I Knew I had a Good/Bad Psychiatrist/Therapist When… 41

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


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.

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….

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

You might also be interested in Should You Find a New Therapist?

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

  • Deborah

    I really liked my therapist in the beginning; she was always cheerful and smiling. Being in her 30’s, I thought she’d give me a fresh outlook on life and help me better deal with my anxiety, depression and anger. We got into a routine where I would read to her from my journal and we would discuss the entries. At about the 6th session, I brought up to her that I might have Borderline Personality Disorder. She said affirmatively that I did have it, even though she had previously agreed with another diagnosis of Bipolar Depression that I received from another doctor. I felt it was very coincidental that she mentioned it only after I did and asked why. She went into a whole story about how she wanted to be sure before saying anything, that BD is very similar to BPD, etc. (It’s not.)
    Needless to say, I was very upset! I thought she would tell me not to worry, that I didn’t have BPD because I didn’t fit all the main symptoms. But it seemed she was basing her opinion solely on my stormy relationships with my husband and sisters, who are difficult to deal with, regardless.
    Then she asked why having that diagnosis was so bad. Really??!! I said I felt it was like a death sentence for me- no cure and it just sounds really bad. She said, “We just want to look at symptoms here, not labels”. Then why did she feel the need to label me at that particular moment? If she hadn’t given me the diagnosis on your own within the 6 weeks because she wasn’t sure, then just say, “I need to think about this some more”. To tell me right after I mentioned it was extremely unprofessional and incompetent.
    Incidentally, no psychiatrist or therapist in the last 30 years has ever diagnosed me with BPD.

  • Art Washburn

    I have been being treated at the V.A. Medical Centers for over 10 years. My primary care doctor is a great doctor he actually listens to me and seems sincerely concerned about my physical health, I really like him. However on the other hand, I have been through a number of Psychiatrists, over all, they have been pretty good at identifying my mental health concerns, but every time I have established a rapport and got on well those doctors moved on and i was left to try to re-establish a rapport with a new doctor and have done well until recently. This Psychiatrist was cold and indifferent, he didn’t listen to me, rapport is a state of harmonious understanding with another individual or group that enables greater and easier communication. In other words rapport is getting on well with another person, or group of people, by having things in common, this makes the communication process easier and usually more effective. This guy is not a good doctor, he offered me Buspirone hydrochloride [Buspar] for my Panic Disorder, and GAD. I told him what use to work for me in these situations,which was a mild dose of clonazepam, like 0.5 mg. But He didn’t listen to me when I tried to explain that Buspar in combination with my other medications results in what is commonly known as ‘The Thorazine Shuffle’ He told me to increase my Seroquel in the daytime, I never take that in the daytime because I can’t function, it turns me into a drooling vegetable. I told him how certain situation s brought on these anxiety attacks, for example, I have 2 cats, they are the sweetest things in my life next to my wife. She is definitely #1. However, I keep a 5 gallon bucket with a kitchen type garbage bag to sift through the cat litter, and empty the litter into when it becomes fouled and smells like an ammonia-like odor characteristic of stale old urine. I carry this bucket up the stairs from the basement and out the door to my large garbage can, it can weigh up to 50 pounds and when I finish that task I always have a panic attack because I can’t breath right. He said, stop doing that. WTF? Am I suppose to be a Zombie? I can’t function on a normal level? I don’t understand any of this and I’m not going back to him. I have COPD, and need oxygen. Mid May, sent wife on a paid vacation to a nice motel in Illinois to see her youngest son graduate high school. My wife Dee wanted me to go to the doctor about 6 days before she left. Should have listened, but you know how men are. LOL After she left I drove myself to the ER. They took my vitals I had a 106 fever, and my oxygen level was below 45, normal is 90 and up. I fell into a coma and had to be kept on Life Support, they attempted to take me off 3 or 4 times, however none met with any success. So she had to return early, she had a few mishaps with the busses on the way back and she arrived very late or early in the morning, like 4 am. They told her the options were to either give me a tracheotomy and a feeding tube or just pull the plug. She said, No no I’m going to trust God on this. Give him another week or so and play some classic rock. They did and immediately my feet started moving. She took my hands and clowned me saying ‘Look We are dancing’ LOL I have no recollection of this. However 2 days later I awoke to the sound of The Allman Brothers singing Midnight Rider. It’s always been a song I adopted for myself. Wierd Huh? Now they are telling me I don’t Need oxygen, I’m having a seriously difficult time with these wrong diagnosis.

