During Covid lockdown, all interviews are being done online, so the process is a bit different from face-to face: but it is easy to get used to.
If someone wants you to see a to see a psychiatrist, they must be worried about you. I will want to ask you what you are worried about: preferably on your own, if you are old enough to want this. I will also want to see your parents, preferably with you there. This will usually take at least 90 minutes in total.
There may be questionnaires before and/or after the appointment, and I will want to see any letters about you that I think might be relevant. I will need your permission and your parents’ permission to see these, and to contact anyone else who is worried about you, such as your school.
Once we (you and I and your parents) have all the information we need, then we can decide together what to do next. This may involve seeing you again‑‑‑alone or with your family‑‑‑and/or referring you to someone else, and/or trying some medication. I will write a letter for you and your family detailing what we have said, with a briefer version for your GP.
If you contact me for advice about your under-18-year-old, I will discuss with you before we first meet‑‑‑either by email or telephone‑‑‑whether a meeting is necessary, and if so what its purpose might be. We may decide that it is not appropriate for you to involve a psychiatrist, in which case I will try to suggest alternatives.
If we decide psychiatric involvement is necessary, I will set up an initial meeting with you and your child—either face-to-face or online. This usually includes speaking with your child alone (if they are old enough), as well as together with everyone who attends‑‑‑ for at least a part of the time. Other combinations are also possible, if requested, such as two parents without the young person; or the young person and a close friend.
My priority has to be firstly the child or young person, and secondly the parent(s). Since I am a Family Therapist, I am used to combining these two priorities into a seamless whole.
Where necessary, I will need your permission to obtain any new information from other sources, such as the school. With the exception of ADHD assessments, this will usually need to wait until after our first meeting, since it is important that we all agree about this. We will also need to agree on how much information I can share with other professionals.
Once we (you and I and your child) have all the information we need, we can then decide together what to do next. This may include one or more of: