I Knew I had a Good/Bad Psychiatrist/Therapist When…

Image: The Betrothed by John William Godward

I thought it would be helpful and informative to share good/bad psychiatrist or therapist stories.

We’ll start out with my experiences…

My first experience with treatment was at the mental health clinic at the local hospital. I was fairly indifferent toward the first psychiatrist I had there, but I was unpleasantly jarred to find out that he was leaving after six months. Apparently they were on some sort of rotation. When I walked into the new psychiatrist’s office, I immediately got a bad feeling. It looked like he felt this was a temporary situation, as the office was completely bare except for the desk and two chairs. The reason for my visit was to ask him to raise my medication, as I was feeling the familiar signs of depression after being fairly stable for a year. He never even looked at me, and only asked me one question to determine whether I was depressed again or not, “Do you have thoughts of harming yourself or others?” I said, “Well, no, but I never have, so that’s not really an indication for me.” He ignored all the signs of depression I was recounting and refused to raise my medication. I absolutely hated him, and wouldn’t go back until he was gone six months later. This time when I walked into the new psychiatrist’s office I was very wary, but the difference he had made in that cold office was amazing. I’m a little fuzzy on the specifics, but I immediately noticed that the place smelled great. He had air fresheners in the office that made you want to inhale when you walked in. He had prints on the walls and (I’m pretty sure) healthy plants. I may be just remembering the plants because he was such a nurturing person. He also had a photo of himself with a child on his bulletin board, which I took as a good sign. He was very accessible, listened to me, and ordered a blood test to find out the level of meds in my blood, which indeed was too low. He stayed longer than six months before moving on, and I was very sorry to see him go.


I had trouble with severe mood swings for years and my condition was getting worse. Upon finding out that several close relatives were bipolar, I did some research and found that without a doubt I had the symptoms. I took my information and family history to a local psychiatrist. He stated with sarcasm, “If you went out and bought five Corvettes I’d believe you were bipolar, but you’re not.” I believed him, left and did not seek any further treatment as I descended deeper into a horrible depression. Finally I went to a local clinic, and talked to a nurse practitioner who believed me enough to give me a trial of lithium. Literally within days I rounded a corner. The medication literally saved my life. The moral of the story for me is; if at first you don’t get listened to, keep looking until you do. Also, I’d rather talk to a nurse who listens than an MD who doesn’t. – Kate from Idaho


OK, finally…I put off suicide until I could at least get in to see the psychiatrist. The Paxil that my GI put me on isn’t working. I’m slipping down a drain. I had 1 1/2 hours of sleep last night and in another 2 hours I have to go to work. But….I went to the shrink today like I promised. Told him of my plans to end it. Told him how close I came. Told him I was already dead inside. Told him I had 2 hours of sleep and had to work again. I told him I can hardly get through a day anymore. He said “increase the paxil to 1 1/2 tabs and come back in a month”. Oh well. I didn’t deserve the help anyway. – angelica


About six years ago I was suffering from incredible depression. (I have since been diagnosed w/Borderline Personality Disorder, and depression comprises only a part of this). At any rate, because I was cutting myself, wanting to die, and locking myself in my apartment for weeks at a time (where I would sleep for days on end), my employer (who happened to be my church–I was a church secretary) demanded that I see the licensed family therapist they had on staff. I went. He looked like a dish of spumoni–he wore mixed pastels (polyester), and a horrifyingly bad toupee. On top of everything else, he told me (I am quoting here), that I was evil, that God was protecting other people from me, and that he felt sorry for anyone who knew me because I really was a bad person. This, said to a severely depressed person by a supposed professional, is BAD. I quit seeing him, obviously.

Here’s the REALLY juicy part: he then attempted to blackmail me with my patient records, which he said (I’m quoting again) that he would keep for his own protection, in case I said anything unflattering about him. He said he would make those records public if anything bad I said got back to him. I have since found out that in my state, ANYBODY can be a “licensed family therapist”, just by paying a fee for the license. Scary, huh? (NOTE: this loser has since been taken off the church staff, and I have long since gotten some QUALIFIED help. And I had a Government agency confiscate my records from his office–with my permission, because I work for a defense contractor and had to obtain a security clearance. I have no idea how many other people this pig damaged, though.)
Anita from Alabama


Image: The Tigerskin by John William Godward After reading your story, I started to think about my psych, he’s from India, he thinks I’m really off my rocker. He tells me to do other things from what my therapist tells me, and I think he uses me for his guinea pig. He’s been trying to start me on some of the strangest meds, and all I want to do was to get my Effexor refilled. Then he gave me a 2-week supply, but this medicine takes effect in about 30 days. When I go back and see him, what does he do, he prescribes me something else. I’m going to find another psych and keep my therapist. She’s more understanding of my problem. – Tom

Even though I had had depression for years and mild mania, I started off with a psychologist who did not refer me to a psychiatrist until it got so bad I had to be hospitalized. Thankfully, the psychiatrist knew what he was doing (actually at that point it had become quite obvious). So he became my doctor for the last 6 years and was great. Except in October he was too close to a tree that got hit by lightning and he had to stop practicing while they evaluated him. The doctor he left as a back-up was “too busy” for any sessions. I had to go out and interview doctors. That was fun. Finally, my doctor’s office called me and told me to call this other doctor, that he would see me. Well, he started off the conversation stating he was a “mood expert” and started diagnosing me over the phone. He tells me I have to increase my medications and I have to be totally reevaluated and maybe hospitalized (a week before the holidays). I told him that I had no problem raising the medication and that he would find that I took my medications as I was told. He actually said “That’s an oxymoron.” After that experience, I did the incredible. I actually called the insurance company and asked them to find me a doctor. They did, he was nice and he took care of me until my old doctor came back. No, I never did make my appointment with the “mood expert”. You should always interview a “doctor” before actually going into their office. In this state, a doctor has the power to hospitalize you if they think you are in danger or a danger to others. – Lourdes from Miami


