Frequently Asked Questions
Why Do People Consult a Psychiatrist for Their Children?
Parents become exhausted when raising a child who will not listen, sit still, go to bed on time, or follow rules in general. Their child may be very sad, very angry, very distracted, or very misunderstood. Parents say they have tried everything.
Being required to observe COVID-19 guidelines puts an added strain on an already-difficult family situation.
It seems overwhelming, far past the point of raising a curious child who tests limits. The parents are concerned that there may be a brain deficiency, a thyroid problem, or a mental illness, and want to know from a specialist what to do next. Children have a difficult time expressing themselves, and a pediatric psychiatric specialist uses specialized techniques to communicate in those cases.
What Is a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist?
A psychiatrist is different from a psychologist, although people frequently are confused because their training overlaps. A psychiatrist is a Medical Doctor who has graduated from medical school and gone on to receive specialized training in psychiatry and neurology. A child and adolescent psychiatrist has additional sub-specialized education. Psychiatrists are able to diagnose and treat using lab tests, looking at vital signs, prescribing medications, and ruling out conditions such as brain damage that might appear to be psychological conditions.
I Already Am Seeing a Therapist But May Need a Second Opinion. Will You See Me for This Purpose?
Many people come to me asking for a medical perspective on their condition, or needing to adjust medication regimens. I am happy to work together in collaboration with other professionals as part of a team.
My Child Is Afraid of Doctors But Needs Help. How Should I Proceed?
It is common for children, or people of any age, to be hesitant to see a psychiatrist. I have worked for years seeing patients and find I am able to establish rapport and trust across all age groups within a short time. The therapeutic process can proceed fairly quickly when that connection has been made. My knowledge of growth and development, family systems, and psychiatric constructs help me to help others.
How Are You Different from Other Psychiatrists?
Like many other psychiatrists, I have a therapeutic approach that children feel comfortable with, and explain important decisions a family may need to make in an easygoing, factual, confidential and collaborative manner – always scientifically informed. My training as a pharmacist strengthens my ability to identify the right medication and the right dose, particularly when there are other conditions present. While some psychiatrists first learn about a patient at their initial visit, I have a different protocol. Before meeting a patient for the first time, I already have put in several hours of study into the patient’s history and symptoms. If there are school reports or therapists’ notes to review those will already have been analyzed in advance, all the better to be able to know the patient as a unique and developing individual. Some parents submit letters outlining their concerns and questions; all of this is read ahead of time.
Are You Conservative in Your Prescribing Approach?
Patients do not come to me and receive an automatic prescription to try. They come to me because they want a doctor who truly will listen to them, take the time to do a full psychiatric evaluation, and rule out any other underlying issues. In many cases it is not until the second or third session that a medication may be cautiously introduced. When it comes to mental health there are few quick fixes.
I Found You on the Genesight Website, Will You Test My Child?
I offer genetic testing to some of my patients as part of a comprehensive workup, but not as an “a la carte” service.
What Are Some Reasons to Seek Psychiatric Services?
Parents want their children to be HAPPY. I have many patients that want to perform better in school, have better interpersonal relationships with friends and family, be successful and get into a good college. Some patients want to stop hurting themselves and have better self-esteem. Others want to stop getting into trouble at school. By finding the cause of the behavior and treating it correctly, I’ve helped scores of families see significant improvement in these areas.
How Do You Use Telemedicine in Your Practice?
Once COVID-19 forced us to move to online consultations, we were prepared. We already were seeing college students remotely once they had left the area to go to school out of town. We use simple and secure, end-to-end encrypted software for this purpose. We are finding that this method of telepsychiatry is surprisingly effective and – because of the age of our patients – a natural fit to their otherwise electronic comfort level. When you have an office visit with us, it is almost like being in the same room. We conduct our conversations 100% confidentially, both with and without the adults in the same room as the child or teen. When we see our patients in person, we take a weight and blood pressure before each visit; with telehealth visits our patients do it themselves and report it to us. We order lab tests and prescription medications just as we always have, using electronic interface. Everything is HIPAA-compliant. For telemedicine, we use a provider called doxy.me; traffic is sent over a HTTPS interface using full volume encryption and 256-bit AES encryption keys that are rotated regularly. It does not store ePHI.