth, insight and self-awareness. LICENSED 20 STATES--Virtual Therapy and Med mgmt.
I am a psychiatrist providing psychotherapy and/or psychopharmacology, depending on the client's needs. I believe that it is important to offer individualized care based on the client's specific problems, concerns and preferences. My style is warm, collaborative and interactive. I can help with a practical, solution-focused approach for current problems. I also do exploratory therapy to address unresolved issues from the past that may be interfering with living your life as fully as possible. My clients also seek depth therapy to promote personal growth, insight and self-awareness. LICENSED 20 STATES--Virtual Therapy and Med mgmt.
(650) 329-9465 View (650) 329-9465
Photo of Carmela Zaragoza, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Palo Alto, CA
Carmela Zaragoza
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94301  (Online Only)
We know 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. Now welcoming new patients!
We know 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. Now welcoming new patients!
(650) 547-8433 View (650) 547-8433
Photo of Tony Masri, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
Tony Masri
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94301  (Online Only)
Dr. Tony Masri is a board certified sleep medicine specialist. He has a decade of experience in diagnosing and managing sleep disorders from sleep apnea and insomnia to rare parasomnias and narcolepsy. His holistic therapeutic approach combines non-medication and medication treatment based on his patient’s treatment goals. He also provides in-home sleep studies allowing for a full sleep assessment without the discomfort of sleeping in a lab.
Dr. Tony Masri is a board certified sleep medicine specialist. He has a decade of experience in diagnosing and managing sleep disorders from sleep apnea and insomnia to rare parasomnias and narcolepsy. His holistic therapeutic approach combines non-medication and medication treatment based on his patient’s treatment goals. He also provides in-home sleep studies allowing for a full sleep assessment without the discomfort of sleeping in a lab.
(650) 600-0360 View (650) 600-0360
Photo of Amir Tarsha, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
Amir Tarsha
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94301  (Online Only)
I am a board-certified psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Trained in psychiatry and behavioral science at Northwestern and Stanford Universities, I am licensed in both Illinois and California. I have completed advanced training in psychotherapy at the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute.
I am a board-certified psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Trained in psychiatry and behavioral science at Northwestern and Stanford Universities, I am licensed in both Illinois and California. I have completed advanced training in psychotherapy at the Chicago Psychoanalytic Institute.
(650) 489-9511 View (650) 489-9511
Photo of Ahmed Khan, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
Ahmed Khan
Psychiatrist, MD, MPH
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94306
I am a Stanford and Emory trained child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist. Each patient of mine is a distinct individual with their own unique life experiences, strengths and challenges. Therefore, I create a specialized treatment plan in a collaborative and respectful manner, providing compassionate and evidence-based psychotherapy and/or pharmacologic management in a warm, supportive environment. I have particular expertise in ADHD, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and Adult ADHD. I am trained, among other therapeutic methods, in Family-Based Therapy for Anorexia Nervosa and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at Stanford University.
I am a Stanford and Emory trained child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist. Each patient of mine is a distinct individual with their own unique life experiences, strengths and challenges. Therefore, I create a specialized treatment plan in a collaborative and respectful manner, providing compassionate and evidence-based psychotherapy and/or pharmacologic management in a warm, supportive environment. I have particular expertise in ADHD, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and Adult ADHD. I am trained, among other therapeutic methods, in Family-Based Therapy for Anorexia Nervosa and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy at Stanford University.
(650) 714-7737 View (650) 714-7737
Photo of Mottsin Thomas, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
Mottsin Thomas
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94301  (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.
(650) 686-5441 View (650) 686-5441
Photo of Stephanie Chiao, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
Stephanie Chiao
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Dr. Stephanie Chiao is a board-certified psychiatrist and psychotherapist. She approaches clinical situations with a keen interest in the multitude of factors that impact emotional health, and works with her clients to analyze the emotional, developmental, biological, interpersonal, and cultural variables influencing their lives.