I knew I had a bad shrink when he called me at home on Saturday morning to ask me my advice for how he should deal with his problems with his girlfriend. — Eee-gads! – Meg


It was my first experience with a psychiatrist, but I knew it was a mess when one of his assistants/office staff/next door neighbors/whatever kept walking into the office. On the second visit, the doctor spent most of his time on the phone with apparently his stock broker as they were talking all about money, selling this, buying that, etc. Needless to say, I did not go back, and shortly after that he was arrested for DWI and essentially run out of town on a rail. (Turns out I was not the only person that he’d “ignored” in favor of his stock broker.) Current primary care doctor wants me to see a psychiatrist again, and after one bad experience, I’m not sure this is a good idea. I called the insurance company just to clarify what the benefits were. Turns out that they really don’t want you to use their “mental health services.” I can’t use any doctor in the plan, nope, it has to be one who is also in their “merit services” program (which probably means money in one way or another). My other doctors (primary care doctor, orthopod, etc.) are located at the biggest hospital in the area — but none of their “merit services” people are, and they could only give me two names of anyone in town that I could *maybe* see! Needless to say, I won’t be seeing a psychiatrist, and I’m not terribly upset about that! – Laurie


Image

When I first met Dr. X I had an almost unwelcome feeling. I felt like I should be paying for his services and only then he would treat me like I worthy of his therapy. Anyway, I told him that I wanted some sort of psychotherapy rather than drugs because of sideffects, etc. Although he listened to me he decided that drugs would be most useful in this case. Well I didn’t take them, but I did continue to see him. Being a psychology student I am sure my beliefs about drugs were emanating from my psyche. With time, however, I gained respect for this person with a British accent and snotty attitude. When he started sharing some of his personal history and I found that we had a bit of history in common I began to trust him. I guess trust was a real issue for me. I began taking the meds and gradually became healthier. We developed a bit of a friendship which was in the end briskly cut off by him. I guess because he didn’t want me to become too dependent on this one and only friendship. Anyway I still hear his voice once in while and find comfort in knowing that he knew me enough to get me to help myself.
Anonymous


I have been having a hell of a time, lately, with psychiatrists (i.e., finding one and keeping one) during this last bout of depression. My heart sinks when I walk into a practitioner’s office and it barely looks as if they write scripts there. We probably just can’t help it, but women are probably more sensitive to this. The past two pdocs I’ve seen (and didn’t go back to when I couldn’t take it anymore) hardly looked at me, either, except to say “these are the rules” type statements and ask me if was suicidal. Funny thing – it made no difference in their reaction if I said I was suicidal or swore I wasn’t. Not really very humorous. The psychiatrist I saw previously was (is!) a real human being, who listened, empathized, and did his damnedest to help me feel that I too, am a human being, defects and all. He had an office with “real” furniture, old worn oriental carpets, real works of art, including that of friends of mine. Offices of both my current individual therapist and someone my husband and I see occasionally are warm, inviting, not fancy, but with pictures of both their kids and “artwork” done by the same. In other words, if they see themselves as human beings, perhaps they can give us the same courtesy. I resolve to walk right out of the “robot” practitioner’s offices as soon as I walk in from now on! Our instincts may be all we have left….
Robin


I have been to untold numbers of these people over the last 5 years that I have been suffering from depression. One told me that I could blame it all on my parents and that I should let them know. (Thank God that I did not do so). The next one would give me a depression test every week that I saw him. He placed me on different drugs over the years, all with the same results, but at least the data was of use.

I then found a good man who showed me how to use my brain to help control the pain in my left arm. Two years of little depression. Then he had a stroke. Depression back. Back to other psychiatrist, still more drugs.

Then last year a breakdown in public; result pending police charges (a man with one good arm with two assault police charges), depression deeper, placed in a psych hospital; depression even deeper.

Then my good man came to my rescue, got me out of the hospital and he now treats me (at no charge), ring or visit him at any time.
Anonymous


I refer to the first 3 psychiatrists I saw as quacks #1, #2, and #3. I suffer from severe, chronic clinical depression and have tried nearly every psychiatric medicine known with no permanent success. I was referred to the psychiatrists I saw by an EAP. It turns out that the only requirement to get on the EAP’s list was that these providers apply and send in copies of their licenses.

Quack #1 was relatively innocuous. She prescribed a combination of two tricyclics which gave me severe anxiety attacks. Every other doctor I have seen wonders why she combined those two drugs as no one seems to have ever heard of using them together. She left the area before doing any more damage.

Quack #2 apparently did not believe in taking blood levels. I wound up in the hospital (not once, but twice) with toxic blood levels at therapeutic dosages of the antidepressant I was taking. I later found out that that was not unheard of for those particular drugs.

Quack #3 used to fall asleep in therapy sessions and would tell me it was because my monotone voice put him to sleep. When I finally got angry enough to fire him, he told me I was leaving because we were finally getting to the root of my problems and I was afraid to address my issues. When I asked him what those issues were, he said that I needed to discover them myself.
Gal


I think I know she’s a good therapist because, when friends/family ask how my session went or what my therapist thinks of me, I can’t really give them a pat answer. In other words, she isn’t authoritative or didactic. She listens, responds non-verbally, and then when I’m finished with my latest spiel, she asks me questions about how what I’ve just said relates to past sessions, relationships, my experiences growing up, etc. It feels as if she is quite solidly on my side, no matter what, and I trust her. I’ve described our sessions as my weekly anchor to sanity (no advice from well-meaning friends, no belligerent orders to stop my behaviors, no fear or frenzy for one hour a week…).

