Counseling Tips

Can a Counselor Refer You to a Psychiatrist?

Can a Counselor Refer You to a Psychiatrist?

This is a very sought-after question by a lot of people that we will be discussing in this article. Seeing a psychologist is far different from seeing a psychiatrist. Why we said so is that if you want to see a psychologist, you do not need a referral, but when it comes to a psychiatrist, you will need a referral. But the main question here is if a counselor can refer you to a psychiatrist. We will be answering that now.

Can a Counsellor Refer You to a Psychiatrist? A counselor is not a trained psychiatrist, but a counselor can refer you to a psychiatrist. How this happens is that if the client goes to a counselor for help and he/she sees signs that impact mental health, then he/she can refer.

Mental health illnesses require medical treatment, and Counselors are not equipped to handle that. Only a licensed doctor in the form of a psychiatrist can.

Before we go into the details, let us explain to you what a counselor and a psychiatrist is. A counselor is a person that is trained majorly to give guidance or personal or psychological guidance, they help their clients to solve problems that could cause them emotional turmoil, the counselor helps their client to improve communication skills and also to strengthen their self-esteem.

A Psychiatrist on the other hand is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health, not just mental health, but also disorders and substance abuse. A psychiatrist is usually qualified to access the physical and mental aspects of psychiatric issues.

Can a Counselor Refer You to a Psychiatrist?

One thing you need to know is that counselors cannot prescribe drugs. That is the major reason for the counselor referring you to the psychiatrist so that you will be able to get your needed treatment and if need be, medication will be added to it for better results.

The bottom line is if you go to a counselor first and the counseling has been done if there is a need for a psychiatrist, the counselor can do the referral that is why you need to go see a doctor first so that he can then refer you to the psychiatrist.

Also, what are those things that the counselor will notice during the session that will make him decide that you need to see a psychiatrist, or that will make him refer you to a psychiatrist? That is what we will be explaining in this next segment.

This segment is very important so that you will be able to know when and when not to refer a client to a psychiatrist. Also, If you are a counselor reading this and you once had a client who needed a psychiatrist, you need to read this segment of this article to watch out for those signs or those situations that you need to refer your client to a psychiatrist.

These signs are common, we notice them daily but we do not really pay attention to them. Once we explain them, anytime you notice them in your client, you should refer them to a psychiatrist immediately.

In what situations can a counselor refer you to a psychiatrist?

Can a Counselor Refer You to a Psychiatrist?

Like we said earlier, when you go to a counselor, there are certain things he will notice for him to conclude that he needs to refer you to a psychiatrist. Once he sees those signs, then it will be safe to refer you to a psychiatrist.

Let us take you through some of those situations that you will need as a counselor for you to know when you are to refer your client to a psychiatrist.

Long-lasting sadness

This is one thing that you need to look out for when your client gets to you. One could get sad for a moment, that could be as a result of something bad that must have happened. But when that sadness is prolonged and you are starting to get into depression, then you know that at this stage you need to see a psychiatrist.

When you have long-lasting sadness, a whole lot of those things that used to make you feel so good and happy suddenly stop making you happy.

This is as a result of the prolonged sadness. This is not good at all and it is a very obvious sign that one needs to see a psychologist. If there is someone you know that is experiencing this, then you should find a way to refer the person to a psychiatrist. If you do not refer to a psychiatrist in due time the prolonged sadness may result in something that will be more difficult to handle.

When I say something more difficult to handle, you must have heard of situations where someone had prolonged sadness which led to depression and the person ended up committing suicide, you must have heard of such stories. They sound like fiction but it is actually true and it happens to people around you. A psychiatrist will best solve this issue.

Extreme mood changes

This is often referred to as mood swings. This happens when one is in a very happy mood and then all of a sudden, the person goes sad and starts to isolate. If you notice this in someone else, then you know full well that this person needs to see a psychiatrist.

Take note that you are not to visit a psychiatrist if this happens just once to your client or another person because there are other factors that could cause this which is not a mental issue.

But when you notice that the extreme change in mood in yourself or the other person is getting too much, then you know that it has resulted in something that needs the attention of a psychiatrist.

When the psychiatrist comes in, then you know that something good will be done and you will be able to get a solution. You should refer your client to a psychiatrist for immediate help.

Social withdrawal

Most times, this happens when someone who used to be so outgoing and jovial suddenly withdraws from social activities and chooses to be on his own all the time. When this happens to your client or to another person, then you know that something is wrong somewhere.

