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  • Writer's pictureRyan Sheridan, NP

How To Find the Best Psychiatrist or Psych NP in Washington DC

Updated: Dec 26, 2023

Finding the best psych NP or psychiatrist in Washington DC, or really anywhere else, entails a mix of diligent research and individual preferences.

Finding the best psych NP or psychiatrist in Washington DC, or really anywhere else, entails a mix of diligent research and individual preferences.

Here's my Seven Step Guide to Discovering the Best Psych NP or Psychiatrist in Washington DC. (Hint: I'm a psych NP in DC offering top-notch, expert psychiatric services, therapy, and more).

Locating the best psychiatrist in Washington DC, or any anywhere else, involves a blend of thorough research, recommendations, and individual preferences.

Here are seven steps to guide you in finding a suitable psychiatrist who aligns with your specific needs:

  1. Referrals/Word of Mouth

  2. Online Resources

  3. Reviews and Testimonials

  4. Training, Specialties, and Expertise

  5. Consultations

  6. Location and Availability

  7. Go with Your Gut

Referrals/Word of Mouth

TL;RD: This might be the highest yield step. Word-of-mouth referrals from friends, family, or other healthcare providers. We all love having a warm connection from someone we can trust.

Consider seeking recommendations from the following sources:

  1. Friends and family: Have a chat! Not just about finding a psych np or psychiatrist but also about why you’re searching for help. Opening up to your inner circle is huge in overcoming mental health struggles. Turning to those around you is a form of therapy itself!

  2. Primary Care Provider (PCP): While seeking referrals from those outside your immediate circle may feel awkward, your primary care provider is a great place to start. They can offer recommendations based on their knowledge of your history, plus you already talk with them about fun stuff like your bathroom habits so what’s the worst that can happen?

Relying on referrals from those closest to you provides a level of confidence and comfort, positively influencing the outcomes of the therapeutic process. Additionally, referrals can address practical considerations, streamlining the logistics of initiating therapy. Friends, family, or your PCP can provide valuable information on:

  1. Office proximity to your work or home.

  2. Hourly and daily availability.

  3. Insurance acceptance or out-of-network fees.

  4. Psychiatry style, such as telehealth, concierge, or in-office sessions.

Online Resources

TL;DR: Explore online platforms and directories that provide comprehensive information about psychiatrists, including their backgrounds, specialties, and patient reviews. While this can be helpful, much of this is highly curated and doesn’t really show us the full picture.

In mental health care, online psychiatry directories have become great tools. Psychology Today, Healthgrades, and Zocdoc, allows users to filter search results based on factors like location, specialty, insurance, and more.

Beyond directories, there is a ton of information all over the internet.. Here are a few of my recommended sites for patients:

1. CHADD for ADHD 2. Journaling prompts 3. Calm App for mental health exercises 4. Insight Timer for meditation 5. Stress and Resilience Center

As a valuable supplement to referrals, exploring these online resources allows you to conduct thorough research and gain a deeper understanding of potential psych nps or psychiatrists before making a decision.

Be sure to review pertinent information about a potential provider’s education, treatment specialties, and availability.

Reviews and Testimonials

TL;DR: Of course carefully reviewing testimonials may be a good idea. But how many Amazon reviews turn out to be fake? Healthcare reviews are no different. Scan the reviews for authenticity. Note the dates and times. Are they posted weirdly close together? What about the tone of voice and vocabulary? If they are sound the same, that’s a red flag. Also, remember that with mental health, many folks are apprehensive to share their struggles publicly, so reviews may not be representative of the full picture.

Exploring reviews and testimonials from past patients can be a valuable step in your decision-making process. Recognize that individual experiences are subjective, but identifying patterns in positive or negative feedback can offer insights into what to anticipate.

While testimonials don't unveil the complete narrative, they can provide a glimpse into whether a psychiatrist or psych np has a history of success in treating conditions similar to yours. Positive reviews might spotlight qualities like empathy, effective communication, and attentive listening. While negative feedback can serve as red flags, signaling potential issues such as prolonged wait times, a subpar bedside manner, or ineffective treatment approaches. Take these with a grain of salt, though, as again much of this can be fabricated or only partially true, regardless of the source or message of the review.

Also, what might be a deal-breaker for some individuals may not be a concern for others. Positive and negative reviews might be relative. For example, extended wait times might pose challenges for those with busy schedules, but they could also signify a provider who dedicates extra time and care to their patients. Quick resolutions to mental health disorders, while sounding appealing, might indicate a psychiatrist primarily dealing with less intense cases.

Reviews and testimonials should be regarded as complementary to your overall search process rather than the sole determinant. Many reviews provide a sense of reassurance and comfort during what can be a challenging and vulnerable process. Knowing that others have had positive experiences with a specific psych np or psychiatrist can help calm anxiety about seeking mental health help and encourage you to take the next step in scheduling an initial consultation.

Training, Specialties, and Expertise

TL;DR: This one is simple, don’t go looking for a plumber when you need a painter! If you live in Washington, DC and have ADHD, look for someone who is an expert on ADHD in Washington, DC. Consider the psychiatrist's educational background, specialties, and professional expertise, ensuring they align with your specific mental health needs.