  • mike

    I’ve visited one psychiatrist in my life. One time. The visit was about 10 minutes long. He asked one question. He wanted to know what medication I was after. That’s it. He was simply rubber-stamping pills. I now prefer to speak only to psychologists, thank you. I do take an antidepressant, but I have had it prescribed by my GP only after much discussion with my psychologist and my GP.

    …and that’s how I tell the difference between a good Dr and a bad Dr.

  • Richard

    Throughout the course of the last 30 years I’ve seen a number of psychiatrists. Some were emphatic and down to earth and some were just plain out to lunch.

    I’ve suffered from childhood depression, anxiety, OCD and panic disorders for over 40 years. Abuse in catholic school and an abusive father led me trough a rocky road for the rest of my life.

    I attempted suicide three times in my life via medication overdoses and oleander plant poisioning. Luckily I was never admitted to a psych ward because my injestion of these toxins just made me vomit and have severe diarrhea. No one ever knew about it.

    My last recent stint with a psychiatrist was an unbelievably costly venture. In just a little over two weeks it cost me $3,000! I was seeing her every week as she said it was necessary for me to do so.

    We pretty much talked about the same things with every visit. In essence the talk therapy was going no where.

    Her actual hourly rate is $150.00 an hour, but if she makes any medication changes or merely asks if my medication is working well for me she charges an additional $200.00! So it’s cost me $350.00 ever time I’ve had a session with her. Unethical? You bet.

    Another thing that made me uncomfortable with this doctor is her inclusion of spirituality in my therapy sessions, and trying to make me believe that the universe holds a higher power, etc.

    And she uses “guided medication” that is supposedly to help me “connect” with “the white light.”

    I’m an atheist and I already told her that I don’t believe in any religion or a god. And she says that I need to connect to a higher power (non religious) to make me feel whole and part of the universe. I know this is absolute bunk. Sheer pseudo-scientific malarkey.

    I believe that we’re all alone in this universe and what we have in this life is all there is.

    Anyway, I’m really disappointed that I was taken advantage (made a cash cow)by this doctor.

    I’ll be seeing my GP for my meds from now on that my psychiatrist prescribed. At least the meds are working acceptably. And my GP only charges $100.00 for a visit, and he’s a great doctor who I’ve know for 30 years.

  • Travel & Leisure

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  • Mom to Heather

    I went to a terd of a therapist. If it feels bad and sounds bad, it really is BAD. All is well.
    PS_ Experience does NOT make one professional or a good person !!!!

  • Christine Henderson

    I sympathize with all of you here and feel your pain. The medical and psychiatric help I get lately sucks! I met my new psychiatrist today and he is very rude. I read in reviews he curses at his colleagues and he is unprofessional.

    Yes he is so rude. I walked in with my pale face and no makeup. I use skin lightening creams such as for my dark eye circles. He told me right away I looked like a train wreck. I have uneven hair that is growing out.

    I had a nice head wrap on and this overweight Middle Eastern doctor was full of himself. I said my other doctor stopped taking my insurance. This unprofessional doctor said I see why.

    This doctor had nothing nice to say overall. I said it’s not nice to call me a train wreck. He said it’s not his job to be nice. He saw Brian’s contact information on his computer and said oh another one, like another nut lol..

    This man said it is by chance or something of the sort I have not cracked being on so little medicine for years. He wants me to take something I believe had a bad effect on me. He was not the type to listen. So I am going to talk to the person who runs my center who found my friends, two sisters a psychiatrist. I am going to see if the person who helped them will help me.

