Psychiatrists in Ames, IA

Photo of Nick Stull, ARNP, PMHNP, -BC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Nick Stull
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, ARNP, PMHNP, -BC
Verified Verified
Ames, IA 50014
My role as a Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner is to work with adults and teens in the diagnosis and medication treatment to manage mental health symptoms. I work with patients who are diagnosed with Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, ADHD, etc. I have worked in mental health in various capacities since 2003, including as a mental health outreach worker and an inpatient psychiatric nurse.
My role as a Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner is to work with adults and teens in the diagnosis and medication treatment to manage mental health symptoms. I work with patients who are diagnosed with Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, ADHD, etc. I have worked in mental health in various capacities since 2003, including as a mental health outreach worker and an inpatient psychiatric nurse.
(515) 297-7309 View (515) 297-7309
Photo of Nick Stull - Depression Treatment (TMS / Esketamine treatment) , FPMNP, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Depression Treatment (TMS / Esketamine treatment)
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, FPMNP
Verified Verified
Ames, IA 50010
Is depression still controlling your life? If you have tried SSRIs and SSNIs but continue to struggle with depression symptoms, adding a course of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) may help. TMS is FDA cleared for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder, Smoking Sensation and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Esketamine Nasal Spray is also a proven treatment option for depression – especially Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) and Major Depressive Disorder with suicidal ideation (MDSI). Central Iowa Psychological Services is a certified Spravato® treatment center. Contact us today to book a consultation.
Is depression still controlling your life? If you have tried SSRIs and SSNIs but continue to struggle with depression symptoms, adding a course of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) may help. TMS is FDA cleared for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder, Smoking Sensation and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Esketamine Nasal Spray is also a proven treatment option for depression – especially Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) and Major Depressive Disorder with suicidal ideation (MDSI). Central Iowa Psychological Services is a certified Spravato® treatment center. Contact us today to book a consultation.
(515) 523-6619 View (515) 523-6619
Photo of Natalie Christensen, ARNP, FNP-C, PMH-C, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Natalie Christensen
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, ARNP, FNP-C, PMH-C
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Ames, IA 50010  (Online Only)
I am a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner who has been practicing in the family practice setting since 2016 providing chronic disease management, including mental health care. I developed a passion for mental health, specifically the perinatal population. I have an understanding of how chronic health conditions, including mental health, can affect all aspects of our lives and be interconnected. I provide medication management services via telehealth to women 18+ in the state of Iowa. I offer treatment for anxiety, depression, ADHD, and some sleep disorders.
I am a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner who has been practicing in the family practice setting since 2016 providing chronic disease management, including mental health care. I developed a passion for mental health, specifically the perinatal population. I have an understanding of how chronic health conditions, including mental health, can affect all aspects of our lives and be interconnected. I provide medication management services via telehealth to women 18+ in the state of Iowa. I offer treatment for anxiety, depression, ADHD, and some sleep disorders.
(515) 717-7823 View (515) 717-7823
Emily Black
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, ARNP, PMHNP, BC
Verified Verified
Ames, IA 50010
I started my career in healthcare providing respite, residential, and skilled community living care to children and young adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. During this time, I fell in love with the profession of nursing and completed my BSN in 2018 at Mercy College of Health and Sciences. I began my nursing career in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and later transitioned to working at a pediatric outpatient clinic. I felt most passionate about working with children and young adults seeking treatment for mental health and chose to pursue my Master of Sciences in Nursing at Briar Cliff University.
I started my career in healthcare providing respite, residential, and skilled community living care to children and young adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. During this time, I fell in love with the profession of nursing and completed my BSN in 2018 at Mercy College of Health and Sciences. I began my nursing career in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and later transitioned to working at a pediatric outpatient clinic. I felt most passionate about working with children and young adults seeking treatment for mental health and chose to pursue my Master of Sciences in Nursing at Briar Cliff University.
(515) 516-6796 View (515) 516-6796
Photo of Michelle Swan, ARNP, PMHNP, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Michelle Swan
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, ARNP, PMHNP
Verified Verified
Ames, IA 50010
