Qualities of a Good Psychiatrist

Dear Diary,

I have heard of friends who’ve been to psychiatrists that were okay, not good, or just plain bad. I make attempts to be positive and so this shall be a post about the qualities a good psychiatrist ought to have. You may not find them all in one doctor (after all, this is a composite portrait of the best practices of a few I’ve seen) so count yourself lucky if you spot one or two in yours.


And if you are a doctor reading this, I hope this helps.

So let’s get started.

1. A good psychiatrist is Attentive

Recently when I went to see my doctor, he noticed that I seemed tired and asked me about it. I was surprised because I felt rather spirited but pointed out that I had less sleep than usual just before visiting him. I was impressed and noted that this was not the first time he noticed little things about me. That I was more talkative than usual (sign of mania) or that I was more quiet/moody than usual (indicator of depression).

I mean, these things seem simple, and perhaps the experience helps, but a patient definitely feels cared for when her doctor notices the little things (which often points to more serious issues).

2. A good psychiatrist Validates

There was this other time when I saw a different psychiatrist who casually mentioned that she wouldn’t mind having a bit of mania.

Outwardly I looked nonchalant, but in my mind I was like “WOW! *Jaw drops*”

I had never encountered a doctor mentioning that he or she would like to have a touch of mental illness, so it was very encouraging to hear a doctor acknowledge the positive side of mania (It makes you more creative and productive in general). To hear that was like healing balm to my soul.

3. A good psychiatrist is Relatable

Then there was this time when the psychiatrist asked me if I had suicidal thoughts or attempts.

I replied that it was a difficult question to answer but that I had existential crises when I was in the midst of preparing for my O and A Levels.

And the reply was, “Let me put it like this. You wouldn’t go and jump in front of a car, but if a car comes and knock you down, you wouldn’t mind cos it’s not your fault. Is that right?”

I was stunned. That was exactly how I felt.

If a doctor is relatable, he or she is a keeper.

4. A good psychiatrist Explains

My doctor would often ask me, “Any questions?” at the end of a consultation because I have often bombarded him with many throughout the years I’ve seen him. A product of the Internet age, a millennial like me has access to the Internet and a whole lot of books on the topic of mental illness, more specifically, bipolar disorder. I have read up on the signs and symptoms of an illness, the potential side effects of medication and the various methods of treatments and schools of thought on those.

He is often kind and patient enough to walk me through whatever information I have discovered and discuss the options I could take. I love it. Nothing beats having flesh and blood (and intelligence) to discuss important topics relating to one’s illness as opposed to a dumb computer that can only dispense information and not delve into the intricacies of every case.

5. A good psychiatrist is Decisive

After the diagnosing and explanation is done, a good physician decides on what method is best. I have taken injections under the firm instruction of my doctor despite my repeated protestations (I hate any form of pain you see). He knows its for my good and administers the treatment.


Whether it’s injections, pills, hospitalization, psychotherapy, or anything else, the psychiatrist must be decisive and make the best decision on behalf of his or her patient.

And of course the patient must trust his or her doctor enough to comply accordingly.

Well, that’s all for today folks, hope this helps!


2 thoughts on “Qualities of a Good Psychiatrist

  1. Pingback: My last day in therapy | diary of a bipolar singaporean girl

  2. Pingback: Relapse | diary of a bipolar singaporean girl

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