Dr. Stephanie Chiao is a board-certified psychiatrist and psychotherapist. She approaches clinical situations with a keen interest in the multitude of factors that impact emotional health, and works with her clients to analyze the emotional, developmental, biological, interpersonal, and cultural variables influencing their lives.
(650) 675-5829 View (650) 675-5829
Photo of Sarah Raike, Physician Assistant in Palo Alto, CA
Sarah Raike
Physician Assistant, PA-C
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94301  (Online Only)
We know 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. Now welcoming new patients!
We know 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. Now welcoming new patients!
(650) 649-6285 View (650) 649-6285
Photo of Thomas Sarti, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Palo Alto, CA
Thomas Sarti
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, MS, MSN, PMHNP-B
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94303  (Online Only)
My mission is to support you through life's twists and turns, especially when it comes to your mental health. Each person I encounter has a unique story, and my role is to be a compassionate guide, fostering a safe space for you to express your thoughts and emotions. I strive to create an environment where individuals feel heard and supported. It's not just about prescriptions; it's about understanding what makes you tick and finding the best way to support you.
My mission is to support you through life's twists and turns, especially when it comes to your mental health. Each person I encounter has a unique story, and my role is to be a compassionate guide, fostering a safe space for you to express your thoughts and emotions. I strive to create an environment where individuals feel heard and supported. It's not just about prescriptions; it's about understanding what makes you tick and finding the best way to support you.
(650) 747-6764 x1 View (650) 747-6764 x1
Photo of Yang Xu, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
Yang Xu
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Accepting New Patients. "Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful." I believe that while our patients face mental heath challenges, their own unique personalities and virtues also can help them overcome these difficulties and achieve personal growth through the recovery process. As a psychiatrist, my job is to utilize my knowledge, skills and clinical experience to guide and facilitate this process and make it faster and more fruitful. I am very grateful for the trust of my patient have put in me and the rewarding experience witness their recovery and personal growth.
Accepting New Patients. "Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful." I believe that while our patients face mental heath challenges, their own unique personalities and virtues also can help them overcome these difficulties and achieve personal growth through the recovery process. As a psychiatrist, my job is to utilize my knowledge, skills and clinical experience to guide and facilitate this process and make it faster and more fruitful. I am very grateful for the trust of my patient have put in me and the rewarding experience witness their recovery and personal growth.
(650) 727-1523 View (650) 727-1523
Photo of Uchenna Okoye, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
Uchenna Okoye
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94306  (Online Only)
We know 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. Now, welcoming new patients!
We know 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. Now, welcoming new patients!
(650) 649-6899 View (650) 649-6899
Photo of Jessica Bentzley, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
Jessica Bentzley
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94301  (Online Only)
Welcome! I am a Stanford-trained, board-certified adult psychiatrist licensed in California. I am currently accepting new patients. I see adults ages 18-60 with a broad range of conditions and concerns, and I have a special interest in serving women across the lifespan, including during pregnancy and postpartum. I am committed to understanding my patients and the unique factors impacting their mental health. I aim to thoughtfully create values-based, personalized treatment plans that may involve psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, and/or medications.
Welcome! I am a Stanford-trained, board-certified adult psychiatrist licensed in California. I am currently accepting new patients. I see adults ages 18-60 with a broad range of conditions and concerns, and I have a special interest in serving women across the lifespan, including during pregnancy and postpartum. I am committed to understanding my patients and the unique factors impacting their mental health. I aim to thoughtfully create values-based, personalized treatment plans that may involve psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, and/or medications.
(628) 265-8501 View (628) 265-8501
Photo of Nina Kapitanski, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
Nina Kapitanski
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94306
