Before your first visit
Your individual provider will most often have new patient psychiatric forms for the parents/guardians to fill out, as well as the child (depending on their age). The instructions to access these forms via an online portal, CHADIS, will be sent to you ahead of time. (link to CHADIS/Appointments part). In the rare cases where there is not an electronic version of a particular form to fill out, these will be mailed to your family ahead of time. Initial evaluations are most comprehensive and informative when these measures have been filled out ahead of time.
Your initial evaluation — What to expect
At your initial psychiatric evaluation, you and your child can expect a detailed history gathering session, including discussing past medical history, past psychiatric history, and the reason for current evaluation. Additional information collected includes medications, allergies, and family history. Depending upon the age and developmental stage of the child, the child psychiatrist may choose to spend part of the time alone with the child. Depending on the provider, this evaluation may be completed in one session or two separate sessions, which will be communicated to you at the time of scheduling.
For therapy appointments, an initial evaluation session may be 60-90 minutes long, so please allow extra time for your first appointment.
Whether to consider medication is a personalized decision, and one that your child and adolescent psychiatrist will discuss at length with you and your child. There are many conditions in children and adolescents for which there are indications to use medications, including but not limited to depression, anxiety disorders, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and psychosis. However, the decision to start a medication, as well as the particular medication, timing, and dose are highly individualized decisions.
How often to see your provider
How often your child visits his or her provider is a personalized decision agreed upon by the child psychiatrist and patient and their family. Typically, there are more frequent appointments initially (often times monthly), which can be spaced out to every 2-4 months over time. For psychotherapy, you might have appointments with your therapist every week for at least 8 weeks. Each appointment might be about 45 minutes to an hour long. As things get better for your child, they might see their therapist less often, until the goals for therapy are met.
Visits are available both in-person and through telehealth.