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Frequently Asked Questions About Psychiatry

About Psychiatry Services at Commonwealth Psychology Associates®

The psychiatry team at Commonwealth Psychology Associates® (CPA) includes nine Board Certified psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners across our four offices in Boston and Newton. The psychiatry team is led by Medical Director, Dr. Sanja Petrovic. They work collaboratively with their psychologist and neuropsychologist colleagues at CPA to provide high quality, integrated care for our clients. We offer psychiatry services to adults, adolescents, and children ages 8+. 

What is the difference between psychotherapy and psychiatry?

While both disciplines share the goal of improving client daily functioning and outcomes, psychotherapy is centered on talk therapy and behavioral interventions to help ease emotional difficulties. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are trained to examine biological factors along with social and emotional elements. An evaluation by a psychiatrist can help to determine if psychiatric medication may be an appropriate treatment option for an individual client, and if so, which medications are indicated along with the proper dosage.

Medication consultation and ongoing medication management are generally the two main psychiatry services clients come to CPA for. Some psychiatrists may incorporate talk therapy and counseling into their treatment sessions as well, or they may refer clients to a psychologist at CPA for concurrent psychotherapy sessions as part of the overall treatment plan.

Do I need both psychotherapy and psychiatry?

Each client is unique. Many psychological and emotional difficulties can be resolved with psychotherapy. However, there is research indicating that for some conditions, a combination of psychotherapy and psychiatric medication may be the most effective treatment. Your psychiatrist will help you make the best choice for your unique circumstance.

If I see a psychiatrist, will I have to take medication?

No. The purpose of a psychiatric evaluation is to closely look at all the factors that may be contributing to the difficulty you are experiencing. Once the biological, social, and psychological factors involved and how they are interacting is determined, a psychiatrist can make treatment recommendations. Treatment plans including medication may or may not be indicated. The psychiatry team at CPA works collaboratively with clients to hear their concerns, questions, and to agree upon treatment goals. Clients are welcome to meet with a psychiatrist for a consultation and learn about their options.

Will I be on medication forever?

Not necessarily. Each client and treatment plan is unique so how long you may take medication will be determined between you and your psychiatrist. It is common for some clients to take medication during a particularly difficult time so that they are able to experience improved functioning while they are working on emotional and behavioral struggles during therapy. Once symptoms improve, the medication plan can be re-evaluated.

What types of conditions can psychiatric medication help with?

There are a wide range of psychiatric medications for many different types of conditions and diagnoses.
At CPA, our psychiatrists often prescribe medication to help clients experiencing depression, anxiety, and to manage ADHD symptoms.

Do you prescribe medication to children and teenagers?

CPA does offer Child & Adolescent psychiatry services for kids ages 8+. Our Board Certified child psychiatrists are specially trained to examine the role biological, psychological, and social elements may play in emotional and behavioral concerns presenting in children and adolescents. They work with both children and their families to understand the presenting issues, formulate diagnostic impressions, recommend treatment plans, and to provide additional related services such as ongoing medication management, therapy, and collaborating with other healthcare providers. The goal is to help children improve daily functioning in school and social situations, and also to help parents and families learn how to best support their child during treatment.

What if medication doesn’t help or if I don’t like the side effects?

For adult clients experiencing depression that has not responded satisfactorily to medication or psychotherapy, or for those who cannot tolerate the side effects of antidepressant medications, our psychiatrists offer Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy for Depression (TMS Therapy for Depression.) TMS Therapy is an FDA-approved, non-medication treatment for depression. TMS Therapy uses a magnetic pulse similar to that of an MRI and works by stimulating areas of the brain that are underactive in patients with severe depression. TMS Therapy is associated with very few side effects. Generally, a course of TMS Therapy involves five 20 minute sessions per week, for five to six weeks. Clients are able to return immediately to their daily activities after each session. To learn more about TMS Therapy for Depression, click here.

What if it’s difficult for me to travel to your office locations for psychiatry services?

Some clients may be candidates for virtual visits via online TelePsych Services. Virtual visits are just like in-office appointments, but they are conducted via a secure video-conferencing system. This may be ideal for those who may have difficulty traveling to our office locations. Please note the due to licensing and insurance requirements, clients must be physically located in Massachusetts during appointments. To learn more about TelePsych services, click here.

How do I request an appointment with a psychiatrist in Boston, Newton, or online?

Our Board Certified Child & Adult Psychiatrists, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners and Clinical Nurse Specialists offer psychiatric assessment and medication consultation in Boston, Newton-Wellesley, and Newton-Watertown. Our Newton-Wellesley location offers free parking and our offices are just minutes away from Cambridge, Needham, Natick, Framingham. and other MetroWest locations. To request an appointment fill out our brief, online intake form or call us at (781) 551-0999.

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