I used to be very suspicious of therapy, I think, because of the bad press it gets in our culture. I assimilated this and thought of myself as a spoiled white female who couldn’t solve her petty problems and who wanted to run to therapy (even though she wasn’t “bad enough” to deserve treatment) so someone else could run her life. So I raged and screamed to get attention from my parents (alcoholic father, shy and enabling mother), fell into deep depressions at my lack of perfection, and cut my arm repeatedly to put my anger and pain into a place I could focus on.

Now I feel as if my life is my own and I don’t want to spend another second feeling bitter or loathing myself. I just want new tools and perspectives so I can keep searching. I take 50 to 100mg of zoloft daily (I also take short breaks from it as I see fit–my therapist and psychiatrist both accept my need to control my medication and don’t view my treatment as a power play). I still cut my arm occasionally, but we discuss it and don’t treat it as some terrible backslide. I feel very lucky. I look at my chronic depression and realize that, given my life’s circumstances, much of it was a sane response to insane situations. I feel that I’ve been easy to treat, but had I had a series of “nightmare” therapists, I’d be so much worse off. I’m very grateful to susan for her support.
Laura


I think the thing that amazes me the most about some of the doctors I’ve seen for my episodic depression is that they’ve been so cruel. I wouldn’t say some of the things they’ve said to me to my dog. The first time I got depressed, I was terrified. Therapy was urgent, because of my strong anxiety and complete inability to cope. Naturally, I was referred (by my kind, gentle therapist) to a psychiatrist, which was scary. Was I really that sick? I was highly resistant to the idea of meds, but she didn’t try to allay my fears. “What makes you think you don’t need medication?” she barked, “I think you do.” She convinced me, and I’m glad she did although I’ll never forgive her for treating a suicidal but intelligent teenager like an imbecile. Other doctors I saw were nicer, but there was one last year who was pure evil. I’ll always remember the disgust in her eyes when, in response to the question, “Can you tell me something about this drug I’m taking?” she said, “Don’t you want to have children someday? You are going to harm your children, destroy their lives, if you don’t fix your problems.” Ugh. I think the reason antidepressants take so long to work is that it takes you a month to get over your appointments with your psychiatrist.
Wendy from New Jersey


My first therapist was a social worker (MSW) whom my college roommate (also an MSW) recommended to me. I felt very comfortable with her, but after less than a year, I felt my therapy was at an impasse. (she had suggested meds, which petrified me) and I shut down after that.

I thought I could get along without a therapist but after a few months I realized it was not the case. The next therapist was a social worker too, with training in Freudian analysis, which I have since read is not very good for depression. She was not very empathetic. When I was worried about my parents’ finances because my mother has depression, she said don’t worry about it, they have health insurance and then tried to change the subject, despite the fact that I was worried because their insurance wasn’t paying for some very expensive x-rays. And she wanted to know why I was so upset to find out my mother has lung cancer. (Depressives tend to get overly upset at things, but really, she’s my MOTHER!)

After being with her for almost a year, I realized I needed to do something or I would end up dead. I went to my primary care physician for a referral to a psychiatrist. He asked me a few questions, and a few minutes later he wrote a prescription for Paxil and told me to come back in 6 months.

Well, after that, I called my health insurance, got names of some psychologists. Our first session was an interview, I followed some suggestions from one of my books and asked her a lot of questions — how often she treats depression, etc., etc. I began seeing her and saw a psychiatrist that she recommended. It’s been a hard time finding meds for me (PAXIL was a bad choice for me and it’s taking a while to wean me off.) But all in all I am comfortable with both my psychologist and psychiatrist.
Susan from NYC


I recently had a panic attack. I went to the local clinic and was given Paxil. I found a shrink in the yellow pages, it’s a small town and there was only a choice of two. The one just worked on state cases. I choose shrink number two.

I just got his bill for three sessions. Are you ready for this…$890. My first session I asked his charges. He said $125 for a 50 minute hour, and the first session would go longer, getting background etc. My second session lasted over two hours until I finally said, hey doc, I gotta go. I’m thinking, hey it’s a small town, he’s not busy, maybe he’s interested in my case.

Session number three was going into two hours and I just excused myself, never thinking he has got the clock running.

To sum up, I’ve written the state board of medicine and spoken to their ombudsman, whose first comment was “Jesus”. I’ve flushed the dope down the toilet, and I feel much better thank you very much.
Rodger


Please feel free to add your experiences with mental health professionals, both good and bad.


22 thoughts on “I Knew I had a Good/Bad Psychiatrist/Therapist When…

  1. I am not sure if i had good or bad doc – i have only one for several
    years, he was always late but he was good looking. During therapy i
    lost my husband, job and all friends and my depression bloomed as never
    before – i guess i could do that without the doc – or maybe not. I
    don\‘t know if he was good or bad doc – i combat depression stll.

  2. I only recently realized that my irritability, sadness, and overall
    dark outlook on life was not my true personality and that it was
    actually caused by depression. I found a psychologist near my home, but
    ended up coming for only three sessions. I felt like she could not
    relate to me at all and was full of BS: at the second session she was
    already telling me that she was thinking and praying for me. Please.
    Afterwards she continued pressing the subject that it was my
    responsibility to pull my family together, and if I did not soon nothing
    would change. “Therapy isn’t supposed to be comfortable,” she said, at
    the 3rd session. She was saying this to me, a person who could barely
    get up the motivation to take a shower or get something to eat. I was
    filled with incredible hopeless after every session, and I stopped
    going.

