A therapist is a broad term for a professional who provides talk therapy or counseling; a psychologist is a mental health professional with a doctoral degree (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) who can diagnose and treat various mental health conditions through therapy; and a psychiatrist is a medical doctor (M.D. or D.O.) specializing in mental health who can prescribe medication and offer therapy for mental disorders.
The initial appointment provides the opportunity for your provider to get to know you. We do this by being curious about your narrative and exploring the nature of your current symptoms. Learning about your history allows us to better understand how to help you. It’s common to feel nervous during the initial appointment, especially when you’re sharing very personal and sensitive information with someone you’ve just met.
Yes! It is absolutely okay to have reservations and to decide against starting medication. Ultimately, it is your choice and your decision on how you would like to proceed with treatment. Your medical provider will make treatment recommendations based on your unique needs. It may be recommended that you move forward with talk therapy as a first step, medication management, or a combination of both.
Medication can help reduce symptoms, while talk therapy can teach you skills to manage symptoms. The combination can be especially effective for conditions like depression and anxiety, where medication alone may not be enough. Additionally, reducing symptoms of trauma, anxiety, or emotional instability can benefit you in talk therapy by allowing you to fully engage during sessions and build on skills you are learning.
Side effects are common to have when initially starting a new medication; typically, symptoms resolve after a couple of weeks. If you start to feel “numb” or “flatlined” with your emotions, it is important to let your provider know. This is something that some individuals might experience, but the good news is that our medical team can easily correct this by adjusting your medication.
Every person has their own unique needs for symptom management. While some individuals prefer to stay on medication long-term, others may only need it for a brief period of time. This is something you can speak with your provider about.