Psycho education helps my patients understand
- Various treatment options
- Which medications are preferable to others and why
- Benefits and potential side effects of medications in question
- Their diagnosis, development and prognosis with and without treatment
- Life style changes and behavioral modifications that, with or without medication treatment, could improve the prognosis
I am fully aware of the importance of taking the time to help my patients clearly understand these issues. I am doing my best to treat them, but I need them to take responsibility for following through. From our first meeting, which usually takes 45 minutes, I invite my patients to be active participants in their treatment plan, and to let me know what is their degree of comfort related to various treatment options. Good teamwork between my patients and me improves significantly the outcome of the intervention.
My shortest appointment is 30 minutes. Initially, I meet with my new patients more often, usually every two weeks, when I carefully adjust the type and dose of the medication and they become more comfortable with it. The ideal is to use the least amount of medication–with minimum or no side effects–that produces the greatest impact in improving the target symptoms. Gradually, I space out the appointment to once a month or even once every two months. Because in modern psychiatry there are so many medications available to treat symptoms like anxiety, depression, insomnia, mood fluctuations, etc., I find it almost impossible not to be able to find a medication or a combination of medications that improves, to varying degrees, these symptoms. It takes collaboration and patience to find the most suitable combination for each person. But once it is found, it becomes very easy to maintain a good response.
45 minute sessions, weekly or bimonthly or as needed, in which I use a combination of various techniques: Cognitive Behavior Therapy (the preferred therapy method for various forms of Anxiety Disorders and Depression). Interpersonal Therapy • Goal Directed Therapy • Elements of Life Coaching Psychodynamic Therapy • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
The combination–medication and therapy-is tailored to each patient’s needs. So are the frequency or the duration of the sessions. Sometimes, a patient may need a type of intervention in which I do not specialize. In these situations I recommend an appropriate referral to maximize the rate of improvement and the overall prognosis for that patient.
My patient’s well-being is my ultimate goal. I relentlessly pursue it, knowing that the foundation to a good final outcome is laid out from the very first session. I design every intervention with each patient’s unique characteristics in mind. Everything else–frequency of sessions, medication adjustments, referrals, etc.–should follow this goal until we get the desired results. Many of my patients are surprised to see at the end that their improvement exceeded their expectations.