Recently, Jenny was never sure what kind of mood her 16 year old daughter, Lauren, would be in when she returned from work. Today was no different. She walked into the house and noted absolute silence.  Lauren was in her room with the door shut. Jenny knocked lightly on Lauren’s door, and said “hello honey how was your day?” Lauren snarled back “fine, just leave me alone.” Jenny felt hurt but tried to approach Lauren with tenderness, “honey, do you want anything special for dinner tonight? Dad won’t be home until late, we can even go out if you want.” Lauren retorted “I said, leave me alone. The last thing I want is to spend time with you. I will make my own dinner.” 

Lauren’s irritability had increased dramatically over the last few months. Although she had always been a good student, her grades had recently taken a dip. She seemed to only interact with friends on the computer. She was attending school, but was disinterested in showering, and sometimes even wore her pajamas to class. Out of concern, Jenny and her husband Rick searched Lauren’s room for a clue as to why her behavior had been so erratic. They  found some marijuana and confronted her. She was so angry with them for snooping that she refused to speak to them for weeks. They were crestfallen that their relationship with their daughter had deteriorated and that Lauren seemed to be experiencing such anguish. At the same time, they felt  hopeless, and uncertain how to help her.

Normal Adolescence or Mental Health Problems: Signs Your Teen Needs to See a Psychopharmacologist

Parents are commonly concerned about the well being of their teenagers. Adolescence is a time of huge physical, emotional, and psychological changes. During these years, teenagers can be  irritable towards parents to varying degrees. They often reject their parents, and become resentful when parents make attempts to be closer. This is due to teenagers wanting to separate themselves from their parents, establish their own unique identity, and exert their independence. 

During these turbulent years, it is important to distinguish normal adolescent rebellion from behaviors that indicate your child is suffering from a psychiatric disorder and requires medical attention. In the above example, there are several  indicators that Lauren is experiencing more than growing pains. When a teenager is not grooming or even dressing for school, when  grades suffer, or if an adolescent becomes isolated from their friends and peers, there is cause for concern. If you notice changes in appetite, and large weight fluctuations, there is also likely a need to seek help. Missing school, sleep disturbance, substance abuse, and signs of self harm such as cutting are additional warning signs that your teen needs help.


Why a Diagnosis is Important

If your child is suffering, seeking a psychiatric diagnosis is crucial for many reasons. First, a psychiatric diagnosis helps you and other mental health professionals determine the most effective treatment plan for your child. It allows clinicians to tailor interventions and define a desired treatment response. Second, a diagnosis provides a clear understanding of the underlying issue causing your child’s suffering. It enables you, your child, and the treatment team to speak a common language, and reduce uncertainty and confusion. With a formal diagnosis, you can educate yourself, and even seek help through online or in person support groups. In some cases, it can help your child access legal protections. For example, some children with certain mental health conditions such as Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism, or Anxiety disorders are eligible for special education services or testing accommodations. 


Psychopharmacologist, Psychiatrist, or Psychotherapist? 

The world of mental health can be confusing and difficult to navigate. If you are unsure where to begin, start by going to your child’s pediatrician. This might also be the fastest way to get a vulnerable teenager to the right clinician.  Many pediatricians have become quite adept at picking up common mental health disorders, since the rate of depression and anxiety has skyrocketed in recent years. Most pediatricians have a list of mental health clinicians to whom they can refer. 

If for whatever reason, your pediatrician is not accessible or is not helpful, we recommend seeing a Psychiatrist or Psychopharmacologist if your child is experiencing severe mood changes that  interfere with their ability to care for themselves. Symptoms such as changes in appetite and sleep, as well as poor grooming, substance abuse or self harm typically require consultation with a psychiatrist or psychopharmacologist.  In less severe cases, such as testing anxiety, or sadness after a break up or some other rejection, seeking the help of a therapist might be a better starting point.


What is a Psychiatrist and how are they Different from  Psychopharmacologists?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in the treatment and prevention of mental illness. They can diagnose, prescribe medication, provide psychotherapy, and offer a comprehensive approach to mental health care. Psychopharmacologists are prescribers who specialize in prescribing and managing psychiatric medications.  Many psychopharmacologists do not provide psychotherapy, but some clinicians have specialized expertise in both psychopharmacology and psychotherapy. At The Midtown Practice (TMP), we have two types of prescribers,  psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners (PMHNP’s) and psychiatrists. Although not medical doctors, PMHNPs also have a rigorous course of training that begins with obtaining a license as a registered nurse, attending an accredited PMHNP program, and completing 500 hours of clinical supervision and passing rigorous board exams. At TMP, our psychiatrists and PMHNPs work alongside each other, learning and collaborating together so our patients receive the very best of care. 