  3. I was drugged and raped by a friend and a couple of his friends. In
    the first few weeks of dealing with this, my psychiatrist dumped me to a
    nurse practitioner who he knew I didn’t get along with. All he had to
    say was Good luck’ and gave me a hand shake. I was hurt and confused but
    now I realize that most psychiatrists are like this. I have found a
    very good psychologist who says he won’t quit on me and will be by my
    side until I get through this.

  4. I was forced to go to the dr today. I had been kind of sad, I have
    been unemployed for 8 mos, I got forced to go to the psychiatric unit,
    the drs talked to me and diagnosed me wirh anxiety and depression and i
    follow up with a counselor. I was not a harm to others or myself so they
    sent me home with paper work and numbers, However a supposed friend
    tried to committ me and I did try to explain to her what the drs said,
    she would just yell at me. I thought that was very irrational. I feel
    bad for anyone who has to go through anxiety or depressiion, its not
    fun. I value my life, my family and friends, my pets, how can some
    people be so not understanding.

  5. Clinical Therapists from Hell:

    I have just tried 7 months of a 12 month skills based treatment program and then it was decided by them(without consulting me)that it wasn’t as effective as targeting certain areas as expected. First round you learn the coping skills modules then you repeat what you learned again the same for another 6 months to reinforce & start using the skills just learned.

    I was fighting with the team therapists & esp. with my very inexperienced-panic -merchant one on one therapist in the program too.

    Sometimes it’s often the case that the therapists have more issues than the client.

    In this instance there was a gross inability to foresee or be mindful of implications& the impact of acting improper. This fracture of careless, cruel distrust in the early days of the program left some lingering violated wounds.

    Ironically I was told I was in good hands with an ‘excellent therapist’. Anyone can give great generalised therapy but can falter and really mess up and put their clumsy worst food forward when the cases get more extreme. There were some communications cues are basic interacting skills that are taught in psychology 101& are in the Psychological Society Code of Conduct & Ethics.

    I think it is a miscarriage of justice or false advertising to claim that one is a specialist in areas where they do not practice what they preach but do the opposite and arrogantly, defensively further induce pain & animosity.

    Often cold & distant & patronizing the therapist would not remember details or be able to make her own decisions and join the dots of evident information sensitively. They could not make a simple judgment call without calling in the troops or getting them to protect & fight her battles for her.

    There was such a strong inability to separate fact from feeling &consult with client first yet the therapist would attempt to encourage being vulnerable & take risks to disclose more. It almost made me wonder if this therapist had been dropped on their head as a baby or maybe autistic to not be able to make basic cognitive links within their passive aggressive self.

    They had rules & decisions that I was never consulted with and often came back to me starting sentences with ‘we have decided’. They would spring upon me double standard disciplinary action for the littlest things but take no part in owning their 50% contribution to their counter—knee –jerk reactions. All the while, preaching the mindful & accepting, non-judgemental-Zen philosophy. The therapists would too late see that their counter reactions would set of the flight & fight responses in clients.

    By the end of it I felt there where a whole lot of unethical breaches of code to my rights & privacy & respectful care. The breaches I felt were: lack of consent in decisions making which recreated trauma& sense of being abused ‘again. There was inadequate care to ensure confidentiality, protecting trust or privacy. The brutal violation felt when sharing irrelevant & personal information with other people without pre warning & sufficient preparation. I felt over-reaction on their part whenever an intense emotion or urge was shared. Especially, when the whole program is all about feelings, thoughts & urges.

    I felt set up for the program team accepting someone more ‘challenging or treatment resistant’ than the mainstream clients that they took on. Basically being inflexible & acting out of their competent skill range. This is a program for those with severe emotional & behavioural issues, when one is poked at with such rigidity, it is expected that all sorts of exposures would naturally be triggered or come to the fore.

    She/They would constantly invalidated, re-enforce that my being different or more vocal’ equalled ‘them having ‘never encountered such problems or client as yourself’. Then at the end they just wished me well, said it wasn’t working and that was that –have a nice life.

    Had it just been me seeing a one-on-one treatment therapist there would’ve been so much LESS drama & unwarranted overreaction. I had been seeing someone for 10years separate from the program& never in all my years had I come across so much breach of personal intrusion & poor interpersonal skills of therapist transference. But inside a program run by health dept. & hierarchy then there is a lot more accountability & legal liabilities to adhere to. It borders on being treated like a criminal with their voice being taken away.

    The environment is so full of white western one-minded school of thought, punitive, harsh scrutiny. In this supposed therapeutic setting it was very hard to foster any real trust connection in order for the treatment to contain& hold a person’s erratic recovery.
    Many graduates of the treatment program never completely recovered but merely reduced their troublesome behaviours & emotional targets.

    This kind of horrible invasive experience with the therapeutic system only fostered resentment, dis-empowerment & disappointment. And so once again this kind of damaging mismanagement of outcome re-enforces that people like us fall thru the cracks & become forgotten. There is never quite a ‘suitable’ program or place to ‘place’ us for others to cope with & nicely fit those DSM psych diagnosis manual criteria’s.

    When a client has more severe cases of non-mainstream symptoms or issues outside the one-size -fits all ticked boxes-therapist have not a clue what to do and behave inappropriately.

    Maybe the fact that this therapist went thru 2 marriage break ups where unbeknown to her both guys were leading a double life-shows the inadequate level of being able to pick up obvious astute skills.

