Psychiatrists in Gig Harbor, WA

Photo of Jennifer Irwin, MD, Psychiatrist
Jennifer Irwin
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
Dr. Irwin is a general psychiatrist interested in an integrative care approach to healing, incorporating medication, psychotherapy and exercise. After graduating Hartwick College, in upstate New York, summa cum laude with departmental honors in Biology, Dr. Irwin attended Michigan State Medical School. She went on to complete four years of residency training in Psychiatry at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and moved to Washington in 1999. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, hiking, skiing, and practicing yoga and meditation.
Dr. Irwin is a general psychiatrist interested in an integrative care approach to healing, incorporating medication, psychotherapy and exercise. After graduating Hartwick College, in upstate New York, summa cum laude with departmental honors in Biology, Dr. Irwin attended Michigan State Medical School. She went on to complete four years of residency training in Psychiatry at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and moved to Washington in 1999. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, hiking, skiing, and practicing yoga and meditation.
(253) 338-5169 View (253) 338-5169
Photo of Dr. Valerica Ene-Stroescu, MD, Psychiatrist
Dr. Valerica Ene-Stroescu
Psychiatrist, MD
Verified Verified
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
During my 21 years of practicing psychiatry, I have seen how integrative the bio-psycho-social and spiritual approach is to diagnose and treat psychiatric conditions. Addressing the complexities of genetic predispositions, childhood experiences, social relations and spiritual aspects is at the core of this model and defines how I practice psychiatry. I have worked almost 20 years in a state psychiatric hospital helping those with the most severe and devastating psychiatric illnesses. I am expanding now the focus of my work to include those in an outpatient setting using the newest treatment modalities.
During my 21 years of practicing psychiatry, I have seen how integrative the bio-psycho-social and spiritual approach is to diagnose and treat psychiatric conditions. Addressing the complexities of genetic predispositions, childhood experiences, social relations and spiritual aspects is at the core of this model and defines how I practice psychiatry. I have worked almost 20 years in a state psychiatric hospital helping those with the most severe and devastating psychiatric illnesses. I am expanding now the focus of my work to include those in an outpatient setting using the newest treatment modalities.
(253) 525-5216 View (253) 525-5216
Photo of Dr. Naomi Bradfute - Circle Psychiatry PLLC, ND , PMHNP, PMH-C, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Circle Psychiatry PLLC
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, ND , PMHNP, PMH-C
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
One in 5 women and some men experience mental health issues around childbearing. It doesn't need to be so hard. I provide compassionate, detailed psychiatric assessment and medication management for people with depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, Bipolar, Postpartum Psychosis, Intrusive Thoughts, and Overwhelm. With 30 years experience in OB nursing care, I have a unique understanding of the complexities of treating mental health in the setting of pregnancy, postpartum and breastfeeding.
One in 5 women and some men experience mental health issues around childbearing. It doesn't need to be so hard. I provide compassionate, detailed psychiatric assessment and medication management for people with depression, anxiety, ADHD, OCD, Bipolar, Postpartum Psychosis, Intrusive Thoughts, and Overwhelm. With 30 years experience in OB nursing care, I have a unique understanding of the complexities of treating mental health in the setting of pregnancy, postpartum and breastfeeding.
(360) 295-2768 View (360) 295-2768
Photo of Heather King - Melrose Mental Wellness, PMHNP, BC, PhD, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Heather King - Melrose Mental Wellness
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP, BC, PhD
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
I am a board certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner with over 29 years of experience as a Registered Nurse. I take a holistic approach to mental wellness and provide a caring, empathetic, non judgmental environment when caring for clients. I value evidence-based, complementary, integrative care that includes lifestyle and behavioral changes. In addition to prescribing medications, I offer cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi), the first line treatment recommendation for insomnia from the American College of Physicians, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and World Sleep Society.
I am a board certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner with over 29 years of experience as a Registered Nurse. I take a holistic approach to mental wellness and provide a caring, empathetic, non judgmental environment when caring for clients. I value evidence-based, complementary, integrative care that includes lifestyle and behavioral changes. In addition to prescribing medications, I offer cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi), the first line treatment recommendation for insomnia from the American College of Physicians, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and World Sleep Society.