What is a Therapist?

Therapists, often known as psychotherapists and counselors, are mental health professionals who provide talk therapy. They are trained to help your child process their emotions, and understand their reactions, and various symptoms. Therapists can help your teenager learn tools to manage their mood and behavior so that they do not interfere with their success. Seeing a therapist is a good choice when your child is facing any type of mental health issue, and often psychiatrists and psychopharmacologists will collaborate with your child’s therapist. A multidisciplinary approach is often the most effective way to address your child’s mental health issues.

What can I Expect from My Child’s First Appointment and What are the Important Questions to Ask

As discussed, when seeking a mental health practitioner for your teenager, try a referral from your pediatrician, friend, or a family member. Researching online is also helpful, although it might be more difficult to obtain online reviews since many mental health patients wish to remain anonymous. 

Many practitioners practice both remotely and in person. Make sure to consult with your teenager about their preference, and if they prefer in person, look for someone that is geographically convenient. Be sure to clarify whether the clinician accepts insurance, and, if not, their fees and if they provide documentation for out of network benefits. 

You can expect that you will participate in your child’s care, and you may be invited into their first session. You might want to ask the clinician specifically how they will handle communication with you, and how you can discuss your concerns without interfering in the therapeutic relationship between clinician and patient. 

Try to find a mental health clinician who is warm and supportive, and with whom you can speak freely. Ask the clinician about their experience and background, and areas of expertise. It is also important to ask about the clinician’s style, for example, how interactive are they and how do they engage their patients, how often do they usually see their patients, and if necessary, will they work collaboratively with your child’s school, pediatrician, or other professionals. 

At The Midtown Practice, before your first visit, we do our best to get to know you and your child over the phone, and match your teenager with a therapist or pharmacologist who has expertise in whatever they are facing. We make every effort to make a good fit based on personal characteristics and individual preferences of you and your teenager.  Our Social Workers, Psychiatrists, PMHNPs, and Licensed Mental Health Clinicians (LMHCs) are all trained to help your child get the most out of their treatment by providing them with information about the therapy process, treatment goals, and checking in consistently to ensure your teenager is on track for progress. 

We understand that it can be difficult for both you and your teenager to initiate this process. We also witness on a daily basis how working with the right clinician can  transform lives. It is tremendously rewarding for us to help families and teenagers heal and see teens gain confidence and thrive. So if you think you or your teenager might benefit from mental health care, please reach out to us at The Midtown Practice. 

Service Locations

New York, New Jersey, Conneticuit, Florida, California & Massachusetts

Get Started Today

We’re pleased you are here, and we’re committed to finding the right person to help you with your mental health.

Step 1: Connect

Finding the right person to help can seem challenging, which is why we offer multiple ways to connect with us. You can schedule a complimentary 20-minute consultation with our highly trained Clinical Coordinator, Alli Malamut, by either:

  • Calling or texting us at: 212-286-8801
  • Email us at:
  • By completing the form to the left.

If you do not reach us directly, you can expect to hear back from us the same day or within one business day.

Step 2: Get Matched

In order to find you an ideal fitting clinician or therapist, our Clinical Coordinator will want to learn more about you. Specifically, it would be helpful to hear about your concerns, personal preferences, and any relevant logistical matters (for example, in-person or video sessions? best time or day to meet?) During this call, please feel free to ask us any questions as well!

Please feel free to share with us if you have already identified someone you would like to work with from Our Team page.

Step 3: Check the fit

Connect with the clinician or therapist you are matched with to ask questions, share history, and make sure you feel comfortable about moving forward. If so, book your first session. If it does not feel right, circle back with us.

Step 4: Get started

Schedule time to meet with your new clinician or therapist and work towards living a more fulfilling life!

Over the years, we’ve found our thoughtful matching process is the surest way to find you an ideal clinician or therapist and achieve the best outcome for you.

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Office Address

18 East 48th Street, Suites 1104 and 1202, NYC 10017