  6. I recently went to a therapist who was horrible. She had an extremely puzzled/confused/doubting look on her face the entire time I was speaking, which made me feel incredibly defensive. On top of that, she said all the wrong things. For example, when I told her I got married at 19, she said, “That’s young.” very bluntly and rudely and asked if I had experienced problems because of that. I absolutely hate when people jump to conclusions about this. Her tone wasn’t caring, it was demeaning and seemed as if she was looking down on me. The entire time she treated me as if I was stupid and incompetent, it was a very bad experience.

  7. I just started seeing a phyciatrist. I don’t like to call her because her secretarys are B*tches and she’s never there. When I see her she is always maybe 15 minutes late past the scheduled appt. and when I see her. She never really looks at me. I swear she thinks im a drugg addict looking to score. I have Bi Polar 2. I guess…. Anyway. I was put on Seroquel. Was working well. Was on it 3 weeks and was at about 250mmgs extended release from morning to night when I sleep. She tells me Seroquel isn’t something you just take all the time. I go Ok? But it’s been keeping me calm. THEN I also mentioned as I always do. My anxiety is still bad. Not to a point where I dont sleep like use to happen but On the Spot. Large Crowds. On the Job. Etc…. Clam Up. Second Guess. Get in my head if you will. So she Ups Up my Seroquel again. … So I’m told Seroquel isn’t something I’m going to be taking for too long but ups it up for the next 2 weeks until we meet again. OH! And when I went to the Phyc Ward for a week she was my outreach program through the Hospital cuz I was Reeallly Suicidal. Ruminated over it. They put me on Celexta and Xanax which I loved. Felt Great. Was on it for a month Until I saw my phyciatrist for the first time. She immedialty took me off the xanax and gave me clitopins and upped my Xanax Dosage even though I was feeling better than I have in years. Then she took me off those and now Seroquel. BLAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH Help me. Should I push for benzos which helped Immensley during the tough times when I would clam up. I asked once and she looked at the table with a smurk as if Im a drug addict. I really don’t know what to do because even when I get there. My anxiety is so bad I get nervous to mention Anything.

  8. Regarding my comment if you read. She Upped my Celexta dose and took me off the Xanax. I initially went into a hospital for being suicial when I was linked up with her. I was told Anxiety and Depression. When she swapped my meds I had a bad reaction and had to go back to another Hospital. Where I was told I have Bi Polar. That’s when I was put on Seroquel. I just feel as if she wants me to just get over it already and press on with life. Maybe my paranoia settling in? and Sorry if I was confusing to read. I was JUST upped my Seroquel dosage so am just a little loopy. again my apologies.

  9. This is tough. I went to a Psychiatrist because I had (SERIOUS) problems with my previous Psychiatrist – I’ll just leave it at that but the problems were very serious.

    This new Psychiatrist was selected by someone in the medical field. At first, I saw him twice a week (for three years) then decided I didn’t want to go as often… it was just too much for me mentally. When I told him I would be coming once a week he became extremely upset – not concerned but upset.

    His comments were “This is being paid for, you need to come twice a week” and “If you miss more than twice a week, you need to make it up because they are paying for it.” Honestly, the comments made me sick because half of the reason why I was seeing him was due to the problems with the previous Psychiatrist and I felt like the new Psychiatrist was trying to control me.

    Even when I would cancel an appointment far in advance (several days) he would call me and even tell me “Cancellation policy does not apply to you. If you cancel for any reason other than a death in your immediate family or a reason I personally approve, I will bill you for it.” Does this sound odd or what?

    I had a guest from out of state staying with me for 7 days. I went to my appointment before she came and later the same week received a call her trip was delayed by a few days and she would be arriving late – also leaving late… no problem.

    I left a message for my Psychiatrist telling him I would need to cancel my appointment for the following week and asked him to leave a message for me of the following week appointment date and time (because my guest was present).

    Within 24 hours he called 7 times! The first time he sounded concerned and it actually made me feel a certain amount of comfort but it followed up with calls like “I called you and the phone rang and rang and rang and you didn’t pick it up. You can’t cancel your appointments regardless unless I personally approve. If its a death in your immediate family, a serious illness of your own but anything else, I will still bill you.”

    First of all… I have no immediate family and he knows it. Next, he didn’t even give me a chance to talk to him before he jumped right in to the reason why he is going to bill me and last, even if I just didn’t feel like going, what gives him the right to threaten me if I have a need to cancel 5 DAYS IN ADVANCE!

    I have serious trust issues and very serious problems trusting doctors for specific and valid reasons.

    I understand its a business but this doesn’t feel like anything other than manipulation. I feel sick to my stomach about this. What is going on here?

  10. I have had several bad psychiatrists, but the most inept one was a consultant psychiatrist, while I was supposed to be doing a PhD. All I was doing was hide away, and I ended up leaving but anyway….
    My previous psych had left, as he was on rotation (he used to sit really close with his legs spread wide open and pointing at me…??) so I saw the consultant. As soon as he heard I was doing a PhD, he perked right up and spent the rest of the hour telling me about his own studies. How very helpful.
    What really angers me is that every single one I saw couldn’t reconcile the fact that I was reasonably intelligent with being suicidally depressed. If I ended up going to A&E (ER) in crisis, the psych docs on duty would see me and on their little tick sheet I would be a ‘low’ risk because I wasn’t abusing alcohol, no qualifications, temporary housing, isolated etc etc. Not every one can be crowbarred into a box, people are different and my pain was horrific. It still is. Every day is a struggle, and every day is getting worse. And I still don’t have the answers, I just know I won’t find them with a psychiatrist and I despise therapy.