Hello and thank you for your interest in my practice. I have the privilege of caring for a diverse group of multifaceted adult patients and provide evidence based customized treatment based on each of their unique needs. My approach is integrative, varying from tradition cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic models to utilizing elements of a broader range of psychotherapeutic modalities, as well as implementing medication management, when medically indicated. Treating anxiety, ADHD, depression, OCD, and providing consultations in reproductive psychiatry is part of my daily practice.
Hello and thank you for your interest in my practice. I have the privilege of caring for a diverse group of multifaceted adult patients and provide evidence based customized treatment based on each of their unique needs. My approach is integrative, varying from tradition cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic models to utilizing elements of a broader range of psychotherapeutic modalities, as well as implementing medication management, when medically indicated. Treating anxiety, ADHD, depression, OCD, and providing consultations in reproductive psychiatry is part of my daily practice.
(650) 288-1365 View (650) 288-1365
Photo of Sandeep Denduluri, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
Sandeep Denduluri
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94301
Discover a holistic path to mental well-being and embrace a personalized approach to your journey. Whether you're seeking relief from anxiety, depression, or navigating life's complexities, I offer comprehensive and alternative approaches to therapy. Take the first step towards a balanced life, prioritize your needs and integrate essential elements like nutrition, rest, physical activity, nature, social connections, technology mindfulness, and mental tranquility.
Discover a holistic path to mental well-being and embrace a personalized approach to your journey. Whether you're seeking relief from anxiety, depression, or navigating life's complexities, I offer comprehensive and alternative approaches to therapy. Take the first step towards a balanced life, prioritize your needs and integrate essential elements like nutrition, rest, physical activity, nature, social connections, technology mindfulness, and mental tranquility.
(628) 265-8554 View (628) 265-8554
Photo of Greer Murphy, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
Greer Murphy
Psychiatrist, MD, PhD
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94306
I can help you with: Treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, compulsions, and trauma. Also, insomnia, chronic fatigue, inattention and lack of focus. Memory and other cognitive concerns, even when complicated by agitation. Overuse and dependence on habit-forming prescription and non-prescription substances. Workplace and family issues. Chronic pain and Long COVID mood, energy, and cognitive changes. Nonresponse to medication and psychotherapies given by other providers. I also have decades of experience treating severe mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and psychosis in hospital, outpatient, and residential settings.
I can help you with: Treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, compulsions, and trauma. Also, insomnia, chronic fatigue, inattention and lack of focus. Memory and other cognitive concerns, even when complicated by agitation. Overuse and dependence on habit-forming prescription and non-prescription substances. Workplace and family issues. Chronic pain and Long COVID mood, energy, and cognitive changes. Nonresponse to medication and psychotherapies given by other providers. I also have decades of experience treating severe mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and psychosis in hospital, outpatient, and residential settings.
(650) 629-0909 View (650) 629-0909
Photo of Menlo Park Integrative Psychiatry, Psychiatrist in Palo Alto, CA
Menlo Park Integrative Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, Jan Weber, MD
Verified Verified
Palo Alto, CA 94303  (Online Only)
Welcome to Menlo Park Integrative Psychiatry! As a Stanford trained psychiatrist with subspecialty in child and adolescent psychiatry and additional training in complementary medicine, I provide holistic mental health treatment for children, teenagers and adults with a particular focus on nutrition and homeopathy. I have more than 20 years of clinical experience, as well as a track record of excellent clinical outcomes.
Welcome to Menlo Park Integrative Psychiatry! As a Stanford trained psychiatrist with subspecialty in child and adolescent psychiatry and additional training in complementary medicine, I provide holistic mental health treatment for children, teenagers and adults with a particular focus on nutrition and homeopathy. I have more than 20 years of clinical experience, as well as a track record of excellent clinical outcomes.
(650) 275-6152 View (650) 275-6152

How does your Psychiatrist compare?

Number of Psychiatrists in Palo Alto, CA

100+

Average cost per session

$375

Psychiatrists in Palo Alto, CA who prioritize treating:

97% Anxiety
96% Depression
89% Medication Management
82% Obsessive-Compulsive (OCD)
78% ADHD
74% Trauma and PTSD
74% Bipolar Disorder

Average years in practice

13 Years

Top 3 insurances accepted

80% Aetna
80% Cigna and Evernorth
73% Anthem | Elevance

How Psychiatrists in Palo Alto, CA see their clients

58% In Person and Online
42% Online Only

Gender breakdown

54% Female
46% Male
FAQs - About Psychiatrists and Psychiatric Nurses

How can I find a psychiatrist in Palo Alto?

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.