Frequently Asked Questions
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A lot of people find the difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist confusing. A psychiatrist is a medically-trained physician who has completed medical school and has spent at least 4 years in specialised training in Psychiatry. Because a psychiatrist is a doctor, she or he can prescribe medication. Many psychiatrists, like Dr Nyuthe, also enjoy providing therapeutic spaces for people who are interested in talk therapy.
On the other hand, psychologists are not medical doctors and cannot prescribe medications. Psychologists receive intensive training in the treatment of mental illness in non-medication ways. They usually have a lot of experience in testing brain function, in understanding ways of being and in monitoring behaviours.
We know a lot more about how the brain works than we ever did before, and scientists continue to research its inner workings. What we know already is that mental illnesses have many origins. A person can be predisposed to developing a mental illness if another family member has had a mental illness, if they are involved in a stressful situation (such as war, certain types of work, car accidents), if they take recreational drugs that alter the mind or if they have another medical condition that is affecting their mental health (like a stroke or head injury). Mental illness is not a weakness and should not be viewed as the person`s fault. There is a lot that can be done about improving psychiatric symptoms.
You should bring your referral letter if you have one and a complete list of your medications (names and doses). If you have any reports or records from other health professionals, you are encouraged to bring those along as well. Dr Nyuthe is happy for you to be accompanied to the appointment by a support person if you wish.
It is important for Dr Nyuthe to understand how your symptoms are affecting you at the present time. As such, she will encourage you to complete 2 short self-reported rating scales that will help her appreciate the severity of your symptoms and for a comparison 3-6 months later if required. A typical first appointment will last one hour. Dr Nyuthe will ask many questions about your life and previous treatments in order to suggest a way forward. She enjoys working collaboratively with patients so you are encouraged to actively participate during this assessment. A short while after the assessment, Dr Nyuthe will provide a written response to your referrer with suggestions for management of your symptoms. If you then chose, you may continue being treated by Dr Nyuthe until your symptoms resolve.