  11. I just went to an updated assessment of my bipolar/depression. I ended up having the worse session with a so called top psychiatrist of a globally renowned institution. He questions much of what I said including me saying I had officially been diagnosed with autism less than 1 years of age. He then said how would that affect things! Hello, in communication skills, in how I see the world. Besides my parents went to doctors who confirmed the diagnosis. They (my parents) decided to keep me out of a special needs school and I ended up doing well at college…but the price of not getting help has been huge! Again the psychiatrist questioned my bipolar and even whether I had experienced mania (you know when you have). Then he assumed I was gay, I explained that was not the case, relating as bisexual. Then when I went through my littany of tough corporate experiences including several retrenchments. He said you have not experienced anymore than anyone else and that I had just become sensitised. Useless. I will not be going back to him or that so called acclaimed institute. I literally had to pick myself off the ground feeling so downheartened and demoralised. He simply had rushed through every aspect of my life like a Spanish inquisition and barely came up with any support, just judgement and a flippant attitude. Be very careful who you choose as your clinical tester or psychiatrist.

  12. I should have known I had a bad therapist when she swore up and down that risperidone was an antidepressant.

    I really should have known I had a bad therapist when she told me that I should isolate myself from everyone.

    I really, really should have known I had a bad therapist/psychiatrist when I told them, “This drug isn’t helping, and it is killing me,” and they said, “I know it’s hard, honey. Keep taking it. We can help you fill out disability paperwork…”

    As it turned out, I didn’t realize I had a bad therapist/psychiatrist until I called the clinic years later to give them some links on dopamine antagonists and catatonia…

    …and found out that both the therapist and the psychiatrist had ended their employment in the midst of an ongoing disability fraud investigation!!

    I wonder how many lives they destroyed.

  13. I used to abuse phychiatric prescription medecines and so I got admitted to a mental hospital and deaddiction centre called SH Hospital Paynkulam,Thodupuzha,Kerala India.I was forcibly given an injection by Dr Shameer Moideen which made me unconscious.I was forcibly stripped naked in the ICU and told to take a bath,so I went to the bathroom,the mug used for taking a bath was in the toilet.The male nurses were yelling at me to take a bath,so I got scared and inspite of the revulsion I felt for the mug I took it out and took my bath.There was no towels for drying myself up.Then the male nurse took me to a room upstairs and yelled at me to sign an admission form which stated that I was there at the hospital at my own free will,so I signed it.I was terrified of the male nurse.I soon becae an inmate of a ward with some 50 other patient.The warden was a wicked catholic nun named Vincy who used to take delight at the abuse of the inmates inside the hospital.She used to place a bucket full of filthy excreta near the drinking water.It was her way of having fun at the expense of the inmates.During my 2 month stay in Sacred Heart hospital in Paynkulam,I noticed that there were many sane inmates languishing for years at the hospital and who were being given shock therapy without any reason.A male nurse named Ebin used to make sexual advances at other poor inmates of the hospital.Ebin loved to thrash the inmates.The female nurses also took pleasure in hurting the poor inmates.At night it was impossible to sleep as the patients were forced to listen to ear piercing catholic songs from the speakers that were kept on the walls of the hospital.I noticed that a poor man who was languishing in the hospital for many years was partially deaf because of the noise from the speakers.SH hospital had a large number of homosexual inmates who loved the chance of making lewd advances at poor straight patients.Many patients of the hospital had commited suicide because of the inhumane condition of the so called sacred heart hospital.To the catholic nuns,the suffering of the inmates were a thing of enjoyment.All the patients were given a green medecine in the morning which caused sideffects like excess salivation and shivering.I was given the drug named Citalopram by doctor Shameer Moideen which caused me to vommit non stop for 2 years after which I started urinating blood.I lost all my appetite because of citalopram .All the things mentioned by me are totally true and unless strong action is taken against the callous attitude of the nurses and doctors ,many more poor inmates will continue to suffer.

    • Man, i cant agree with you more, i was there too in early 90’s for two months. The trauma of being there has given me a life long gift Claustrophobia! and fear!! In the name of Christianity they are running a commercial prison. An official place to torture people who were left behind by their families for selfish reasons. There is hardly any de addiction happening there. How the hell can someone treat you with shock therapy for getting out of a habit. I clearly remember those 60 days even after almost two decades. The problem is state is run my morons and these evil nuns who run the hospital by them. If you notice there isnt even one page online which talks bad about them. Thats how powerful these moronic Nuns are. I was there when the founder Moron Bitch was running the show, Angel Mary – her name should actually be opposite to those two words. I was very happy when i heard the bitch died! only sad that she didnt suffer enough !
      Currently i think all the staff out there are absolute sadists. I hope they all suffer and die – Bastards!

