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Talking with Your Treating Provider

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Talking with Your Treating Provider

The therapeutic alliance that you form with your treating provider will help make a positive difference in your care experience and treatment outcomes.  That’s true whether it is your primary care provider, a psychiatrist or another health care professional. Forming an alliance increases the likelihood that you will be a true partner in developing and carrying out your treatment plan.

Asking questions of your treating provider keeps you engaged in the care process. Start by thinking through what you are experiencing and how you want to feel and function better. That information should be shared with your provider as you work together in developing your treatment plan.

In talking with your provider, start out by identifying what you want to achieve through treatment to feel and function better. As you are developing a treatment plan, here are 10 proposed questions to consider asking your provider:

  1. Why are you recommending this treatment approach, what is the goal of the recommended treatment and how will it help me feel and function better?
  2. What changes should I expect to see from the proposed treatment – in how I feel and function – and what is the timeframe for seeing those changes?
  3. How will you measure and track progress in achieving my treatment goals and desired outcomes?
  4. What will we do if we do not see improvement, what is our Plan B?
  5. If medication is prescribed, are there also psychosocial therapies that could be used in combination to help me feel better?
  6. What are the risks and benefits associated with the recommended treatment (you may not need to ask this question because most providers will share this information)?
  7. What are the potential side effects of prescribed medication?
  8. How does the recommended treatment work to alleviate symptoms?
  9. What is the long-term plan to treat depression?
  10. Anything else I need to know about treatment for depression?

Being an active participant in your treatment allows you to take control of your mental health and well-being.  The good news is that most people experiencing depression get better with treatment and lead full and productive lives.