    This bad doctor said I think too much and he was full of venom. He said I do not know myself in a snotty way when I said this is my personality. I agreed I may look like a train wreck but still think it is unprofessional to tell clients this.

    I refuse to be over-medicated. I said I get up at 3 AM to get ready for my ride around 7 AM. This man says it’s too early and that me going to sleep at 7 PM is too early. I work online and am structured there is nothing wrong with getting up and taking 4 hours to get ready.

    I shower and my hair has to dry. The last doctor who moved on always said I was doing good. I have trouble sleeping more lately due to the humidity. I see when the doctors do not get paid their worth their attitude changes and they abuse the clients. My other therapist was always late too and got defensive when confronted about it.

    She turned it around and called me an aggressive bully and continued coming into our appointments about an hour late between arriving at work after the appointment time, having coffee, and making wait more when I am in chronic pain. The therapist’s response was everyone has pain and must wait. I tried to talk to someone in charge who said this lady was the only therapist who took my HMO.

  • K

    I had a therapist during my last summer in college who I think was the best I ever had. He helped me get closure on a traumatic long-distance relationship that was in its death throes. His advice probably helped just enough to get me through those last few classes I needed to graduate. I knew he was excellent, though, the last time I ever saw him, because he told me flat out to watch out for a relapse in my emotions. I was happy to have achieved some closure, but he made sure to give me a hard, realistic stance: you WILL relapse; you just know now what to look for and that you can get through it. He was right. I’d kill to have him in my life now.


    Most others have been nonhelpful or downright bad (though I’d say there isn’t much of a difference.)

    1) My counselor during the worst part of that relationship above (it started at a different school) just kept having me come back and talk week after week about it. She basically just went along with whatever I wanted to talk about. I didn’t gain anything from out time, and I still had to drop classes in my LAST semester at college due to the deleterious effects of that relationship. That’s part of why I needed summer school, where I met the good guy.

    So many therapists get into that “What do you want to talk about this week?” mode. I’M STRUGGLING MINUTE-BY-MINUTE, and as a professional, you’re supposed to know that. Especially when I straight up tell you that. I’m the one that’s messed up. Why do you let me waste my time and money on you in a way that leaves me empty for the other 167 hours of the week? It seems ethically- and morally-inhumane to let a sick person just prescribe their own treatment.

    2) I have a horrifically-stressful and emotionally-draining job in a family business. I’ve been to therapy many times about this. I mentioned to one of them that I was getting so tired when I’d get home at night from that chaos I’d just be worn out. His response was that “that’s the first sign that you’re getting old.” I was 28 years old! That just felt super. He also suggested that I go get myself an “apprentice” from the local college to help me out at my job. It’s not the sort of job where pouring my effort into a no-nothing assistant makes things easier on me. He just was spitballing. Thanks, man.

    3) My girlfriend and I went to couple’s counseling, and I thought this therapist had some potential. But then she started pushing…HARD…this “tapping solution” bullshit that she swore would help me with my stress and other anxieties. I was so blown away by how silly this felt when I had serious need of useful coping techniques that I never was able to take her seriously again. My girlfriend couldn’t either. I realized that a lot of therapists are just reading self-help books and not even a whole lot of them. They’re not getting into a professional level of analysis and research that I would expect from someone I’m paying to be a professional therapist.

    4) My girlfriend and I went to talk to an addiction counselor, because my girlfriend is addicted to online gaming. The counselor not only was more interested in my codependent issues than my girlfriend’s addiction issues, but she was so out-of-touch about THIS form of addiction that she flat out told my girlfriend “but they’re not REAL people you’re playing with.” My girlfriend and I met online; we are 100% aware that we are dealing with 100% real people on the other end of the wires. My girlfriend was immediately turned off by this and refused to go back.


    I’m so disgusted at this point by therapists and the crapshoot they end up being that I just can’t see myself going to one even if feel like it might be beneficial. I just can’t keep putting myself through the pain of not getting help from the people who are supposed to be TRAINED to help.