  14. My account if treatment at the hands of health care professionals is mixed with excellent and appalling experiences. When I was 25, I had a nervous breakdown after being stalked by a sinister man. I spent a night in a hospital’s psychiatric ward. I was told to see a therapist. The first session was amazing, and as I continued to see her for eight years. Therapy for me it a very healing, enlightening and it improved my quality of life. I saw her for eight years (with a three year interval when I went to study abroad). I was on no medication, excelled academically and in my profession and had a good social life.I had serious issues to deal with, namely a severly disfunctional family, very serious emotional, sexual and physical abuse. Then the most disasterous event of my life happened. My mother died of cancer. I was devastated and my therapist had no insight into my grief. She said things to me like “you really know how to get angry at your mother when she is dead”. A great deal of cruelty emerged she made unconscious memories surface of extreme sexual abuse and I almost committed suicide by jumping off a building, but managed to find my way to a psychiatric ward before the desperation killed me. I then met the first psychiatrist that I saw. I took one look at him and a feeling of overwhelming trust came over me. I stayed in hospital for a month and attended a occupational therapy program for two months. I was put on Cipramil and it worked like a treat. I stayed with him for fifteen years. He was incredibly kind and totally committed to his patients. He was my rock of stability, but my illness progressed and the depression and anxiety got worse. I then went to another therapist to get over the damage that the first therapist had done. She was superb. I stayed with her for ten years and then decided to see someone else, as I felt that I needed to be challenged. At the same time I was seeing the psychiatrist for medical treatment.My prescription got longer and I was hospitalized for short periods more or less once a year. The years passed and my life was successful financially, professionally and socially, but
    I had to have the psychologist and psychiatrist support. I was on a lot of medication and totally reliant on sleeping pills and tranquilizers. I had to go into rehab to beat the tranquilizer addiction. I was diagnosed as “paranoid schizophrenic” by another psychiatrist. Previously I had seen another psychiatrist who diagnosed me with
    a “borderline personality disorder”. I struggled with depression and anxiety and stayed with my first psychiatrist. He eventually diagnosed me with “Bipolar 2″. He put me on a mood stabilizer and life became sunny again. I took up my long lost passion of riding up and bought a horse and made lots of new friends. I was also running a successful business. Then my first psychiatrist became controlling and possessive. Well, I think that transference and counter transference occurred. I felt undermined and manipulated. I left him and went to see another psychiatrist. She was okay but went on a long holiday. It was during a December / January holiday and it evoked my mother’s death. I fell to pieces. I dragged myself to a psychiatric clinic with no toothbrush, medication, soap or clothes. I saw a psychiatrist to be admitted at the clinic. He diagnosed me as having “delusional erotomania” regarding my first psychiatrist!!
    I attended occupational therapy and found this very healing. I left that psychiatrist and went to another, but he could not tweek my medication to improve my mood. All this while I was seeing a therapist that I had seen for the last five years this was very healing. I have now had three sessions with a new psychiatrist who has added a new mood stabilizer. My mood has improved and the world is becoming sunny again. I do not really trust him but will give him a chance.
    To cut a long story short, a psychologist nearly killed me. I was rescued by a brilliant psychiatrist, but the relationship became too complex and sadly, I had to break away. I am now 49, unable to work full time.
    Unable to travel for a long time. Unable to get close to anyone (very few friends and no boyfriends). From weighing 50 kg I now weigh 100kg. I am on 5 different psychiatric medications. All I can say is that it has been a long and rocky journey. I have been met with appalling cruelty, sadism, negligence and psychopathology at the hands of all mental health professionals. I have also been met with amazing kindness, trustworthiness, superbly talented at healers.
    Psychiatric clinics exposed me to other people with the same plight. I have heard stories of survivors of unspeakable misfortune, abuse and trauma. I think that I have learned the most from them. I learned that life is not shiny, happy people. I admire the human spirit to seek healing and having the courage to not be a victim, no matter what life has dealt you.
    On a final note on psychiatry and it’s, I challenge all readers to read about MK Ultra on the Wikipedia website and to watch the film entitled “Francis”. The dark side of psychiatry is fully exposed……..

  15. There are a lot of horror stories on here, and I feel the hurt in many of these, some to the point it makes me sick to my stomach. I do realize this article is old- but I feel I need to share my new experience.

    I started therapy for real about 4 months ago after struggling my whole life with anxiety, with the feeling of not being known, with the constant fear and unapproving eyes of a very critical “audience”. I am a high-functioning person- I have a PhD (in very difficult field) and I am a high caliber athlete. Because of this, I, like those in these comments and stories, also struggled with (still do) the idea that “my problems aren’t real and I shouldn’t feel this way”, which spirals to guilt. I am excellent at self defamation. I am a hyper-analyzer, and become crippled and apathetic because of this. There are several other issues, but this is besides the point.

    What I want to say, is I have only seen this 1 therapist, my only ever (canceled 2 other appts throughout my life) and I was questioning whether or not she is good. However, after hearing these stories(some of thes are HORRIBLE!) I am more reassured than ever that she IS a GOOD “Dr.” (LCSW).

    I feel I should share why, for perspective for anyone reading this.

    She is calm but assertive when she needs to be (hardly ever, but she has interjected or stopped me a few times when I was spiraling); she always ALWAYS listens- really listens, interjection almost 0 of what I perceive as her personal bias or opionions (if that makes sense); her voice, her tone, her body language all convey her thoughts and they are always clear; she encourages me to be as open as possible (I still cannot); she often lets my sessions go over (my “50” is usually 55-70- 2x a week); she encourages other forms of therapy (like mindfullness, stress reduction courses, etc.); she respects my wishes to avoid drugs entirely, but is patiently trying to talk me into it (it doesn’t sound like forcing, it feels like gentle prodding); I do not feel she understands me completely, and I struggle with hearing her words as genuine- but less so than many/most anyone else I interact with; her office is in her house and is calm, quiet, and comforting (albeit hot as hell); despite mostly leaving the office more upset then when I entered I do feel progress, even if it’s at a snails pace.

    So my point in posting this is look: if you are reading all these posts and they are reinforcing your fear of going to therapy- have hope and know that their are good (great?) therapists out there. You just have to find them. I’m lucky, I feel that- but you could definitely be lukcy too!

  16. Generally poor experiences involving lack of communication, repetition/duplication/loss in the postal system and things taking AGES to get done. When you’re already crumpled you don’t have the energy to try and wade through the sludge of people just not thinking about what their actions will mean for the desperate person on the receiving end.

    My situation was complicated by the fact that I lived in the same district that I worked in which meant that I was referred to the very same teams and organisations I used to train with/work for. I couldn’t face the constant tension I felt (when I actually managed to go to the mental health team office) wondering when I might bump into a colleague/patient I knew. Leaving the house was a major hurdle for me, but people were too busy to do a home visit, even though I’m sure this is a pretty common situation when someone is depressed. So in the end I went for over 2 years without being reviewed, even though a review was needed. I tried making appointments that would be at the team office, knowing that I probably wouldn’t make it but feeling I had to try as it’s what the health professionals want. Then inevitably not making it out of the house on the day so missing the appointment, which would then take WEEKS to rearrange and the cycle would begin again.

