Psychiatrists in Boston, MA

Photo of Stephanie Etienne, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Boston, MA
Stephanie Etienne
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, MSN , PMHNP-B, RN
Verified
Boston, MA 02115
Stephanie is accepting NEW patients. As dedicated and compassionate board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, I obtained my BSN at Southern New Hampshire University. My desire to make a difference in the mental health field led me to further my education at Regis College, where I graduated with my master’s in nursing in May 2023, specializing in Psychiatry. As a Psychiatric Mental Health NP, my approach to patient care is deeply rooted in compassion and understanding. I VALUE validation; focus on the present, ensure that her patients feel seen, heard, and supported throughout their healing journey.
Stephanie is accepting NEW patients. As dedicated and compassionate board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, I obtained my BSN at Southern New Hampshire University. My desire to make a difference in the mental health field led me to further my education at Regis College, where I graduated with my master’s in nursing in May 2023, specializing in Psychiatry. As a Psychiatric Mental Health NP, my approach to patient care is deeply rooted in compassion and understanding. I VALUE validation; focus on the present, ensure that her patients feel seen, heard, and supported throughout their healing journey.
(617) 766-0774 View (617) 766-0774
Photo of Joseph F. Toomey, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Boston, MA
Joseph F. Toomey
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, DNP, PMHNP
Verified
Boston, MA 02125
With over three decades’ experience in academic and corporate environments, my current work as a Psychiatric DNP has evolved from observing the challenges and successes of colleagues and students and their relationship to emotional HEALTH and the ability to FOCUS on daily and long-term goals. As a result of my Yale, Duke, and MGH psychiatric training, I’ve honed my observations into effective working theories about the biopsychosocial factors that influence peoples’ vitality and well-being. If you're currently struggling with academic, professional or emotional obstacles, I believe I can help.
With over three decades’ experience in academic and corporate environments, my current work as a Psychiatric DNP has evolved from observing the challenges and successes of colleagues and students and their relationship to emotional HEALTH and the ability to FOCUS on daily and long-term goals. As a result of my Yale, Duke, and MGH psychiatric training, I’ve honed my observations into effective working theories about the biopsychosocial factors that influence peoples’ vitality and well-being. If you're currently struggling with academic, professional or emotional obstacles, I believe I can help.
(857) 269-1988 View (857) 269-1988
Photo of Dr. Aedome Girma, Psychiatrist in Boston, MA
Dr. Aedome Girma
Psychiatrist, DO
Verified
Boston, MA 02110
Investing in your mental health is one of the best things you can do for yourself, both in the short- and long-term. With my help, you can begin to take control of your mental and physical health and achieve a happier, more fulfilling life. As a board-certified psychiatrist, I am committed to helping my patients achieve better mental and physical health. With my extensive experience and training in managing a range of conditions, including Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia, ADHD, PTSD, OCD, Bipolar Disorder, and Schizophrenia, I am confident that I can guide you towards a healthier, happier life.
Investing in your mental health is one of the best things you can do for yourself, both in the short- and long-term. With my help, you can begin to take control of your mental and physical health and achieve a happier, more fulfilling life. As a board-certified psychiatrist, I am committed to helping my patients achieve better mental and physical health. With my extensive experience and training in managing a range of conditions, including Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia, ADHD, PTSD, OCD, Bipolar Disorder, and Schizophrenia, I am confident that I can guide you towards a healthier, happier life.
(617) 675-5531 View (617) 675-5531
Photo of Lisa Marie Shaffer, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Boston, MA
Lisa Marie Shaffer
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, RN, APRN, PMHNPBC
Verified
1 Endorsed
Boston, MA 02115  (Online Only)
Lisa Shaffer is a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner. She has several years of experience in both medical and psychiatric care settings including, inpatient, outpatient and emergency care. She works collaboratively with clients of all ages integrating medication management, and psychotherapy in order to empower her clients in becoming their best self.
Lisa Shaffer is a board-certified psychiatric nurse practitioner. She has several years of experience in both medical and psychiatric care settings including, inpatient, outpatient and emergency care. She works collaboratively with clients of all ages integrating medication management, and psychotherapy in order to empower her clients in becoming their best self.