Taking that first step of asking for help can be difficult, but I am here to provide support without judgment. My office is a safe space where you can be yourself — without judgement. I prioritize collaborating with you and, where appropriate, your family to create a person-centered approach to mental healthcare. As your medication prescriber, I will work with you to determine what mental health medications may help alleviate your symptoms and allow you to work towards your goals. You will have a voice and be an active participant in your mental health treatment.
Taking that first step of asking for help can be difficult, but I am here to provide support without judgment. My office is a safe space where you can be yourself — without judgement. I prioritize collaborating with you and, where appropriate, your family to create a person-centered approach to mental healthcare. As your medication prescriber, I will work with you to determine what mental health medications may help alleviate your symptoms and allow you to work towards your goals. You will have a voice and be an active participant in your mental health treatment.
(515) 827-2416 View (515) 827-2416
Photo of Walnut Creek Psychiatry - Walnut Creek Psychiatry, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Walnut Creek Psychiatry
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Verified Verified
Ames, IA 50010
Walnut Creek Psychiatry is deeply committed to providing individuals with exceptional psychiatric care. We specialize in your mental well-being by relying on our expertise to provide the highest quality of psychiatric care with an emphasis on individual uniqueness. We treat ages 4 through older adults for illnesses such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, behavioral issues, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and others. We provide a safe environment, empathetic listening skills, and diverse services to meet the individual needs of our clients. Medical and therapy services are provided in offices or through telehealth across Iowa.
Walnut Creek Psychiatry is deeply committed to providing individuals with exceptional psychiatric care. We specialize in your mental well-being by relying on our expertise to provide the highest quality of psychiatric care with an emphasis on individual uniqueness. We treat ages 4 through older adults for illnesses such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, behavioral issues, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and others. We provide a safe environment, empathetic listening skills, and diverse services to meet the individual needs of our clients. Medical and therapy services are provided in offices or through telehealth across Iowa.
(515) 368-7504 View (515) 368-7504
Photo of Paige Thacker, APRN, PMH-NP, BC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Paige Thacker
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, APRN, PMH-NP, BC
Verified Verified
Ames, IA 50010  (Online Only)
There is nothing worse than hearing that alarm clock day in and out, only to wake up feeling like you didn’t sleep at all. All the thoughts begin to flood in, your “to-do’s”, this or that meeting or appointment. You haven’t even made it out the door before feeling completely overwhelmed, defeated, or maybe even hopeless. Depressed, anxious, moody, or irritable may be words that describe how you’re feeling; perhaps your loved ones have said similar things. I have helped countless others like yourself, and I am confident that together we can get you feeling better. I treat a wide range of mental health disorders adolescents and adults
There is nothing worse than hearing that alarm clock day in and out, only to wake up feeling like you didn’t sleep at all. All the thoughts begin to flood in, your “to-do’s”, this or that meeting or appointment. You haven’t even made it out the door before feeling completely overwhelmed, defeated, or maybe even hopeless. Depressed, anxious, moody, or irritable may be words that describe how you’re feeling; perhaps your loved ones have said similar things. I have helped countless others like yourself, and I am confident that together we can get you feeling better. I treat a wide range of mental health disorders adolescents and adults
(515) 585-3954 View (515) 585-3954
Photo of Erica Sloan, DNP, ARNP, CPNP-PC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Erica Sloan
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, DNP, ARNP, CPNP-PC
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Ames, IA 50010
The decision to seek evaluation and medication support for your child is complex and often emotional. I desire to help families understand all options in a supportive, caring environment where both children and their caregivers feel comfortable in asking questions and sharing concerns. In planning for your child's support, I understand that there are many factors to consider, including family dynamics, school performance, peer relationships, behaviors, nutrition, sleep, and overall wellness. I believe collaborating with families to create a well considered plan is imperative for successful outcomes.
The decision to seek evaluation and medication support for your child is complex and often emotional. I desire to help families understand all options in a supportive, caring environment where both children and their caregivers feel comfortable in asking questions and sharing concerns. In planning for your child's support, I understand that there are many factors to consider, including family dynamics, school performance, peer relationships, behaviors, nutrition, sleep, and overall wellness. I believe collaborating with families to create a well considered plan is imperative for successful outcomes.
(515) 824-0953 View (515) 824-0953
Photo of Veronica Holloway - Veronica Holloway , MSN, ARNP, PMHNPBC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Veronica Holloway
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, MSN, ARNP, PMHNPBC
