Update on psychiatrist consult

I had my second consult with the psychiatrist this week. Unlike the first session, it didn’t go so well. I was incredibly upset after the session, and now that I’ve processed a bit more, I’m also getting kinda angry. (Ok, I’m ropable!)

The main purpose of this session was for the psychiatrist (I’ll call him p-doc) to go through his “assessment and management plan” for me. I think this is just psychobabble for a “letter” he’s sending to the GP who referred me to him.

A few things stood out for me:

  1. The session started badly when he asked me how my kids are. What? What kids? Basically he’d screwed up and confused me with someone else. Ordinarily I would say this is unforgiveable, but he has only met me once before, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. At least he had my paperwork in front of him and not the other person’s.
  2. The letter. Within the first couple of paragraphs he’s gave my GP a detailed account of my child abuse history (which she knows nothing about), my current relationship with my father and how I wanted him to die, my “history” of drug and alcohol use (which hasn’t been an issue for over 15 years), “his” diagnosis of depression and PTSD and my associated symptoms, and a bunch of other stuff I have pretty much obliterated from memory.
  3. The letter upset me and I got quite angry. He told me to stop reacting to him like he’s my father; that he’s not my father. I know that. I told him I know that. I also said “yes, I think you’d call this transference, would you not?” That shocked him a little bit. Is everything transference with these people? Can’t you get annoyed with someone without them calling it “transference”? Geez.
  4. He told me it’s a good thing most of my friends are female, because men usually just think about sex when they have a friendship with a woman. Excuse me, what the…? A little unusual, but fits with his sexual comments from the first session. Is everything about sex with him? Perhaps I should ask him about counter-transference next time?
  5. He wants to use the letter to “educate” my GP about mental health issues. Noble aim, just don’t use me as your vehicle please.
  6. In reading the letter out, he felt the need to define “complex” clinical terms for me – things like “depression” and “insomnia”. Oh please… give me a break. (By this time, he was just making me mad. Can you tell?)
  7. At the end, he said that he gets the sense I want to be treated as an “equal” and to be “respected”. Really? No sh1t Sherlock. Did I have to pay him $485 for this piece of wisdom?
  8. As I was leaving, his receptionist was busy so I said I’d ring her to make another appointment. His response: “When? When will you ring?” By this time I wanted to yell and scream at him – “Listen, I’m not an unreliable, drug-crazed psychotic lunatic, so don’t treat me like one!” – but I was too upset and only just holding things together as it was.

In fairness, I’d have to say there were a few good things about the session:

  1. He apologised for the letter upsetting me so much. And he acknowledged me when I said I felt bullied, and betrayed. I also felt patronised, but I’ll save that to tell him next time.
  2. He agreed he won’t send the letter until I’m happy with its contents (although does have some “medico-legal obligations” to fulfil).
  3. He talked about doing meditation with me. Good. This would work for me, and would complement the work I’m doing with my regular therapist.
  4. He talks quite a bit about sitting with emotion. Feeling it, and letting it pass. Not responding as I have in the past – although that probably served me well once. Good for me to learn this stuff.

In all, I hated the session. I hated him and the way he made me feel. I hated the way I reacted to him. I feel like I turned into a nasty troll again when I was there. I haven’t seen that side of me for awhile, and I don’t wish to.

I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. Thankfully I had an appointment with my regular therapist straight after, so I cried my way through the drive to her office. Thank those copulating implausible deities for her, is all I can say.

I know some of you have said this guy sounds like a quack. I’m not sure. I’m torn because if he’s really no good, what then? I know I’ll blame myself for it not working (and worry that my therapist will also blame me).

A friend suggested I see if I could find if any complaints have been lodged against this guy. I looked, but so far have found nothing. He’s a model citizen. B@st@rd.

I’d like to discuss all this with him next time, but I obviously need to calm down a bit first. I really hate confrontation, so I’ll probably just chicken out anyway.

8 thoughts on “Update on psychiatrist consult

  1. Maybe I’ve got it wrong, but my understanding of privacy law is that if you say, “Don’t disclose that”, then we can’t.

    You might simply say, “I’m telling you NOT to disclose X, which is my right as I understand HIPPA law. So don’t disclose it.

    I suppose if you’re self-destructive he might have some power to disclose. But ask. And $485 to evaluate you is very high, btw. I guess that’s regional.

  2. Thanks for visiting, Therapy Doc, and for your comment. I’m not entirely clear on the fineries of privacy law here, but I’ll find out. Thanks for the tip.

    The $485 is AUD, so that’s probably only about $10 in your currency. But still very high. 😉

  3. Hi Kerro, I noticed you’d blogrolled me and am just checking out your blog. Thanks for writing. Here’s my two cents for what it’s worth.

    I’d trust your gut. Just because the guy is a psychiatrist doesn’t mean he’s able to keep his own issues out of it. A lot of people choose to be psychiatrists because a high-status position makes them feel safer and superior and able to avoid their own gunk.

    It’s well documented in the literature around PTSD (and anxiety disorders in general) that people need to be empowered and retain control over their own healing and process as much as possible, as an antidote to the loss of control during the trauma/abuse. It’s good that he’s showing you the letter, but he could have gone over it in a different way, by explaining why it might be helpful for your doctor to have specific bits of information. You might take this tack with him, asking him to explain what the purpose and helpfulness is of transferring each bit of info you’re concerned about. It might be helpful for your GP to know about your child abuse history, in case you get triggered or whatever during exams and because she’ll wonder anyhow because of the PTSD diagnosis, but really details seem unnecessary to me. Why she’d need to know that you used drugs and alcohol when you were young would need some explanation I think.

    Like therapists in general, not every psychiatrist is for everyone. Condescension is a form of contempt, which is a deal breaker in intimate relationships. It sounds like he may not be a fit for you. “It sounds like you wanted to be respected and treated like an equal”. Duh! Of course. That’s the baseline of what is required. Unfortunately, there are few that can deliver that standard of care, so he might be what is available. Can you get yourself out of this gracefully with an edited down letter and then find someone else (perhaps recommended by someone else with PTSD or a relevant organization) for ongoing care if you need a psychiatrist?

    My abuser was also my father. Do I like authoritarian, condescending older men? Absolutely not. Could I see a male therapist? I have but I know I got triggered, and that got in the way of what I was trying to achieve. Why not find a woman psychiatrist so you don’t have to deal with unnecessary triggers?

  4. Hi Sword Dancer, thanks so much for your comments and the blogrolling.

    I’m thankful that my primary therapist is excellent, and skilled at dealing with PTSD etc. My hunt for a psychiatrist is for a secondary therapist only. Thank the god/s for that. I have no idea how I’d cope if this guy was ‘it’ for me.

    Ditto on authoritarian, condescending older men. I know that him being male is a big issue for me. At first I thought it was “progress” that I could see a male, but now I’m starting to wonder, and starting to question if it’s actually doing more harm than good (either because he’s a male or simply because he’s a tool, irrespective of his gender)?

    My primary therapist went to a bit of effort to find this guy (after a VERY disastrous session with someone I now call Stone Therapist). I’d feel bad if this is the second person I can’t work with. I know that’s a bit dumb. *sigh*

  5. Pingback: More on p-doc « Kerro’s Korner

  6. Hi,

    I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology, but I will try not to use too many psycho-babble words.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but this guy is a dick. No I’m not wrong.

    And he’s a mind fucker. Sorry for the “professional” psychological language.


  7. Kate said it for me!! thanx Kate. I think this guy needs training do you want to do that? Don’t doubt you your instincts are telling you things. Sometimes you have to interview a few before you find a good one

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