(617) 855-0075 View (617) 855-0075
Photo of Dr. James H. Powers, Psychiatrist in Boston, MA
Dr. James H. Powers
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified
Boston, MA 02111  (Online Only)
I am a Harvard- and Duke-trained psychiatrist who offers psychotherapy +/- medication management for a variety of emotional challenges including but not limited to depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more. I enjoy maintaining a small private practice, which allows me to get to know my patients very well and to provide highly tailored and individualized care. Our first session entails an in-depth psychiatric evaluation, after which we will collaboratively consider treatment options.
I am a Harvard- and Duke-trained psychiatrist who offers psychotherapy +/- medication management for a variety of emotional challenges including but not limited to depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more. I enjoy maintaining a small private practice, which allows me to get to know my patients very well and to provide highly tailored and individualized care. Our first session entails an in-depth psychiatric evaluation, after which we will collaboratively consider treatment options.
(339) 229-6238 View (339) 229-6238
Photo of Gregory Labun, MD , Psychiatrist in Boston, MA
Gregory Labun, MD
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified
1 Endorsed
Boston, MA 02127  (Online Only)
My deepest admiration for your courage in seeking help! It takes incredible strength to even begin searching for someone who can help with your unique situation. We all face challenges in life , but its not easy to admit when we need help and you have taken the important step towards healing. I understand that these times have been incredibly difficult and I want you to know that I feel deeply for you and your struggles.
My deepest admiration for your courage in seeking help! It takes incredible strength to even begin searching for someone who can help with your unique situation. We all face challenges in life , but its not easy to admit when we need help and you have taken the important step towards healing. I understand that these times have been incredibly difficult and I want you to know that I feel deeply for you and your struggles.
(781) 650-8509 View (781) 650-8509
Photo of Claire Twark, Psychiatrist in Boston, MA
Claire Twark
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified
1 Endorsed
Boston, MA 02116
I am a Harvard-trained, Harvard-affiliated, and board-certified psychiatrist and addiction psychiatrist. I offer convenient Saturday morning hours in my Back Bay private practice as well as virtual evening hours on some other days. I offer therapy, medication management, or a combination of the two if needed. I enjoy collaborating with patients to achieve their goals and move forward on their journeys. I have expertise in sports psychiatry, including treating athletes/former athletes and incorporating exercise into treatment. I see patients ages 18+.
I am a Harvard-trained, Harvard-affiliated, and board-certified psychiatrist and addiction psychiatrist. I offer convenient Saturday morning hours in my Back Bay private practice as well as virtual evening hours on some other days. I offer therapy, medication management, or a combination of the two if needed. I enjoy collaborating with patients to achieve their goals and move forward on their journeys. I have expertise in sports psychiatry, including treating athletes/former athletes and incorporating exercise into treatment. I see patients ages 18+.
(857) 214-7711 View (857) 214-7711
Photo of Can Bulucu, Psychiatrist in Boston, MA
Can Bulucu
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified
Boston, MA 02116  (Online Only)
I have extensive experience in treating Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety, ADHD and relational problems for more than 20 years. I have dual Board Certification in Adult and Geriatric Psychiatry. I am very careful in treating my patients with medications and my goal is to find the lowest effective dose and avoid multiple medication use when possible. I think therapy is as important as medications and I offer both, at times together, when necessary. For self pay patients cost for initial 60 min evaluation is $500, 15 min fallow up is $150, 30 min fallow up is $275 and 45min fallow up is $400.
I have extensive experience in treating Depression, Anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety, ADHD and relational problems for more than 20 years. I have dual Board Certification in Adult and Geriatric Psychiatry. I am very careful in treating my patients with medications and my goal is to find the lowest effective dose and avoid multiple medication use when possible. I think therapy is as important as medications and I offer both, at times together, when necessary. For self pay patients cost for initial 60 min evaluation is $500, 15 min fallow up is $150, 30 min fallow up is $275 and 45min fallow up is $400.
(781) 786-1739 View (781) 786-1739
Photo of Francisco Agrait, Psychiatrist in Boston, MA
