Frequently Asked Questions

The following are common questions asked by patients and thier families when seeking psychiatric consultations or treatment.  For additional information, please Contact Us.  We will be happy to assist you with any questions you may have.

What Are Some Reasons to See a Psychiatrist?

Parents and families often worry when their child or teenager seems to have a problem which causes them to be sad, disruptive, rebellious, inattentive, unable to cope with things, or to get involved with drugs and alcohol. They may be concerned about their child or adolescent’s development, eating and /or sleeping patterns, and how they are getting along with family, friends, and at school.  The Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist is uniquely qualified to understand the full range of factors associated with emotional difficulties and mental disorders that can affect children and adolescents.  Additionally, because child and adolescent psychiatrists have training and experience working with adults, many adults will seek treatment from a psychiatrist who has the understanding and background of working across the lifespan.  Adults who are having problems with mood, relationships, work or productivity may seek the assistance of a psychiatrist.  Commonly, Dr. Portteus will work with several members of a family. In his practice, Dr. Portteus sees children, adolescents, and adults; his practice is about half children and adolescent and half adult.

Who Does a Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatrist Treat?

Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists are physicians who specialize in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating children and adolescents with psychiatric disorders which cause problems with feeling, thinking, and behavior. They are specially trained and qualified to treat infants, children, adolescents, and adults as individuals, couples, families, and groups.  Because a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist has training in both adult and child psychiatry, and because their additional training provides them a unique perspective to understand the role childhood experiences play in adulthood, many adults will seek treatment from a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist.

What Type of Training does a Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatry Have?

A Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist has 9 to 10 years of special training. Child psychiatric training includes: 4 years of medical school after which the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree is awarded; 1 year of supervised general medical practice in an approved residency program in a hospital, 2 or 3 years of supervised training in general psychiatry in an approved residency, and then 2 additional years of supervised training working with children, adolescents, and their families in an approved Child and Adolescent Psychiatry residency.

The Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist is a physician licensed to practice medicine. After completing the above training, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist is eligible to take an examination to become Board certified in General Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. After successfully completing this examination, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist becomes eligible for an additional examination to become Board certified in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

What Can I Expect When Scheduling a New Evaluation Appointment?

Dr. Portteus offers a one-and-a-half hour new evaluation for children and teens, and a one hour new evaluation for adults. The intent of this time is for Dr. Portteus to initiate an important, confidential conversation to understand best how he or his staff can help you in your current challenge or situation.

As a physician, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist begins by carefully listening to your concerns about your child and the family. The Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist also reviews the full medical history with parents, and frequently will ask to obtain additional information from other members of the family, the school, child or adolescent’s personal physician, and other significant adults in the life of the child or adolescent.

Dr. Portteus and Staff speak with parents and families about how to anticipate and answer their child or adolescent's questions about the psychiatric examination. The meeting with the child or adolescent may involve talking, drawing, or playing with toys to help your child or adolescent's doctor better understand what is going on within your family or within the child's social setting. Questions may be asked about the child or adolescent's view of the problem, as well as how the child is getting along with family, friends, teachers, and students in school. An assessment is made of the child or adolescent's strengths as well as their problems.

What If a Physical or Medical Problem is Causing the Symptoms?

As a medical doctor, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist is trained to recognize physical disorders that may be affecting how people think, feel, and behave. In addition, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist considers how emotions, feeling, thinking, and behaving may influence your child or adolescent’s physical health. As a physician, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist is qualified to take medical responsibility for the plan of psychiatric treatment and will consult with your child or adolescent’s family physician to develop a comprehensive treatment plan.

What Kind of Treatment Will Be Offered?

The individual plan of psychiatric treatment will take into account your child or adolescent's problems as well as the strengths that are identified in your child's personality, your family, the school and other community resources. Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists use a variety of treatment techniques; e.g., psychotherapies, behavior therapies, medications, interventions with the school and family, etc.

The Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist will discuss your child or adolescent’s treatment plan with you and your child. This discussion includes the advantages and disadvantages of various treatment approaches as well as availability of programs and services in your community.

How Long Does Psychiatric or Psychological Treatment Usually Take?

Some children and adolescents will respond to short-term treatment (for example, up to 12 sessions). When the disorder(s) has persisted for a long time or is complicated, a longer term of treatment may be needed. A few disorders which are chronic, may require continuing care. You should discuss the duration and goals of treatment with your Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist after the initial diagnostic evaluation.

How Much Does Psychiatric or Psychological Treatment Cost?

The fees of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist are based on both the complexity of the treatment and the amount of time involved.   An initial diagnostic evaluation takes about one to two hours and costs a few hundred dollars. Psychiatric treatment sessions may be scheduled on a regular or intermittent basis, and length of sessions can vary depending on the treatment plan.  Follow-up visits to evaluate medication response usually cost between one hundred and two hundred dollars, and longer appointments may cost slightly more.  Issues regarding finances and payment plans should be discussed openly and frankly with the Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist from the beginning of treatment.

Dr. Portteus accepts payment by cash, check, debit card, Visa, Mastercard, Discover Card, or American Express at the time of service.

Will My Health Insurance Cover the Costs of Treatment?

You must read your contract or call your insurance plan office to find out the details about health insurance benefits and the extent of psychiatric services covered by your plan. Many health plans cover some portion of evaluations, consultation and treatment services provided by a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. However, benefits and coverage for mental health treatments are frequently limited or restricted by insurance plans.  

Dr. Portteus is an out-of-network provider with most insurance companies. Patients who see Dr. Portteus are expected to pay the physician at the time of service.  Families will be given a statement that they may submit to their insurance plan for reimbursement.  Dr. Portteus does not directly accept insurance payments or process insurance claims.

Will My Information and My Family's Be Treated Confidentially?

Dr. Portteus and his Staff are known for their care for confidentiality and for the ability to be discreet as possible when dealing with such sensitive concerns and situations within families and communities.  In addition, State law protects the confidentiality of communication between patients and physicians. Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists will not discuss information about you and your child or adolescent with others without your consent except as required by law.