Sunday, May 30, 2010

Therapist Shopping II

All right. I had my session with my counselor--we'll call her Sherry-- last week.

It was a little nerve-wracking, to be sure. I had lots of thoughts about what I wanted to say to her if things even slightly began to veer off course. Plus, when I got there, the client before me had some kind of emergency, so my session started late. I almost drove home without even seeing her.

But, instead I went in and saw how it would go. And I've got to tell you, this last session, everything changed. I can now see why she's regarded as a local expert: the session was all about me, Sherry signed the releases of information for my doc., and all we talked about were my symptoms and potential medications. It was all discussed intelligently, and with compassion and understanding. It was a great relief.

Don't have more time to elaborate, but I'm very content. Content that I will be able to start meds soon. And, to be perfectly honest, content that I won't be needing to see Sherry for much longer now.

Gotta hit the hay.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Therapist Shopping

girl (8-9) taking to a child psychologist
Well, I've taken the plunge.

Or at least I've tried to. I started seeing a psychologist a few weeks ago who specializes in ADHD in order to talk to her about medication. My symptoms were so obvious that she diagnosed me with the inattentive subtype after our first session (significant because this was my first official diagnosis, strangely enough, though I self-diagnosed when I started grad school four years ago). Naturally, she has subsequently used some diagnostic tools to substantiate her diagnosis (another topic for another post). But yeah, basically I've been really excited to to get down into the nitty gritty and start talking meds.

But... there's this little issue. The issue that she is driving me crazy. It is becoming very clear to me just how true it is that not every mental health provider is "a fit." This woman is not cutting the mustard for me.

When I go to a therapist, what I am looking for is a person who will draw my thoughts out of me by listening attentively and asking pointed, intelligent questions that allow me to think about things in new and enlightening ways and say aloud things that haven't yet formulated themselves in my brain. What I don't want is someone who blathers on endlessly about ANYTHING BUT MY SITUATION. And that's what this lady, bless her heart, does.

I'm serious folks. This is verging on unethical. We have spent hours now talking about such scintillating topics as: her fondly recollected memories of growing up in a Seventh Day Adventist household and being home-schooled; her relationship with her partner (she's a lesbian, incidentally); the entire scope and sequence of her relationship with her "daughter" (or the daughter of her first lover with whom she lived for two years); the brain; Freud; vegetarianism (which she has abandoned); the types of fish which are endangered, as well as the level of endangerment each fish has been granted; why she only eats organic chicken; several fun anecdotes about her mother's antiquated ideologies on sexuality; the difference between organic and free-range; her past history of sexual abuse; many stories about her doctorate work; and various and sundry anecdotes about her work with EMDR (which is a type of therapy that uses eye movement to help sufferers of PTSD). As a bonus, I've also heard *at least* twice: the history of her favorite client, to differing levels of specificity about the abuses she suffered as a child (in which she accidentally alerted me to who this client is--I had met her as I came into my first appointment--thus breaking her confidentiality); the story where she had a sadly misguided client come see her about bi-polar disorder when said person didn't, in fact, have bi-polar disorder but instead had PTSD; and the story about the mom that brought her three year old in to get help with ADHD who, when my therapist told her that he didn't have ADHD but was actually just being a three-year-old kid, didn't believe her and looked for therapy elsewhere.

The tipping point for me was last session when I wanted to ask a very specific question about her opinions about the combined subtype, and I waited about twenty minutes (literally) for her to stop talking. I then said, "well, I did have one question I wanted to ask..." and she interrupted me mid-sentence and talked for 40 minutes straight without stopping (literally). Yes, my session had long ended, yet she was stiiiill talking. And no, I never did get to ask the question.

What I'm saying is that I am so, so, so sick of hearing about all of this stuff that I'm actually thinking of going to someone else. It's sad because I really like her as a person. And I have to take a little bit of the blame, I guess--I'm so used to being on the listening end of these conversations that I probably give her every indication that I'm interested and want her to go on about Ellen White's historical writings or whatever. But, the thing is, she's the therapist in this situation. Not me. I shouldn't have to worry about making sure I don't accidentally look interested in her prattling. She should be focusing on me and my therapeutic goals.

And it's not like my goals are complex. I want medicine. Period. Sure, I'd love any useful tools she happens to know from her years of experience in dealing with patients with ADHD. But not at the expense of losing my sanity. Meds. A recommendation. Advice. That's it. It's pretty simple.

So, Monday, I'm going to have "the talk" with her. We'll see how that session goes. If I still don't feel my needs are being met, I'm moving on to someone else. And, as a therapist myself, I gotta say that's my recommendation to anyone in a similar situation. When trying to find a therapist, look around until you find someone that fits, no matter the issue, and no matter how nice non-fits are. You're paying for a service, so it should be meeting your needs. And research shows that the therapeutic relationship has more to do with improvement than any other factor.

In the meantime, I have a real, true, bona fide diagnosis from a (local) expert in the field. So, that's an interesting development.

I can't wait to actually try medication and see what it does for me.