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Ames, IA 50010  (Online Only)
Accepting new patients! Taking the first steps towards improving your mental health can be intimidating. I sincerely want to help you in the journey to develop hope for the future, with renewed energy, strength and passion for life. I will be there helping and guiding you, to optimize your healing and health, with evidence based recommendations. Let's review your treatment goals and an action plan on how to achieve this. Please call to schedule your appointment 515-207-0110.
Accepting new patients! Taking the first steps towards improving your mental health can be intimidating. I sincerely want to help you in the journey to develop hope for the future, with renewed energy, strength and passion for life. I will be there helping and guiding you, to optimize your healing and health, with evidence based recommendations. Let's review your treatment goals and an action plan on how to achieve this. Please call to schedule your appointment 515-207-0110.
(319) 528-5111 View (319) 528-5111
Photo of Elizabeth Brake, PMHNPBC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Elizabeth Brake
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNPBC
Verified Verified
Ames, IA 50010
Accepting NEW Patients! We can usually get new patients in within a WEEK! We specialize in high quality telemedicine, personalized ADHD treatment, treatment for anxiety, PTSD, depression, OCD, and some substance abuse! We accept most insurances and have discount self pay options. We offer comprehensive assessments and customized treatment plans, we work hard to improve your quality of life.
Accepting NEW Patients! We can usually get new patients in within a WEEK! We specialize in high quality telemedicine, personalized ADHD treatment, treatment for anxiety, PTSD, depression, OCD, and some substance abuse! We accept most insurances and have discount self pay options. We offer comprehensive assessments and customized treatment plans, we work hard to improve your quality of life.
(712) 430-1810 View (712) 430-1810
Photo of Brittni Reifschneider, ARNP, FNP-C, PMH-C, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Brittni Reifschneider
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, ARNP, FNP-C, PMH-C
Verified Verified
2 Endorsed
Ames, IA 50011
I have been working as a Nurse Practitioner for several years in a variety of fields including primary care, urgent care, mental health, and women's health. I enjoy connecting with patients and helping them through the many phases of their life that bring stressors and challenges. I work along side our therapists at Cascade to treat anxiety, depression, ADHD, and perinatal (pre and post-partum) mental health in adults over age 18.
I have been working as a Nurse Practitioner for several years in a variety of fields including primary care, urgent care, mental health, and women's health. I enjoy connecting with patients and helping them through the many phases of their life that bring stressors and challenges. I work along side our therapists at Cascade to treat anxiety, depression, ADHD, and perinatal (pre and post-partum) mental health in adults over age 18.
(515) 454-2064 View (515) 454-2064
Photo of Charlotte Toms, DNP, APRN, PMHNP, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Charlotte Toms
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, DNP, APRN, PMHNP
Verified Verified
2 Endorsed
Ames, IA 50010
Your strength has led you here in this moment to take the next step in embracing a new path, a different future. I’m here to help guide you - through psychiatric evaluation/diagnosis, medication management, or therapy. You don't need to keep self-medicating with technology, social media, food, and alcohol to feel happy, dull your emotional pain or shame, or escape your feelings. Wake up feeling rested, worthy, and motivated. Reconnect with others and find joy in the simple things again. Experience peace in your life by making healthier choices and building healthier relationships with yourself and others.
Your strength has led you here in this moment to take the next step in embracing a new path, a different future. I’m here to help guide you - through psychiatric evaluation/diagnosis, medication management, or therapy. You don't need to keep self-medicating with technology, social media, food, and alcohol to feel happy, dull your emotional pain or shame, or escape your feelings. Wake up feeling rested, worthy, and motivated. Reconnect with others and find joy in the simple things again. Experience peace in your life by making healthier choices and building healthier relationships with yourself and others.
(515) 454-5406 View (515) 454-5406
Photo of Tomeka Hill, PMHNP, DNP, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Tomeka Hill
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP, DNP
Verified Verified
Ames, IA 50012  (Online Only)
My focus areas for mental health treatment include psychotherapeutic treatment and medication management for the following: anxiety, depression, PTSD, attention deficit disorder, and substance use disorder. I use evidence-based strategies to support issues such as trauma focused care. Motivational interviewing, strength-based care, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral strategies. My goal is to provide improvement in your overall health.
My focus areas for mental health treatment include psychotherapeutic treatment and medication management for the following: anxiety, depression, PTSD, attention deficit disorder, and substance use disorder. I use evidence-based strategies to support issues such as trauma focused care. Motivational interviewing, strength-based care, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral strategies. My goal is to provide improvement in your overall health.
(515) 808-5012 View (515) 808-5012
Ames Mental Health and Wellness Center
Physician Assistant, PA-C
Verified Verified
Ames, IA 50010
(515) 902-5348 View (515) 902-5348

Online Psychiatrists

Photo of Katelyn Thompson, DO, Psychiatrist
Katelyn Thompson
Psychiatrist, DO
Verified Verified
Windsor Heights, IA 50324
Dr. Katelyn Thompson is board certified in Adult Psychiatry. Patients looking for a psychiatric provider will find that Dr. Thompson has a gentle and approachable style. She believes that each patient was created on purpose and for a purpose. The brain is deeply wired for resilience and Dr. Thompson is blessed to witness while supporting that in her patients. She focuses on medication management with supportive psychotherapy as she treats a wide variety of psychiatric diagnoses.
Dr. Katelyn Thompson is board certified in Adult Psychiatry. Patients looking for a psychiatric provider will find that Dr. Thompson has a gentle and approachable style. She believes that each patient was created on purpose and for a purpose. The brain is deeply wired for resilience and Dr. Thompson is blessed to witness while supporting that in her patients. She focuses on medication management with supportive psychotherapy as she treats a wide variety of psychiatric diagnoses.
(515) 854-8647 View (515) 854-8647
Photo of Kelsey Lamb, MSN, ARNP, PMHNBC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Kelsey Lamb
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, MSN, ARNP, PMHNBC
Verified Verified
Hiawatha, IA 52233
Hey there! I’m Kelsey Lamb, a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) with a passion for helping people navigate life’s challenges. I’ve been in the mental health profession since 2011 and practicing as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner since 2017. For the past five years, I’ve worked for an organization that’s helped me grow and gain confidence in ways I never imagined when I first started. Now, I’m thrilled to embark on a new journey with Prism Psychiatric Group, where I’ll bring along all the skills and experiences I’ve gathered along the way. Let me tell you a bit about my life outside the office!
Hey there! I’m Kelsey Lamb, a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) with a passion for helping people navigate life’s challenges. I’ve been in the mental health profession since 2011 and practicing as a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner since 2017. For the past five years, I’ve worked for an organization that’s helped me grow and gain confidence in ways I never imagined when I first started. Now, I’m thrilled to embark on a new journey with Prism Psychiatric Group, where I’ll bring along all the skills and experiences I’ve gathered along the way. Let me tell you a bit about my life outside the office!
(319) 209-5584 View (319) 209-5584
Photo of Ann Barbaro, PMHNP, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Ann Barbaro
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP
Verified Verified
Des Moines, IA 50309  (Online Only)
Accepting New Patients! I consider myself lucky to work in health care at a time when mental health diagnoses are becoming more accepted and better understood in our culture. I firmly believe that optimal health cannot be attained without giving adequate attention to mental health. As a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, my goal is to advocate for patients and direct their care with understanding and compassion. My hope is that the care I provide will ease my patients’ struggles and empower them to live to the fullest degree.
Accepting New Patients! I consider myself lucky to work in health care at a time when mental health diagnoses are becoming more accepted and better understood in our culture. I firmly believe that optimal health cannot be attained without giving adequate attention to mental health. As a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, my goal is to advocate for patients and direct their care with understanding and compassion. My hope is that the care I provide will ease my patients’ struggles and empower them to live to the fullest degree.
(262) 587-6075 View (262) 587-6075
Photo of Catina Greene, PMHNP, FNP, APRN, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Catina Greene
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP, FNP, APRN
Verified Verified
2 Endorsed
Des Moines, IA 50318