(253) 364-0576 View (253) 364-0576
Photo of Diana L Liebner, MSN, ARNP, PMHNP, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Diana L Liebner
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, MSN, ARNP, PMHNP
Verified Verified
4 Endorsed
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
Not accepting new clients
In-office or tele-psych appointments. I am a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), educated and trained at the University of Washington in Seattle. I assess, diagnose, and treat mental health conditions with therapy and targeted medications. The path to mental wellness may involve multiple therapies and medication strategies. I am experienced in a range of therapeutic approaches and safe, targeted medication management, thus able to provide a tailored plan of care for individual needs and support each client in achieving better mental health.
In-office or tele-psych appointments. I am a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), educated and trained at the University of Washington in Seattle. I assess, diagnose, and treat mental health conditions with therapy and targeted medications. The path to mental wellness may involve multiple therapies and medication strategies. I am experienced in a range of therapeutic approaches and safe, targeted medication management, thus able to provide a tailored plan of care for individual needs and support each client in achieving better mental health.
(253) 313-0267 View (253) 313-0267
Photo of Kate Donahue, PMHNP, BC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Kate Donahue
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, PMHNP, BC
Verified Verified
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
Kate is a board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) and a licensed Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner (ARNP). She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Xavier University and a Master of Science in Nursing from Frontier Nursing University. Kate believes in individualized and evidenced based care. She provides psychiatric evaluations and medication management services for both children and adults and treats a wide spectrum of psychiatric diagnoses. Her main areas of focus include depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
Kate is a board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) and a licensed Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner (ARNP). She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Xavier University and a Master of Science in Nursing from Frontier Nursing University. Kate believes in individualized and evidenced based care. She provides psychiatric evaluations and medication management services for both children and adults and treats a wide spectrum of psychiatric diagnoses. Her main areas of focus include depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
(253) 400-3215 View (253) 400-3215
Photo of Angela Tefft, DNP, ARNP, PMHNP, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Angela Tefft
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, DNP, ARNP, PMHNP
Verified Verified
Gig Harbor, WA 98335  (Online Only)
Waitlist for new clients
I am a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-C). These certifications allow me to take both physical and mental health into consideration while developing treatment plans, to proactively address problems that may develop with certain treatments, or make recommendations for medical issues/treatments that may be contributing to a mental health disorder. I am licensed to treat clients of all ages, and has experience with clients from preschool to older adulthood.
I am a board certified Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) and Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-C). These certifications allow me to take both physical and mental health into consideration while developing treatment plans, to proactively address problems that may develop with certain treatments, or make recommendations for medical issues/treatments that may be contributing to a mental health disorder. I am licensed to treat clients of all ages, and has experience with clients from preschool to older adulthood.
(253) 499-7022 View (253) 499-7022
Photo of Jamal Williams, MSN, -BC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Jamal Williams
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, MSN, -BC
Verified Verified
2 Endorsed
Gig Harbor, WA 98332
I have extensive experience working with the LBGTQIA+ and BIPOC communities, and my specialties include: ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, OCD, Life transitions, emotional regulation challenges, grief, and trauma. I combine my psychiatric and psychotherapy work together, to treat my clients through an integrative approach that works to treat the entire challenge you’re facing, from a medicinal but also therapeutic way. I believe we're all products of the environment we grew up in, but it is up to us as individuals, to grow and learn about ourselves, so we can become the healthiest, and best versions of who we hope to be.
