What Qualities are Desired in a Good Psychiatrist?


Finding the Right Psychiatrist for Your Needs

What qualities are most valued in a good psychiatrist?

Is it empathy? Scientific knowledge? Or experience?

We tried to find out about studies on this subject and discovered that the results don’t always coincide, depending on whether you ask psychiatrists, mental health nurses or patients.

In 2007, Mark Taylor and Alison MacRae ([1]) carried out a standardized survey on the opinions of psychiatrists, mental health nurses and patients on what were the main attributes that a psychiatrist should possess, which we entitled “What makes a good psychiatrist?”.

Overall, 244 psychiatrists, 70 nurses and 86 outpatients from all over Scotland completed the survey.

The four main attributes for being a “good psychiatrist” identified by the survey were different for the three groups.

Psychiatrists ranked clinical knowledge as the most important attribute (47.5%); “communicates clearly” came second (20%), “interested in people” third (19%) and “honest and trustworthy” fourth (18%).

The four main attributes identified by the nurses were: accessible (29%), clinical knowledge (27%), communicates clearly (24%) and good listener (14%).

For patients, the rating was even different: good listener (41%), approachable (25%), treats patients as equals (23%) and non-judgmental (16%).

Later, in a study by Craddock N, Kerr M, Thapar A. (2), on the essential attributes of a good psychiatrist, they defined them as:

  • Uses a broad perspective, including biological, psychological and social factors
  • It uses comprehensive and systematic diagnosis of mental and somatic health problems;
  • He has knowledge of a wide range of diseases;
  • It uses extensive experience in biology and clinically relevant aspects of neuroscience;
  • He is willing and able to provide clinical leadership;
  • It embraces complexity and uses pragmatism;
  • It values research and uses evidence;
  • It acts as an advocate for individuals with mental illness, including advocating for high-quality services;
  • It strives to broaden its skills in order to adapt as knowledge develops.

In a 2015 Korean study (3), the ten most highly rated attributes in a good psychiatrist varied depending on whether the question was asked of the psychiatrists or their patients:

1.Respeita a confidencialidadeÉ um bom comunicador e ouvinte
2.Enfatiza a observaçãoRespeita a confidencialidade
3.Modela um bom relacionamento médico-pacienteModela um bom relacionamento médico-paciente
4.É um bom comunicador e ouvinteEnfatiza a observação
5.É experienteÉ consciencioso
6.Possui sabedoria/bom senso/julgamentoDemonstra profissionalismo
7.Tem competência clínicaPossui sabedoria/bom senso/julgamento
8.Tem maturidade/estabilidadeTem maturidade/estabilidade
9.Respeita estudantes, funcionários, pacientes e cuidadoresÉ responsável
10.Demonstra honestidade/integridadeTem maturidade/está estável

Finding a good psychiatrist is essential to ensuring effective treatment for mental health issues. A qualified psychiatrist plays a critical role in caring for patients facing psychological and emotional challenges. Here, we will explore the key qualities that make a psychiatrist an exceptional professional.

  1. Psychiatrist’s empathy: One of the most desired qualities in a psychiatrist is empathy. A good psychiatrist must be able to understand and relate to the patient’s emotions and concerns. Empathy creates a supportive environment that promotes openness and trust between doctor and patient.
  2. Solid clinical experience: An experienced psychiatrist is essential for the effective treatment of psychological disorders. The psychiatrist’s experience allows for precise assessment, diagnosis and the development of personalized treatment plans.
  3. Communication Skills: Communication skills are an essential characteristic of a psychiatrist. The ability to explain diagnoses, treatment options and expectations in a clear and accessible manner is crucial for patient understanding and cooperation.
  4. Holistic approach: A good psychiatrist takes a holistic approach to treatment. This means considering not only the medical aspects, but also the psychosocial, environmental and emotional factors that can influence the patient’s mental health.
  5. Professional Ethics: Ethics are fundamental in any medical practice, and this applies to the field of psychiatry. An ethical psychiatrist puts the patient’s best interests first, maintaining confidentiality and respecting the patient’s rights.
  6. Continuous updating: Medicine is constantly evolving, and a psychiatrist committed to continuous improvement will seek out updates and new knowledge in order to offer the best possible treatment.
  7. Compassion: Compassion is an invaluable quality in a good psychiatrist. It implies a genuine commitment to alleviating the patient’s suffering and providing emotional support during the treatment process.

Finding the right psychiatrist is a crucial step in the quest for mental well-being. Remember that each patient is unique, and what makes a psychiatrist good for one person may be different for another. When choosing a psychiatrist, take these essential qualities into account to ensure that you receive the quality treatment you deserve.

In short, a good psychiatrist combines empathy, experience, effective communication and a holistic approach to provide ethical and compassionate care to their patients. Prioritize these qualities when looking for the ideal psychiatrist for your mental health needs.


(1) Taylor, Mark & MacRae, Alison (2011). What makes a good psychiatrist? January 2011. The Psychiatrist 35(2):75-75

(2) Craddock, N, Kerr, M, Thapar, A. What is the core expertise of the psychiatrist? Psychiatrist 2010; 34: 457-60.CrossRef Google Scholar

(3) Ji Hyun Kim,1 Phern-Chern Tor,2 Joel King,3 and Jeong Seok Seo

A Korean Survey on Qualities and Definition of a Good Psychiatrist;

J Korean Med Sci. 2015 May; 30(5): 632-638.


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