    When I did see the psychiatrist I thought he was sensible and knew what he was doing. It was just a case of “we’ll help you if you can come to us” which is fine if depression doesn’t prevent you from doing this. However, when my depression got worse (and I therefore needed more help) I fell through the cracks of a system that did not have the time/money/resources to conduct home visits. Which wouldn’t be so bad if it involved inanimate objects, but it is crushing when the fallout happens to a living, breathing, feeling PERSON.

    This situation also occurred with other departments, eg psychotherapy referrals. It takes months to hear from them, only to receive a rude, dismissive reply that home visits are not done and if they don’t hear from me within two weeks I will be discharged – no mention of other possible alternatives that could help/be more suitable at this time. NOT a compassionate thing to say to someone who is trying this help as a last resort and is suicidal.

    Worst was when my OK psychiatrist left to go to another job. I was reviewed by the replacement in a team meeting and it was decided that I would be discharged back to my GP. The replacement never met me or reviewed me. The nurse I was regularly said “That’s just what we do sometimes.” Issues: I was still waiting for a medication review; my GP referred me to the team in the first place to get more specialist help on which medications to prescribe; I still struggled to leave the house (even for food/medication/basic necessities) so how would I manage to reach my GP? And there is no continuity if you do reach them: appointments are so hard to get that you take the first one they offer but end up seeing a different person at each appointment.

    Utterly degrading to be ‘assessed’ when you’re not even at the assessment, and are not even involved in any part of the decision making process or asked what YOU think would be helpful. Utterly crushing for this to be done to a broken, desperate human being. Downright dangerous to do this to someone who is teetering on the edge of being able to cope, and who is the type of person the people in these SPECIALIST professions are PAID to ‘help’.

    If you have enough energy/brain power to complain, you have to fight your way through multiple levels of beurocracy in several different departments, only to have to repeat the process in order to make a complaint about the appalling response to the first complaint that you made; only when you say you will have to escalate the matter does your letter magically make it to the ‘big guns’ at the top who seem to get things sorted. But even this seemed to get lost in the waves as time passed and things were allowed to slide again.

    Currently back with the team who discharged me, although don’t feel able to trust the psychiatrist heading them up – staff are annoyingly unforthcoming about whether this is the same psychiatrist who did the dangerous discharging, or whether they were just filling a temporary position until a permanent replacement was found. Currently seeing a nurse who I initially felt optimistic about, until I didn’t hear from her for 2 months until my husband contacted her.

    Services seem to forget that they are dealing with PEOPLE who have put their very lives in the health service’s hands.

  17. My psychiatrist is incredibly unreliable (e.g., forgets to call in prescriptions and I have to remind him over and over that I need a refill). I research and strategize about my own medication regimen because he is too lazy to do so. He does not maintain accurate information in my file regarding current medications. He has never given me any information about what to do if I am in a crisis or who to call when he is out of town. I am a lawyer and he routinely asks me for legal advice.

    I have seen him for four years and have been very dissatisfied at times, but there is too much insurance hassle to try to change doctors at this point. At least he eventually calls in the prescriptions I have decided I need and my medications and moods are stable.

  18. I was given a six month perscription and given 4 counciling sessions. The pills just made me numb and caused weight gain. The counciling was just to check that I will not kill myself, not to actually address my condition. I did not renew the perscription and now feel as bad as I did before I first started treatment. This is, however, all my medical aid is willing to pay for. I just do not have enough energy to start the process again.

    I want a cure or at least coping strategies, not a temporary crutch.

  19. I’m so comforted by reading these other horror stories, it’s not just me but some psychiatrists are just shitty people.
    I’ve suffered with severe panic attacks and housebound agoraphobia for a decade. After having an insurance change I had to see a new psychiatrist. It is an emotional challenge for me to even take a taxi to her office. She literally tells me it is my “stupid life choices” of getting a cat, going to grad school, and dating my boyfriend (the person helping me through this) that gave me panic disorder. “I don’t mind treating panic disorder, I do it all the time. But you brought this on yourself and are being selfish asking me to help you.” 6 minutes later she ended the session. I may do a charge back on my co-pay…

    • This sounds horrible! But shitty people might determine the right medication as it happened in my shitty experience. :(

  20. Hi. I am currently trying to wrap my head around following paradox:

    My first psychiatrist spent approximately 12 minutes with me, prescribed me a medication that was life saving for my very bad somatic anxiety. However, the psychiatrist was not sharing nor nurturing. I was not informed (at all). I did not know for how long would I take the meds, nor I understood why should I take antipsychotics (their response was: “just in case”). I did not need it at all, but the point is, that it left me scared i would go crazy. There were also mistakes in my psychological report, but they did not care. As anxiety patient I needed an explanation. Or at least a bit of comfort, assurance, humanity? I will not go into details, but I resented the clinic and wanted to try living without meds.

    And I relapsed.

    Next time I met someone complete opposite. They have a great sense of humor, are nurturing, caring and genuinely curious, even about atypical, weird symptoms I report (as I am). They are very generous with their time. But we still did not find the right medication (in one year, although I only changed my antidepressants 1.5 months ago).
    They have a shorter practice than the first one.

    What should I do? Crawl back and beg the first one to take me back or stick to my current one and let months of my best years pass hoping they might eventually nail it? I do not want to lose them. Or offend them for I really appreciate them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>