I have extensive experience working with the LBGTQIA+ and BIPOC communities, and my specialties include: ADHD, Anxiety, Depression, OCD, Life transitions, emotional regulation challenges, grief, and trauma. I combine my psychiatric and psychotherapy work together, to treat my clients through an integrative approach that works to treat the entire challenge you’re facing, from a medicinal but also therapeutic way. I believe we're all products of the environment we grew up in, but it is up to us as individuals, to grow and learn about ourselves, so we can become the healthiest, and best versions of who we hope to be.
(206) 589-5355 View (206) 589-5355
Photo of Ashley Nicole Mabry - Balance Psychiatric Clinic, ARNP, PMHNPBC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Balance Psychiatric Clinic
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, ARNP, PMHNPBC
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Gig Harbor, WA 98329
As a PMHNP-BC in a rural, underserved, small community, I'm passionate about providing medication management services and serving my community. I understand the importance of treating people in a holistic manner, to maintain a balanced state so wellness is achieved. I focus on a “whole patient” approach and “patient-centered care” for better outcomes. For one to live their best life there must be balance in sleep hygiene, diet, and exercise. I strive to help patients reach their best potential, psychiatrically after other options have been exhausted through medication management and education. I look forward to serving my community.
As a PMHNP-BC in a rural, underserved, small community, I'm passionate about providing medication management services and serving my community. I understand the importance of treating people in a holistic manner, to maintain a balanced state so wellness is achieved. I focus on a “whole patient” approach and “patient-centered care” for better outcomes. For one to live their best life there must be balance in sleep hygiene, diet, and exercise. I strive to help patients reach their best potential, psychiatrically after other options have been exhausted through medication management and education. I look forward to serving my community.
(360) 926-9293 View (360) 926-9293
Photo of Olivia Uhart, ARNP, PMHNP, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Olivia Uhart
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, ARNP, PMHNP
Verified Verified
5 Endorsed
Gig Harbor, WA 98332  (Online Only)
I am a board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), have a certification in perinatal mental health, and am licensed as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP). I provide psychiatric assessments for the purpose of treatment, medication management, psychoeducation for patients and families, and supportive counseling.
I am a board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP), have a certification in perinatal mental health, and am licensed as an Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner (ARNP). I provide psychiatric assessments for the purpose of treatment, medication management, psychoeducation for patients and families, and supportive counseling.
(206) 258-7702 View (206) 258-7702
Photo of Archiel Buagas-Kintanar - AMOMA , DNP, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
AMOMA
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, DNP
Verified Verified
Gig Harbor, WA 98329
I provide virtual/telehealth mental health services, particularly medication management. The appointments are provided via a live, secure and HIPAA compliant video conference platform. With this platform, I can provide health care in the comfort and privacy of your own home with just a click of a button. I am committed in providing individualized care to patients based on their specific needs and expectations. I can help you make informed decisions regarding medication treatment and symptom management.
I provide virtual/telehealth mental health services, particularly medication management. The appointments are provided via a live, secure and HIPAA compliant video conference platform. With this platform, I can provide health care in the comfort and privacy of your own home with just a click of a button. I am committed in providing individualized care to patients based on their specific needs and expectations. I can help you make informed decisions regarding medication treatment and symptom management.
(509) 612-7463 View (509) 612-7463
Photo of Laura Walker, DNP, PMHNP, BC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Laura Walker
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, DNP, PMHNP, BC
Verified Verified
10 Endorsed
Gig Harbor, WA 98329
Now accepting new clients! I am a dedicated and compassionate Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) with a passion for providing comprehensive mental health care to individuals of all ages, from children to adults. My mission is to foster a comfortable and collaborative environment to support your mental wellbeing. My treatment approach combines evidence-based practices with a person-centered perspective, allowing for my clients to be the expert in their lived experiences.
Now accepting new clients! I am a dedicated and compassionate Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) with a passion for providing comprehensive mental health care to individuals of all ages, from children to adults. My mission is to foster a comfortable and collaborative environment to support your mental wellbeing. My treatment approach combines evidence-based practices with a person-centered perspective, allowing for my clients to be the expert in their lived experiences.
(253) 243-2295 View (253) 243-2295
Photo of Beatrice Kiama, MSN, DNP, ARNP, PMHNP, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Beatrice Kiama
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, MSN, DNP, ARNP, PMHNP
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Gig Harbor, WA 98329  (Online Only)
I offer Telehealth appointments to all my clients in the comfort of their homes. I am a Board-Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) with a doctorate degree in Nursing, who is experienced in practicing Psychiatric services in outpatient, inpatient, and tele-psychiatry. I offer weekday appointments from 9am-9pm as well as Saturdays from 9am-2pm.
I offer Telehealth appointments to all my clients in the comfort of their homes. I am a Board-Certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) with a doctorate degree in Nursing, who is experienced in practicing Psychiatric services in outpatient, inpatient, and tele-psychiatry. I offer weekday appointments from 9am-9pm as well as Saturdays from 9am-2pm.
(253) 878-7701 View (253) 878-7701
Photo of Kelly Lawson Telehealth Available, DNP, ARNP, PMHNP, BC, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Kelly Lawson Telehealth Available
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, DNP, ARNP, PMHNP, BC
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Gig Harbor, WA 98335
I’m a board certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner with over 30 years of experience as a Registered Nurse. I take a holistic approach to mental health focusing on the whole person using an empathic and non-judgmental style. I use evidence-based, complimentary, and integrative approaches to care that include lifestyle and behavioral change, in addition to medications when appropriate and safe. I practice from a client-centered approach in which we work together to make treatment and medication decisions that include your preferences and values.
I’m a board certified Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner with over 30 years of experience as a Registered Nurse. I take a holistic approach to mental health focusing on the whole person using an empathic and non-judgmental style. I use evidence-based, complimentary, and integrative approaches to care that include lifestyle and behavioral change, in addition to medications when appropriate and safe. I practice from a client-centered approach in which we work together to make treatment and medication decisions that include your preferences and values.
(253) 289-7408 View (253) 289-7408
Photo of Ayo Okoro - Rogo Healthcare Services, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Rogo Healthcare Services
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Verified Verified
Gig Harbor, WA 98332  (Online Only)
Are you or someone you know struggling with depression, anxiety, bipolar, ADHD, PTSD, schizophrenia, eating and sleep disorders?
Are you or someone you know struggling with depression, anxiety, bipolar, ADHD, PTSD, schizophrenia, eating and sleep disorders?
(509) 732-9427 View (509) 732-9427
Photo of Barbara Rix, DNP, ARNP, FNP-BC, PMHNP, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Barbara Rix
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, DNP, ARNP, FNP-BC, PMHNP
Verified Verified
Gig Harbor, WA 98332  (Online Only)
I am a Nurse Practitioner (Family & PMHNP) that provides holistic care focusing on weight loss coaching, medical weight loss, and medication management in depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
I am a Nurse Practitioner (Family & PMHNP) that provides holistic care focusing on weight loss coaching, medical weight loss, and medication management in depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
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Photo of Angela Barnett, MSN, ARNP, PMHNP, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Angela Barnett
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, MSN, ARNP, PMHNP
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Gig Harbor, WA 98332
Weekend and evening appointments available! I am a Board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) who specializes in treating adults only. I love and strive to take the stigma out of mental health and help my patients make sense of their lives by embracing their unique journey. I am comfortable and proficient in treating a variety of mental health challenges and I am LGBTQIA friendly!
Weekend and evening appointments available! I am a Board certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP-BC) who specializes in treating adults only. I love and strive to take the stigma out of mental health and help my patients make sense of their lives by embracing their unique journey. I am comfortable and proficient in treating a variety of mental health challenges and I am LGBTQIA friendly!
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More Psychiatrists Nearby

