New Psychiatrist Questions

New Doctor Questions

  1. If I need to call you, how long do you usually take to respond?  Do you have another doctor on-call if you’re on vacation?
  2. If I ask you questions, will you give me detailed information about why you think I need a certain treatment? I need to know the rationale behind your suggestions.
  3. What drugs do you frequently prescribe to your patients? Have you had success with these drugs?
  4. How much experience have you had with atypicals?
  5. Will you prescribe drugs “off-label” if you think it will benefit me?
  6. Will you discuss any side effects of the medication you’re treating me with, and do you have a plan in case I develop a side effect?
  7. Is your focus on mental illness treatment and recovery, or do you have a general clientele? Are you willing to be creative in custom-tailoring solutions to my treatment needs?
  8. If my parents or a third-party person needed to speak on my behalf or talk to you about my treatment, how would you handle that?
  9. What would a typical session with you be like?
  10. Do you have an area of expertise with certain illnesses?
  11. Where did you get your degree? Are you Board Certified?  How long have you been in practice?
  12. What do you feel challenges and inspires you as a doctor? [This could tell you a lot about their personal work ethic.]
  13. What hospitals do you have admitting privileges with?
  14. Are you willing to coordinate my treatment with my primary care doctor or get the results of blood work or tests from this doctor to integrate my whole health care outlook?
  15. Do you have evening or morning or weekend hours?
  16. Do you test for tardive dyskinesia? Have you ever had a patient who developed this, and what has been your experience with treating TD?
  17. Do you take my insurance? Will you bill my insurance company or do you expect me to pay up front and then submit my own claim form for reimbursement?
  18. Do you believe someone can recover from a mental illness? [This question is the gold standard. If at all you get the idea that this doctor doesn’t believe recovery is possible it will benefit you to keep looking until you find a professional who is interested in seeing his or her patients succeed in life.]

Feel free to ask any other questions that come to you that aren’t listed above and when you begin treatment also develop your own questions in addition to the ones listed below.


How to Find a New Doctor

This upsets me: I made a promise I couldn’t keep, and I regret this.

As the Health Guide at the HealthCentral SZ website I was sometimes asked to recommend a shrink, from people in India and Saudi Arabia of all places.

When I talked to a colleague recently, he suggested it’s not as simple as handing a person the name and number of an M.D.

In the interest of providing a better answer, in this blog entry I’ll detail my experience with choosing a doctor.

Then in the next entry I’ll list Psychiatrist Questions you can ask any prospective shrink.

The M.D. has to know the patients history: their unique constellation of symptoms; track record with taking meds–and numerous other details.

In 2003 I researched the names of three doctors and called them on the telephone to screen them.

One shrink required that I sign a waiver of liability releasing him from any responsibility.

I thought: if he doesn’t trust me, how can I trust him? Further: it revealed that he wasn’t confident enough in his own judgment and expertise in treating patients. If he was confident, no waiver would’ve been needed.

Shrink #1: ruled out.

Doctor #2 operated out of a low-income clinic. The person who answered the phone told me point blank that I wasn’t a candidate for a low-income clinic. (I kid you not.)

M.D. #3 had decided to retire and no longer had a practice.

Dr. A was the final choice that a former friend recommended.

As soon as I entered his office and he shook my hand, I thought: “This is the guy I want treating me.”

He hadn’t even opened his mouth. He hadn’t even started the intake.

You should always go with your intuition. The first time I met Dr. A I grilled him in detail. I had walked into his office with a list of 20 questions.

I recommend grilling 3 doctors and using your intuition to choose the shrink you think is the best one to treat you or your loved one.

(I’ve also had success using my intuition to choose a therapist and an apartment I wanted to buy.)

Now I’ll sing off and post another blog entry with a list of Psychiatrist Questions.

Librarians of Tomorrow Teen Internship

Librarians of Tomorrow Teen Internship Program details:

Want to make a difference in your community? Brooklyn Public Library is now recruiting motivated high school students from diverse backgrounds with an interest in library services to apply for an innovative, hands-on internship program!

New York City teens in grades 10-12 are welcome to apply for a chance to build academic, college, and career readiness skills with support from a mentor.

Choose from a variety of program tracks, including Digital Media, Humanities, and Youth and Family Services, while earning a stipend and volunteer service hours.


For further information on how to apply, please visit us online at, or contact us at 718.230.2406 or

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services RE-95-17-00-16-17.

According to a news article in the Washington Post:

“If President Trump gets his way, the institute, along with 18 other agencies, will be eliminated. It finances programs at 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums.”

Yes, Mr. Toupee is giving the ax to the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

This means no more funding for programs like Librarians of Tomorrow Teen Internship.

Now that Mr. Toupee’s Tax Plan gives Steep Tax Cuts to Corporations he has to make up for the Loss in Tax Revenues by Robbing Money from Other Budget Sources: notably anything dealing with HUMAN-ities.

Need I say more? If you are in grades 10-12 and live in Brooklyn, NY or know of a teen to tell who qualifies for this program, you’d better apply soon or have the teen apply soon.

Your tax dollars are going to be diverted from these kinds of opportunities and put into–where exactly will the funding money be going now?

Something to think about.