Francisco Agrait
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified
Boston, MA 02110
Not accepting new clients
I am a Harvard and MGH-affiliated psychiatrist and psychotherapist located in downtown Boston. My expertise includes the use of psychodynamic psychotherapy, along with thoughtful medication management, to address symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and attentional disorders. I strive to provide a safe and welcoming environment in an effort to facilitate personal growth through therapeutic exploration.
I am a Harvard and MGH-affiliated psychiatrist and psychotherapist located in downtown Boston. My expertise includes the use of psychodynamic psychotherapy, along with thoughtful medication management, to address symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and attentional disorders. I strive to provide a safe and welcoming environment in an effort to facilitate personal growth through therapeutic exploration.
(617) 600-3283 View (617) 600-3283
Photo of Dr. Misty Stafford, Psychiatrist in Boston, MA
Dr. Misty Stafford
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified
Boston, MA 02199  (Online Only)
I am a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist seeing patients for combined psychotherapy and medication management services by telehealth. My practice is small and patient-focused with a tailored approach to meet every patient's unique needs. My approach to treatment is to provide a safe, comforting environment where patients feel able to express themselves emotionally without fear of judgment. I pride myself on being empathic, warm, and caring with an ability to personally connect with each of my patients and their families. I love what I do and I believe this reflects in the results I help my patients achieve.
I am a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist seeing patients for combined psychotherapy and medication management services by telehealth. My practice is small and patient-focused with a tailored approach to meet every patient's unique needs. My approach to treatment is to provide a safe, comforting environment where patients feel able to express themselves emotionally without fear of judgment. I pride myself on being empathic, warm, and caring with an ability to personally connect with each of my patients and their families. I love what I do and I believe this reflects in the results I help my patients achieve.
(617) 431-4864 View (617) 431-4864
Photo of Yuan Jia, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Boston, MA
Yuan Jia
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP
Verified
Boston, MA 02199  (Online Only)
Yuan has experience working in community mental health, psychiatric consultation, skilled nursing facilities, and outpatient practice. Yuan values the importance of understanding the stigma traditionally associated with mental health struggles and wishes to provide the best-individualized care with an evidence-based and effective holistic approach. She provides a thorough diagnostic evaluation to detect patterns in thoughts and behaviors in her patients, and then match them to appropriate diagnoses.
Yuan has experience working in community mental health, psychiatric consultation, skilled nursing facilities, and outpatient practice. Yuan values the importance of understanding the stigma traditionally associated with mental health struggles and wishes to provide the best-individualized care with an evidence-based and effective holistic approach. She provides a thorough diagnostic evaluation to detect patterns in thoughts and behaviors in her patients, and then match them to appropriate diagnoses.
(781) 798-2658 View (781) 798-2658
Photo of Shannon Psychiatry, LLC , Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Boston, MA
Shannon Psychiatry, LLC
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, FNP-C , PMHNPBC
Verified
Boston, MA 02109
Hello! I am currently accepting new patients as of 1/14/2022. All visits are through telemedicine, so I can see anyone in the state of Massachusetts. My love for what I do in psychiatry, comes from the joy I get in helping others improve their lives. Most of my patients do not know which direction to go when then come to me, and that is ok. Some people come to me looking for second or third opinions about diagnosis or medications, some people are referred by a therapist to start medication. We can openly discuss decisions and options. This is a judgement free zone. There is no way you can TMI me!
Hello! I am currently accepting new patients as of 1/14/2022. All visits are through telemedicine, so I can see anyone in the state of Massachusetts. My love for what I do in psychiatry, comes from the joy I get in helping others improve their lives. Most of my patients do not know which direction to go when then come to me, and that is ok. Some people come to me looking for second or third opinions about diagnosis or medications, some people are referred by a therapist to start medication. We can openly discuss decisions and options. This is a judgement free zone. There is no way you can TMI me!
(857) 227-9817 View (857) 227-9817
Photo of Joe Gallego, Psychiatrist in Boston, MA
