The first and most important step to a successful treatment is an accurate diagnosis.
Before we can determine how to offer optimum support, we must first understand the issue and all the factors that may be contributing to our patient’s difficulties. The first appointment, the psychiatric assessment, is about 60 minutes in duration for adults, and for children, is comprised of two 60 minute sessions, one with the parents for collateral and historical information gathering, and one for the child interview.
Even though one session may usually be adequate, sometimes, a patient may need more than one session to be accurately assessed. This may be in the case when a patient comes to us after having been in treatment for a while, therefore, it would be important for us to collect information from various sources and previous providers. In these situations, a discussion will be held with with our patient and a mutual agreement will follow.
The aim of the psychiatric assessment is to allow our doctor gain an understanding of the patient’s needs, initiate a differential diagnostic process, as well as formulate a treatment plan. Most importantly, it helps the doctor to better understand the patient as an individual so that the appropriate care can be provided in a personalized manner.
At the end of the assessment, the doctor will share their impressions, differential diagnosis, any requirements for additional diagnostic testing, as well as available treatments. Patients are encouraged to ask any questions that may arise during this initial stage. At the conclusion of the assessment, patients will mutually decide whether to formally establish a therapeutic patient-physician relationship and consent to treatment. Please be informed that no treatment is rendered and a patient-physician relationship is not established until both parties have mutually decided to establish a therapeutic relationship. An appointment with the doctor guarantees time with the doctor, it does not guarantee prescribing of specific or requested medications, treatments, or writing of letters. Medications will typically not be prescribed at the conclusion of the first session and until a patient-physician relationship has been established.