If your client is the one experiencing this, something must have caused it and there is a need to see a psychiatrist to help decipher and provide a possible solution. This could aggravate from just social withdrawal and it could escalate into something like loneliness and even if care is not taken it could result in depression.

One quick way to help someone in this situation is to convince him to join you in a social gathering where he could meet with people and get distracted from what could really be bothering him. That alone is also a form of therapy and it helps a whole lot.

A comedy show is better, this is because laughter is therapeutic. Once the person gets to laugh; it helps to forget certain things that could be causing the mental problem. If the laughter helps the person starts to feel better then you can go ahead to refer him to a psychiatrist. Why this is better is because the person starts to feel a little bit better after having some laughs or staying with friends for a while.

One good thing about staying with friends is that the discussions you have can in some way distract you and take your mind off the things that are making you withdraw from the crowd. It still boils down to seeing a psychiatrist at the end, you should not neglect that at all.

A drastic change in sleeping pattern

When on a normal day someone is used to eating well and sleeping well as well and you notice that there is a sudden change in the person’s eating pattern. At this point, food does not excite or even interest the person at all, then you should know that there is a problem somewhere, it is not just an ordinary problem, it is a mental one and something needs to be done about it.

What should be done is that the person experiencing it should be referred to a psychiatrist as soon as possible. Also, changes in sleeping pattern are not a good thing at all, sleep is a very important aspect of one’s health, when you do not get enough sleep it could result in health issues that may result in something worse.

If your client is the one experiencing this you should refer him to a psychiatrist as soon as possible. When your client meets with the psychiatrist, your client and the psychiatrist will have a conversation and he will provide a possible behavioral solution that will help to curb the mental issues that your client may be having.

These four signs are how you will know that one needs to see a psychiatrist. There are more to it, but the ones that we explained here are the ones that are very common and the ones that you will see on a daily basis.

As a counselor, you will be able to handle those emotional problems that your client complains to you about, once you are in the session with your client and you notice that the problem is drifting towards things like a change in sleeping pattern, social withdrawal, or, long-lasting sadness, then you should know that this problem should be handled by a psychiatrist.

What you should do is that you should refer the client to a psychiatrist immediately. Once that is done you have made it easy for your client.

BetterHelp further illustrates, with a huge library of articles, the reasons behind seeing a psychiatrist, what to expect when visiting one, etc.

Final words

Can a Counselor Refer You to a Psychiatrist?

We have said earlier in this article that a counselor can refer you to a psychiatrist However, they cannot diagnose or prescribe, they are not psychiatrists. They are just counselors and what a counselor does is that they are trained majorly to give guidance or personal or psychological guidance.

They help their clients to solve problems that could cause them emotional turmoil, the counselor helps their client to improve communication skills and also to strengthen their self-esteem.

We said this earlier and we are saying it again so that you do not mix who a counselor and a psychiatrist is. A psychiatrist is not a counselor, also, a counselor is not a psychiatrist, a psychiatrist is Who is a Psychiatrist? A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health, not just mental health, but also disorders and substance abuse. A psychiatrist is usually qualified to access the physical and mental aspects of psychiatric issues.

You can see clearly the difference between a counselor and a psychiatrist. If you read it so well, you will notice that some of the major difference is that psychiatrists are trained for a specific purpose and they are also able to diagnose and prescribe.

A counselor is not able to do all these things, that is why as a counselor you need to refer some of your clients who have some of the symptoms we listed above to a psychiatrist.  Psychiatrists are actually medical doctors, counselors are not.

Signs like social withdrawal, drastic change in sleeping pattern, extreme mood changes, and long-lasting sadness. These are the signs that you will notice in your clients as a counselor that will make you conclude that your clients need to be referred to a psychiatrist. The sign that is most common is long-lasting sadness, as a counselor, you may have had a lot of these situations.

When you have long-lasting sadness, those things that used to make you happy and make you feel good will suddenly stop making you happy. Why this is so is because of the prolonged sadness. This is not good at all and it is a very obvious sign that one needs to see a psychiatrist.

You should make sure that your client is referred to a psychiatrist so that he/she can get help. You may not know; you may be saving a life.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Mayfair
    January 8, 2021 at 9:17 pm

    You typically don’t need a referral for a psychologist, but to see a psychiatrist, you will need a referral from your doctor.

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