Mr. Toupee: you don’t have to give me a $12,000 standard deduction on my income tax form. I for one don’t want any money that could be spent on funding the humanities.

Mr. Toupee’s Tax Plan will REPEAL:

The ability to deduct Student Loan Interest on your Tax Return.

The ability to deduct Medical Expenses on your Tax Return.

The ability to deduct Mortgage Interest on your Tax Return

You will no longer be able to deduct these expenses on your tax form.

I urge you to apply right away if you fit the criteria for this Librarians of Tomorrow internship and live in Brooklyn, NY.

In a coming blog entry I will detail Mr. Toupee’s plan to repeal the ADA Act provision that requires businesses to be wheelchair accessible.

You betcha, pretty soon businesses will no longer have to be wheelchair accessible.



Rude Coworkers

I want to talk about the topic of rude coworkers. I might have talked about it before.

The November issue of Elle women’s magazine has an interesting feature about workplace dynamics between men and women.

The bottom line is: I’ve found from real life experience that there’s very little you can do about rude coworkers.

In effect management turns a blind eye to how people treat each other in the workplace.

You can’t tattle on your coworker like you’re a kid ratting out another kid to your teacher. It doesn’t work that way in the world of work.

The November issue of Elle reported on male coworkers who reported to a female boss. Yet instead of giving her their work directly they went above her head to the male supervisor.

I just don’t get this: how a lot of people in America seem to be only in it for themselves in how they interact with other people.

I used to say that you should limit your involvement with rude coworkers.

Yet unfortunately this particular coworker might call the shots where you work.

It also comes down not only to gender in terms of how a woman might be treated on the job.

It comes down to whether your mental health diagnosis is out in the open where you work.

For this alone I don’t recommend disclosure on the job.

I would say: be professional. Stand your ground. Be polite. If you show you can’t be rattled, the rude coworker just might give up. They might give up when they see it’s not worth their effort to be rude because it’s not getting a rise out of you.

Often, people act that way to get a rise out of another person. Yet when they see they can’t get a rise out of you that might just deflate their efforts.

My experience is that I’ve been the victim of verbal abuse in the workplace.

The manager wouldn’t do anything about it. That’s been my experience: you’re left on your own to bear the brunt of a coworker’s rudeness.

Perhaps some of what I’ve said in here will make sense.

I recommend female readers buy a copy of the November issue of Elle to read about various types of workplace dynamics.

The magazine also had an interesting article about mentoring.

Meal Plan #2

gran padano

I’ve become committed to eating more healthful food options and cutting out the junk.

I think that as a person gets older cutting out the junk food is imperative.

Our older bodies aren’t always as spry as we were in our twenties and thirties.

So it makes sense to cut out the junk. We can replace the junk with food that gives us energy and stamina throughout the day.

Here was yesterday’s meal plan:


Purely Elizabeth Ancient Grains granola with skim milk

8 oz organic orange juice

A.M. Snack:

Plain yogurt (Greenmarket fare)


Caprese Salad

(Heirloom tomato slices layered with fresh mozzarella slices.)

P.M. Snack:

Plain yogurt

Dinner in photo above:
Organic zucchini stuffed with gran padano shredded cheese

Scoop out inside of zucchini. Sprinkle with parmesan or goat cheese.

Heat at 350 in oven for 25 to 30 minutes.

(I used gran padano because I didn’t have parmesan cheese.)

Night Snack:

1 organic Anjou pear

On the Calendar for 2017

I want to talk about something I refer to in the second book I’m trying to get published.

It’s linked to the blog entry I published Thursday on the Left of the Dial blog.

The last I checked the calendar in my apartment it was 2017. Check the calendar where you live. Does it say 2017? Good.

I refer in the book to the idea that you should think before you speak and think before you act. It related to how you interact with coworkers on a job.

I’ve had the experience of having a person offload onto an audience their experience with a microaggression.

Google the term. It’s unbelievable to me that these kinds of hateful and hurtful comments go on circa today 2017.

May I ask why it seems a lot of people think they’re better than other people who are viewed as different?

What I write in the second book refers to how to act on the job and in the workplace.

In the coming weeks I’ll be writing about job topics.

In this blog entry now I’ll end by reiterating that there’s no excuse for the hate in the world.

Each of us can do the right thing regardless of how our family acted. We can break the chain of any hate that was passed down over the years. We do not have to continue in the vein of our families.

I urge readers to think before you speak. Think before you act.

What people living in the world need now more than anything is love.

What’s Happening

I’ve just printed up four copies of a manuscript and been editing the copies since two weeks ago.

The book is now skeletal in a good way: it’s shorter and has competitive information for mental health peers.

I’m keeping the title and the specifics under wraps. I hope to publish this book in one year–in October 2018 in time for Disability Employment Awareness Month.

My literary agent is confident that I should take a break from this book project and enjoy the coming weekend.

This weekend I would like to publish another Meal Plan here.

I’ll also publish in this Flourish blog  a complementary version of a blog entry linked to the blog entry I published today at the Left of the Dial blog.

Really when I titled my memoir Left of the Dial it was a prescient tactic. Now I’ve immortalized in print what I think is a healthier way to live your life.

I’ll be talking more about this in the two blogs in the coming days.