Photo of Kelechi Nwaorgu - Three Points Healing, DNP, PMHNP, RDN, LMHC, LICSW, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Three Points Healing
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, DNP, PMHNP, RDN, LMHC, LICSW
Verified Verified
Tacoma, WA 98466
Three Points Healing offers new wellness tools such as Psychotherapy, Medication Management, IV Ketamine, Nasal Esketamine, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), Nutritional Counseling, Medical Nutritional Therapy, Weight loss, Massage Therapy, and Rejuvenating self-care services (Spa Therapy). This holistic approach allows patients to create new connections within their bodies, adopt a positive mindset, and reach a deeper healing state.
Three Points Healing offers new wellness tools such as Psychotherapy, Medication Management, IV Ketamine, Nasal Esketamine, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), Nutritional Counseling, Medical Nutritional Therapy, Weight loss, Massage Therapy, and Rejuvenating self-care services (Spa Therapy). This holistic approach allows patients to create new connections within their bodies, adopt a positive mindset, and reach a deeper healing state.
(360) 488-8211 View (360) 488-8211
Photo of Mary Fredericks, ARNP, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Mary Fredericks
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, ARNP
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Tacoma, WA 98406  (Online Only)
Mary Fredericks is a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She graduated from Washington State University with a Master of Science in Nursing. Mary has several years of experience in the healthcare field and has an extensive background in Emergency Medicine. She has spent the last 10 years in psychiatry working with both inpatient and outpatient clients. Her experience includes but is not limited to: the assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders, mood disorders, ADHD, OCD, and PTSD.
Mary Fredericks is a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She graduated from Washington State University with a Master of Science in Nursing. Mary has several years of experience in the healthcare field and has an extensive background in Emergency Medicine. She has spent the last 10 years in psychiatry working with both inpatient and outpatient clients. Her experience includes but is not limited to: the assessment and treatment of depression, anxiety, adjustment disorders, mood disorders, ADHD, OCD, and PTSD.
(360) 207-2997 View (360) 207-2997
Photo of Michele G Romero - Michele Romero, ARNP, Green Isle Psychiatry, MSN, AGNP, ARNP, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Michele Romero, ARNP, Green Isle Psychiatry
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, MSN, AGNP, ARNP
Verified Verified
University Place, WA 98466
As a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, I am here to help with the effects of depression, anxiety, mood imbalance, trauma, insomnia, inattention, memory loss, and other concerns. Fear, sadness, low self-esteem, confusion, overwhelm, and hopelessness can impair our resilience and ability to enjoy life. I provide diagnosis, counsel, education, and if needed, prescribed medication to ease your symptoms and support your healing. If you need psychotherapy in addition to medical mental health treatment, I can refer you.
As a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner, I am here to help with the effects of depression, anxiety, mood imbalance, trauma, insomnia, inattention, memory loss, and other concerns. Fear, sadness, low self-esteem, confusion, overwhelm, and hopelessness can impair our resilience and ability to enjoy life. I provide diagnosis, counsel, education, and if needed, prescribed medication to ease your symptoms and support your healing. If you need psychotherapy in addition to medical mental health treatment, I can refer you.
(253) 262-0463 View (253) 262-0463

See more therapy options for Gig Harbor

How does your Psychiatrist compare?

Number of Psychiatrists in Gig Harbor, WA

10+

Average cost per session

$300

Psychiatrists in Gig Harbor, WA who prioritize treating:

100% Depression
100% Anxiety
100% Medication Management
88% ADHD
88% Trauma and PTSD
82% Obsessive-Compulsive (OCD)
82% Bipolar Disorder

Average years in practice

4 Years

Top 3 insurances accepted

88% Regence
82% Aetna
76% Premera

How Psychiatrists in Gig Harbor, WA see their clients

71% In Person and Online
29% Online Only

Gender breakdown

95% Female
5% Male
FAQs - About Psychiatrists and Psychiatric Nurses

How can I find a psychiatrist in Gig Harbor?

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.