Despite the many sites ranking psychiatrists in order of a relatively few patient surveys, can such rankings be a good predictor of who may be your best psychiatrist? Are highly satisfied or unsatisfied patients most likely to give
rankings of best or worst psychiatric experiences?
The problem with knowing who your best psychiatrist might be is that different patients present radically different symptoms, histories and personalities. One patient may need a psychiatrist who only medicates. Another patient’s best psychiatrist needs to be able to integrate meds with psychotherapy. Some patients prefer psychiatrists who work slowly and methodically while others want a psychiatrist who can diagnose and treat effectively in just a handful of sessions.
Finding the best psychiatrist for you
A better way to find the best psychiatrist is to read a psychiatrist’s website. Don’t just accept a brief description that, in effect, says the psychiatrist treats all conditions. Does the psychiatrist’s website discuss a specific philosophy of treatment and treatment approaches to conditions that resemble your psychiatric problem? Do diagnostic and treatment approaches resonate with your specific needs?
One final thought, you deserve to respect your own feelings and intuitions about your doctor. If you have doubts, I strongly urge you to seek a second opinion. You do not necessarily have to share this plan with your doctor and such a consultation may reinforce that you are already receiving good care.
I understand what an enormous choice finding your best psychiatrist is. A first session can be compared to going out on a blind date. If you are not sure, try a few more sessions. If you feel a great deal of trust, maybe you’ve met the right one. If it does not feel right, get a second opinion. Ultimately, it is not the number of stars rating in being treated by the best psychiatrist that is important, it is that you begin to feel like a genuinely different person.