Psychiatrist or therapist:
Which is right for me?

Not sure? That’s ok; we’re here to help.
Call us at 314-286-1700 and our trained staff will guide you to the right approach for your needs.

Types of mental health care providers

Psychiatrists

Psychiatrists are physicians who go to medical school and are able to prescribe medication for conditions like anxiety or depression. While they are trained and able to do therapy as well, they do not do therapy exclusively in our clinic and you can only see a psychiatrist if you are considering medication as a treatment option. Our psychiatrists also work in collaboration with allied health professionals to provide clinical care.

What can you expect when seeing a psychiatrist at Washington University in St. Louis?

  • We offer high-quality, confidential psychiatric care delivered by licensed psychiatrists.
  • Psychiatry appointments are specifically intended for patients who are considering medication as a potential treatment option.
  • We take an evidence-based, patient-centered approach.
  • Intake appointments are 1 hour and follow-up appointments are 20-30 minutes. In the beginning, follow-up appointments occur more frequently as medications are adjusted (e.g. every 3-4 weeks) and over time this may stretch out to as far as every 6 months. ​

Therapists

Therapists can encompass many different trainings and degrees from PhDs in psychology to social work to masters degrees in counseling. There are different types of therapy that are applicable for different conditions and needs. The staff at our appointments desk can point you to the right practitioner for you.

What can you expect when seeing a therapist at Washington University in St. Louis?

We offer high-quality, confidential psychotherapy delivered by licensed mental health professionals.

  • We take a strengths-based, solution-focused approach. We are here to help with emotional struggles you ​and your family might be facing, including:
    • Depression or anxiety
    • Coping with or adjusting to life stress​ors and changes
    • Relationship problems you are unable to resolve
    • Difficulty ​managing strong and difficult emotions
    • Unhealthy behaviors you would like to change
  • Appointments are 45-60 minutes and are usually once a week or every other week​.
  • While the frequency and number of sessions is determined by clinical needs and clinic policies, many people will find benefit in ~6-20 visits. It often takes 6 to 8 sessions to see the first signs of progress. By session 12, the therapist will discuss with you the progress made, the goals of treatment, and the need for additional sessions.
  • Some people need or desire ongoing open-ended psychotherapy. In these cases, we are happy to provide you a list of community providers better suited for ​longer-term psychotherapy​.

Consider a combined approach

We believe strongly in the benefit of psychotherapy in combination with medication for the best success and may encourage you to consider it as part of your treatment. Regular sleep, exercise, good nutrition, and structure in your day are also important for your overall well-being.