Finding a mental health/telepsychiatry service provider can be challenging under the best of circumstances. You have to find a provider that you like. It is essential somehow, and this is highly subjective, although discussing differences in styles and understanding transference can be a treatment outcome. People can tolerate a primary care provider, or a dermatologist, who isn’t quite their cup of tea, but when it comes to a psychiatrist or therapist, the effort is even more daunting.
First of all, figuring out what the acronyms mean can be a challenge:
An MD or an MBBS is someone who went to medical school, has completed a four-year residency and is a licensed psychiatrist.
A ‘DO’ is a doctor of osteopathy who trained initially as an osteopath, but has completed a psychiatry residency and is also a licensed psychiatrist and can prescribe medication.
A licensed clinical psychologist has completed a masters degree and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and has several years of training in various psychotherapy modalities. Most psychiatrists do not have psychology PhDs.
An LSCW is a therapist, who has a masters in clinical social work. Some LSCWs continue to obtain two-year diplomas in psychodynamic psychotherapy and pursue CBT certification.
A psychoanalyst is a therapist, who has completed analytic training. Analytic training can take four to eight years. Most psychiatrists and clinical psychologists have not completed analytic training.
Once the letters have been figured out, the next step is the location. Whether seeing a telepsychiatry service provider via telepsychiatry or in the office, the provider has to be licensed in your state of residence or the state, where you are currently working. A provider who is not licensed in your state of residence is breaking the law, and will not be insured if you have a complication.
Not all providers accept insurance, and not all insurance plans adequately cover mental health services. Medication visits can be monthly and sometimes even three monthly visits if stable and symptoms are under control. However, the cost of weekly and biweekly psychotherapy can be expensive. One way to reduce cost is to see a psychiatrist for medication management and to see a therapist weekly within your health plan.
Even if cost and location is not a problem, not all providers are skilled in every type of mental health service. A therapist who has specialized in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may not be trained in Psychodynamic or Analytic therapy. Likewise, a therapist who specializes in psychodynamic psychotherapy may not have experience with relationship or family therapy. Not all psychiatrists are comfortable prescribing controlled substances even if FDA approved, and some substances such as buprenorphine require a special license to prescribe.
Some people prefer to see a telepsychiatry service provider, who speaks their mother tongue, and this is usually recommended with analytic therapy.
Telepsychiatry can help solve the problem of matching you to a telepsychiatry service provider (telepsychiatrist) who specializes in the type of therapy preferred or indicated for the patient, as theoretically you can see any telepsychiatry service provider (telepsychiatrist) licensed in your state, not just a person within a one hour drive which is the cutoff for most patients. Telepsychiatrists are also more willing to cut fees and schedule after hours and weekend visits for telepsychiatry, as they can work from home, fill empty office slots and are not restricted by office opening hours.