Joe Gallego
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified
3 Endorsed
Boston, MA 02110
Making the decision to pursue psychiatric treatment requires courage and motivation. As your psychiatrist, I honor your willingness to be vulnerable with me by being transparent with you throughout our work together. My clinical approach balances directness with empathy, shared expectation with flexibility, and professionalism with humor and warmth. I provide psychiatric evaluations, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and medication management to adolescents and adults. I am passionate about caring for LGBTQIA+ people, and I have been researching and teaching about queer issues in health care for the past ten years.
Making the decision to pursue psychiatric treatment requires courage and motivation. As your psychiatrist, I honor your willingness to be vulnerable with me by being transparent with you throughout our work together. My clinical approach balances directness with empathy, shared expectation with flexibility, and professionalism with humor and warmth. I provide psychiatric evaluations, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and medication management to adolescents and adults. I am passionate about caring for LGBTQIA+ people, and I have been researching and teaching about queer issues in health care for the past ten years.
(508) 374-9271 View (508) 374-9271
Photo of Emily Coyle, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Boston, MA
Emily Coyle
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP
Verified
Boston, MA 02114
An ideal client would be someone who is open, honest, and willing to ask for help. This person wants to get better and is open to suggestions and treatment options. They are willing to put in the effort to help themselves and work as a team with their provider in order to move toward mental wellness.
An ideal client would be someone who is open, honest, and willing to ask for help. This person wants to get better and is open to suggestions and treatment options. They are willing to put in the effort to help themselves and work as a team with their provider in order to move toward mental wellness.
(617) 934-8729 View (617) 934-8729
Photo of Marie Rose Canton, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Boston, MA
Marie Rose Canton
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP
Verified
Boston, MA 02122
My ideal client feels overwhelmed by life's demands and struggles with anxiety or low self-esteem. They seek to understand themselves better, manage stress effectively, and cultivate a more fulfilling life. Their goal is to develop coping strategies and build confidence to navigate their world with greater ease. They want guidance to unlock their potential and desire a therapist who listens deeply and offers compassionate, evidence-based support to help them thrive.
My ideal client feels overwhelmed by life's demands and struggles with anxiety or low self-esteem. They seek to understand themselves better, manage stress effectively, and cultivate a more fulfilling life. Their goal is to develop coping strategies and build confidence to navigate their world with greater ease. They want guidance to unlock their potential and desire a therapist who listens deeply and offers compassionate, evidence-based support to help them thrive.
(617) 433-5349 View (617) 433-5349
Photo of Equilibrium Health, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Boston, MA
Equilibrium Health
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP
Verified
Boston, MA 02199  (Online Only)
Our licensed and board-certified psychiatric mental health providers are experienced in providing diagnostic evaluation and treatment, including medication management for client ages 10 and up with Depression, Bipolar disorder, Anxiety Disorders, ADHD, Adjustment disorders, OCD, PTSD, schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder, and Alcohol use disorders
Our licensed and board-certified psychiatric mental health providers are experienced in providing diagnostic evaluation and treatment, including medication management for client ages 10 and up with Depression, Bipolar disorder, Anxiety Disorders, ADHD, Adjustment disorders, OCD, PTSD, schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder, and Alcohol use disorders
(617) 819-0040 View (617) 819-0040
Photo of Christoforos Iraklis Giakoumatos, Psychiatrist in Boston, MA
Christoforos Iraklis Giakoumatos
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified
Boston, MA 02118
I treat adults with mental health disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, ADHD and PTSD. I also treat adults with substance use disorders and behavioral addictions. I believe in individualizing treatment based on each person's needs. I offer medication management visits, complemented with elements of Motivational Interviewing (MI), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and psychodymanic psychotherapy. I also offer psychotherapy visits without medication management, if someone is not in need of medications.