It is important that a provider’s credentials match your concern. Meaning, if you’re looking for something related to mental health, you probably need a psych np, psychiatrist, or therapist. Also, board-certification is important as it indicates the provider has been tested in their field. (Yes, an FNP or family doctor can prescribe psych meds, but they likely don’t have the best understanding as someone who is specifically trained in psychiatry.) Psychiatric specialties include a diverse range:

  1. Integrative Psychiatry: This is where I practice. Simply stated, this is a holistic treatment approach that seeks to determine root causes and treat symptoms in a holistic manner.

  2. Addiction Psychiatry: Specializes in treating substance abuse, compulsive habits, addiction cycles, and addresses issues ranging from alcohol dependency to eating disorders.

  3. Geriatric Psychiatry: Assists individuals aged 60 and older with mental health or cognitive disorders such as dementia, chronic depression, and anxiety.

  4. Neuropsychiatry: Specializes in mental health or cognitive disorders arising from brain development and physical trauma, including conditions like autism, ADHD, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

In my office, various forms of holistic treatment and therapy are offered, including:

  1. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

  2. Nutritional counseling

  3. Exercise counseling

  4. Coaching

  5. Medication management

  6. Supplement prescriptions


TL;DR: I always offer a free intro. Schedule consultations with potential psychiatrists to discuss your concerns, ask questions, and assess their approach and compatibility with your preferences. Be sure you can speak directly with the provider, not just a receptionist.

Many providers, psych nps, and psychiatrists offer initial consultations, either at no cost or for a nominal fee, providing a valuable opportunity to openly discuss concerns, ask questions, and assess whether the psychiatrist aligns with your needs.

These consultations serve as an accessible entry point into psychiatric care, particularly beneficial for those hesitant about committing to ongoing treatment. They facilitate the process by:

1. Offering a Low-Barrier Discussion: Providing a platform to discuss concerns with a mental health professional without a significant time or financial commitment. 2. Exploring Treatment Options: Allowing individuals to assess whether professional psychiatric treatment is the appropriate next step for their mental health journey. 3. Assessing Compatibility: Providing insight into the psychiatrist's approach to treatment, helping determine if they are the right fit for your specific needs.

For those still uncertain about pursuing mental health treatment, consultations play a crucial role. Approximately 50% of adults facing mental health challenges hesitate to seek treatment, often grappling with uncertainty about psychiatry versus psychology and what their specific needs may be.

Consultations become a vital step not only in gauging the suitability of a psychiatrist but also in deciding if psychiatric care is the right path.

After a free intro with me, even if treatment is not initiated with me, individuals can gain guidance or referrals to other mental health resources, helping to find the most suitable solution for them! These consultations become educational opportunities, allowing individuals to better understand their mental health conditions and make informed decisions.

Location and Availability

TL;DR: Do you prefer telehealth or are in-person appointments important? Take into account the location and availability of the psychiatrist, ensuring that the practical aspects, such as travel convenience and appointment availability, meet your requirements.

Especially in traffic prone cities like Washington, DC, location and availability are not just logistical details; they can significantly impact your decision when choosing a psych np or psychiatrist. Your busy life can be further stressed by a lengthy commute or inconvenient appointment times, potentially affecting your commitment to treatment.

Consider both the location and hours of operation of a psych np psychiatrist. Opting for one who is conveniently located or offers online appointments, along with accommodating scheduling, can enhance your ability to adhere to regular sessions.

Consistent and ongoing care is often necessary for mental health issues. If the psychiatrist's office is too far away, the likelihood of missed appointments, delayed progress, and added stress increases. Conversely, a conveniently located psychiatrist's office or telepsychiatry option makes it easier to integrate mental health into your daily life, increasing the chances of sticking to your treatment plan and achieving better outcomes.

Availability is equally critical, especially when unexpected mental health crises or urgent concerns arise. A good psych np or psychiatrist should offer reasonable appointment availability to ensure timely access to care. Flexibility in scheduling, including evenings or weekends, can accommodate your busy work or family life.

Every provider’s treatment style and accommodations differ. Evaluating how a psychiatrist's location and availability align with your schedule is crucial in finding the best fit.

Go with Your Gut

TL;DR: If you feel uneasy even before your first appointment, that may be a sign it is not a good fit. Listen to your instincts and evaluate how comfortable and connected you feel with the psychiatrist during consultations. Trusting your intuition is a crucial aspect of building a positive therapeutic relationship.

After gathering all the necessary information, trust your intuition and choose a psych np or psychiatrist with whom you feel comfortable, respected, and cared for. Even if you've diligently followed the steps outlined, if something feels off, it's best to go with your intuition.

Conversely, exceptional consultation experiences can sometimes outweigh completing every step of the guide. If you've only covered a few steps but had a positive consultation and are ready to commit, go for it. Ultimately, you are the best guide to finding the right psychiatrist for you.

Remember: finding the right psychiatrist or psych np may require time and effort, but investing in your mental health is always worthwhile in the long run!


Incorporating these tips into your search for the right psych np or psychiatrist significantly increases the likelihood of making a well-informed decision. Whether you are in Washington DC, or any other location, use these steps as a resource to help find the best mental health provider for your needs.

Ryan Sheridan, NP - best psychiatric provider in Washington DC

I work with folks in the Washington DC area (and Colorado and Missouri) seeking a more balanced approach to managing depression, anxiety, ADHD, and burnout. Request an appointment here.

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