Psychiatry At The Westlake Clinic

What are a psychiatrist’s special skills?

All psychiatrists will learn how to:

• assess a person's state of mind
• use the “bio-psycho-social” model of understanding. This emphasizes the importance of a person's past experiences, family, culture, surroundings and work as well as any medical features.
• diagnose a mental illness
• use a range of psychological treatments
• use a range of medications
• help a person recover

As well as these 'core' skills, a psychiatrist will specialize and develop skills in working with the particular problems that affect different groups of people.

For example:

• a general adult psychiatrist needs to develop skills in talking with people who have disordered thinking and hallucinations.
• a child psychiatrist will usually develop skills in working with families and with the special needs of children.

How do they work?

Psychiatrists sometimes see patients on their own in an out-patient clinic. More often, they work as part of a team with colleagues from other professions such as nursing, social work, psychology and occupational therapy. The team will ask the psychiatrist to see patients, either on their own or with another member of the team present. The psychiatrist will also work as a consultant to the team, discussing people's individual mental health needs and working out how to best manage them. The psychiatrist will also review patients with other team members in their regular team review meetings.

What might a psychiatrist ask me about?

A psychiatrist will ask you about the problem that has brought you to see them. They may also ask about anything that has happened in your life, your thoughts and feelings and your physical health. This is so that he or she can get a thorough understanding of your situation.

What might a psychiatrist recommend?

• Psychological treatments
• Medications
• Practical ways of dealing with an illness
• Practical ways to stay well
• Ways to get active, see other people and get back to things you like doing.

What can I ask the psychiatrist about?

You might want to ask about:

• Your diagnosis (if any)
• How your psychiatrist has made sense of your situation
• How best to sort out your problems
• Your care plan
• What to do in an emergency, or even just if your situation changes
• Information about your diagnosis, treatment or recovery. This might include websites, books or leaflets
• Local self-help groups

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