Have you been struggling with loneliness, sadness, crying spells, overwhelming thoughts of regret or unsurety, nervousness, irritability, mood changes, sleep issues? Were you told that you have ADHD? Well, now you can be formally tested. I’m here to help you explore your feelings and how your body responds to them. These responses may be related to complex life changes, traumatic events, chemical imbalances, or thought processes. I then incorporate the client's experience with my expertise to provide an individualized plan of care. Care plans will include cultural sensitivities and gender needs.
Have you been struggling with loneliness, sadness, crying spells, overwhelming thoughts of regret or unsurety, nervousness, irritability, mood changes, sleep issues? Were you told that you have ADHD? Well, now you can be formally tested. I’m here to help you explore your feelings and how your body responds to them. These responses may be related to complex life changes, traumatic events, chemical imbalances, or thought processes. I then incorporate the client's experience with my expertise to provide an individualized plan of care. Care plans will include cultural sensitivities and gender needs.
(515) 501-5131 View (515) 501-5131
Photo of Dr. Oluwatosin Adebiyi - Mind Connection Behavioral Health, DNP, APRN, PMHNPBC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Mind Connection Behavioral Health
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, DNP, APRN, PMHNPBC
Verified Verified
3 Endorsed
Des Moines, IA 50309
***ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS AT THIS TIME***Welcome to Mind Connection Behavioral Health where your mental health is our priority. We are committed to providing you with exceptional mental health and psychiatric services, and delivering high quality care to patients of all ages. Our goal is to make you feel valued and not numbered.
***ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS AT THIS TIME***Welcome to Mind Connection Behavioral Health where your mental health is our priority. We are committed to providing you with exceptional mental health and psychiatric services, and delivering high quality care to patients of all ages. Our goal is to make you feel valued and not numbered.
(281) 957-6114 View (281) 957-6114
Photo of Quentin Chambers - Alpha Allied Mental Health Services (AMS), PMHNP, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Alpha Allied Mental Health Services (AMS)
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP
Verified Verified
Des Moines, IA 50309
I am a board certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in the states of Iowa and Missouri. I have full practice authority in the state of Iowa, I am accepting new patients in Iowa and Missouri. I practice psychiatry by assessing biological, psychological and social aspects of each patient I care for, to deliver optimal mental health. I take insurance in Missouri and Iowa. I prescribe a full range of psychotropic medications for genuine mental health disorders. We now have an additional provider that is accepting new patients. Give us a call.
I am a board certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in the states of Iowa and Missouri. I have full practice authority in the state of Iowa, I am accepting new patients in Iowa and Missouri. I practice psychiatry by assessing biological, psychological and social aspects of each patient I care for, to deliver optimal mental health. I take insurance in Missouri and Iowa. I prescribe a full range of psychotropic medications for genuine mental health disorders. We now have an additional provider that is accepting new patients. Give us a call.
(636) 735-7068 View (636) 735-7068

How does your Psychiatrist compare?

Number of Psychiatrists in Ames, IA

10+

Average cost per session

$130

Psychiatrists in Ames, IA who prioritize treating:

93% Anxiety
86% Depression
79% ADHD
79% Medication Management
57% Trauma and PTSD
57% Bipolar Disorder
57% Stress

Average years in practice

4 Years

Top 3 insurances accepted

92% BlueCross and BlueShield
92% Wellmark BCBS
83% Blue Shield

How Psychiatrists in Ames, IA see their clients

72% In Person and Online
28% Online Only

Gender breakdown

85% Female
15% Male
FAQs - About Psychiatrists and Psychiatric Nurses

How can I find a psychiatrist in Ames?

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.