I treat adults with mental health disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, ADHD and PTSD. I also treat adults with substance use disorders and behavioral addictions. I believe in individualizing treatment based on each person's needs. I offer medication management visits, complemented with elements of Motivational Interviewing (MI), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and psychodymanic psychotherapy. I also offer psychotherapy visits without medication management, if someone is not in need of medications.
(857) 810-4123 View (857) 810-4123
Photo of Terri Marie Clack, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Boston, MA
Terri Marie Clack
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP-B, AGNP-C
Verified
1 Endorsed
Boston, MA 02108  (Online Only)
Hello! Feeling burned out, unmotivated, and unfocused is a common struggle for many adults today. Balancing the relentless demands of work and personal life can be overwhelming. You're not alone in this journey, and I'm here to help you find your way back to a place of balance and well-being. As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, my approach is all about understanding your unique needs and crafting a tailored treatment plan. I firmly believe in a holistic perspective that takes into account both your physical and mental well-being.
Hello! Feeling burned out, unmotivated, and unfocused is a common struggle for many adults today. Balancing the relentless demands of work and personal life can be overwhelming. You're not alone in this journey, and I'm here to help you find your way back to a place of balance and well-being. As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, my approach is all about understanding your unique needs and crafting a tailored treatment plan. I firmly believe in a holistic perspective that takes into account both your physical and mental well-being.
(781) 208-5887 View (781) 208-5887
Photo of Beth Makar, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Boston, MA
Beth Makar
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, MSN, PMHNP, -BC
Verified
Boston, MA 02110  (Online Only)
Hello, I look forward to meeting you! My name is Beth and I'm a Board Certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner In the state of Massachusetts. I specialize in ADHD, , Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Infertility, Insomnia/Sleep Issues, Life Transitions, Loss, grief, bereavement, Men's Issues, OCD, PTSD, Relationship Issues, Sexual Health/Dysfunction, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Stress Management and Women's Issues. I work with an amazing group of colleagues at Lavender, an online psychiatry and therapy office, where we believe psychiatric care shouldn't be expensive nor impossible to access.
Hello, I look forward to meeting you! My name is Beth and I'm a Board Certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner In the state of Massachusetts. I specialize in ADHD, , Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Infertility, Insomnia/Sleep Issues, Life Transitions, Loss, grief, bereavement, Men's Issues, OCD, PTSD, Relationship Issues, Sexual Health/Dysfunction, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Stress Management and Women's Issues. I work with an amazing group of colleagues at Lavender, an online psychiatry and therapy office, where we believe psychiatric care shouldn't be expensive nor impossible to access.
(617) 944-5189 View (617) 944-5189
Photo of Joshua Hatcher-Mullins, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner in Boston, MA
Joshua Hatcher-Mullins
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP
Verified
2 Endorsed
Boston, MA 02116  (Online Only)
Joshua believes in caring for the whole person holistically. He strives to understand current mental health concerns as well as various stressors and past traumas. He provides a welcoming and nonjudgmental environment for clients. He works collaboratively with clients to create a plan, overcome stuck points, and reach treatment goals utilizing both therapeutic techniques and medication.
Joshua believes in caring for the whole person holistically. He strives to understand current mental health concerns as well as various stressors and past traumas. He provides a welcoming and nonjudgmental environment for clients. He works collaboratively with clients to create a plan, overcome stuck points, and reach treatment goals utilizing both therapeutic techniques and medication.
(508) 684-2846 View (508) 684-2846

See more therapy options for Boston

How does your Psychiatrist compare?

Number of Psychiatrists in Boston, MA

300+

Average cost per session

$250

Psychiatrists in Boston, MA who prioritize treating:

94% Anxiety
93% Depression
74% Medication Management
71% Bipolar Disorder
69% Obsessive-Compulsive (OCD)
68% ADHD
66% Trauma and PTSD

Average years in practice

10 Years

Top 3 insurances accepted

86% BlueCross and BlueShield
81% UnitedHealthcare UHC | UBH
81% Optum

How Psychiatrists in Boston, MA see their clients

57% In Person and Online
43% Online Only

Gender breakdown

66% Female
33% Male
1% Non-Binary

FAQs - About Psychiatrists and Psychiatric Nurses

How can I find a psychiatrist in Boston?

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.