Having a good relationship with your psychiatrist is very important.
Your psychiatrist will encourage you to talk openly about your mental health, personal life and private thoughts.
Having a psychiatrist you are comfortable talking to makes it more likely you'll get better, faster.
Can I choose my psychiatrist?
Usually, your GP (family doctor) will choose a psychiatrist when they write your referral.
But you can also ask your GP to refer you to a psychiatrist of your choice.
If you are seen in a public hospital or community clinic you will be assigned a psychiatrist.
What should I look for in a psychiatrist?
There are a wide variety of psychiatrists.
Some have a special interest or training in the treatment of children, older people or veterans, for example.
Some have a special interest in a particular mental illness.
Before you see a psychiatrist, talk to your GP and take some time to think about:
- practical things like location, cost and clinic opening hours
- the type of person you are most comfortable talking to – think about your preferred age, gender, cultural background and language
- if you need someone with a special interest in your condition
- if you need someone with a special interest in a particular treatment.
How much will it cost?
If you have questions about fees, speak to the clinic's receptionist before your first appointment.
More about the cost to see a psychiatrist
How do I find a psychiatrist?
Find a Psychiatrist is a free online directory of psychiatrists in Australia. Produced and managed by the RANZCP, it provides the most authoritative and up-to-date information on Australian psychiatrists who you can see outside of the hospital system.
Using the search fields you can look for a psychiatrist who:
- is close to where you live
- treats people with your condition
- is your preferred gender
- speaks a language other than English
- has particular skills or experience
- offers a particular treatment.
Use the Find a Psychiatrist directory
What if I don’t have many options?
If you don’t have the right psychiatrist nearby, you can get help via telepsychiatry.
This is where you have an appointment with a psychiatrist over the internet (for example via Skype).
More about seeing a psychiatrist online
Can I change my psychiatrist?
Talk to your psychiatrist or GP at any time about:
- changing to a new psychiatrist
- getting a second opinion
- problems with your treatment.
Talking to your psychiatrist first is a good idea because:
- if you feel your treatment is not working, there are often other options available
- stopping treatment suddenly can set you back in your recovery
- your psychiatrist can refer you to another doctor.