    My GP has a very dim view of their efficacy, and he’s been a doctor for 45 years and seen everything. He’s the sort of the guy that you ALWAYS regret NOT trusting. He actually is a better counselor than the dedicated ones I’ve seen, so I let him manage my medications and give me advice. But that’s once a month for maybe 20-30 minutes. It’s all I can trust, though. It’s a pretty hopeless feeling knowing what a low-percentage chance of success you have with such a high commitment of money and time when you dip your toe into therapy.

  • Susan

    I knew I had a great psychiatrist the first time I saw him. He saved my life and was my dr. for 13 years. He died last week from colon cancer at 51. He had to close his practice in May but we kept in touch by email. I loved him dearly and so did his colleagues and other patients. I feel like my heart’s been ripped out.

  • NR

    A good psychiatrist will take all the personal and family history first and look for signs and symptoms relating psychiatric issues. Then try psychotherapy first, without any medications. If the symptoms are serious, will ask you to go for some tests. If there is any chemical imbalance in the tests then prescribe medicines with low dose. After your brain and your body response well with low dosage, if symptoms still persists, then increase your dosage. Working with brain is nothing like working with body.

  • ellen

    Has anyone ever had a psychologist ask you if you would ever harm him? (I did say a strange thing before he asked me that. We were talking about suicide,not mine, and I said that it comes with the territory- meaning being a psychologist.) Could that have provoked him to say that to me?

  • Flyover

    I presented myself to ER at a hospital in St. Paul after 35 years of depression that has escalated to frightening thoughts of suicide. With the support of my family I decided to finally get the help I needed and was evaluated and placed in a very nice in-patient unit with amazing staff. I felt actual HOPE…and finally, after 26 hours, I met the psychiatrist who was going to put together a long term plan to address my depression, grief issues, drinking, and formulate a plan that encompassed medicine, coping skills and hook me up with an appropriate therapist. My interview took ten minutes during which he goaded me, checked his watch, questioned my previous decisions and ended it by discharging me onthe spot because I was not suicidal when I presented myself and it would not be covered my insurance. I was SOBBING led out of the unit, the door shut behind me and I went across the highway to a hotel where I ingested two bottles of pills. Luckily I vomited them up because of nausea.

  • MarshallTomas

    I was lucky enough to get referred to a very kind therapist on my first go. She was sweet, she listened, she treated me like a human. It was all good and well while I was going through a horrific break-up of a 5-year relationship, and having constant breakdowns from hormonal and anti-depressant medications that didn’t work.

    Finally got on a med that worked for me, sort of. It at least helps me recognize and stop depressive behaviors. But, I’m still not “okay.” I’m not really diagnosed with anything, since she was only a therapist. Trying to find a psychiatrist has been hell.

    I stopped going to my therapist, actually, because she was too friendly. We started to get along. I started to know about her home life, her other job, her family. And that’s…not a good thing. Because that meant I started lying to her. I didn’t want to make her sad by the simple fact that, while the therapy helped for a day or two after our session, after that I just reverted back to what I was before. I didn’t tell her the truth. I stopped telling her my actual thoughts. Despite her being a ‘good’ therapist it didn’t work…Sometimes the best therapy isn’t the most friendliest one…

  • Christina Parada

    I remember I went tot he emergency to get prsecriptions and there was this Asian psychiatrist. she read my file and when she read I was on cloaaril at the time, she moved away from me. I reported to tmy therapist, the therapist made a complaint and they fired. I asked her if she does every time she reads, she said” I don’t want ot get hit, now you’ll listen to me.” I told them that I get people fored bevcause that’s how I do things. if she listned to me, changed her behavior and said sorry she wouldn’t have gotten fired. but because she was worried about being hit, she continued the staigma. that enede her fired in a bad econmy and any mental helath facilty that hears that she stigmatized someone for taking cloazril wouldn’t hire her, nobody wants to have a trpublemaker psychiatrist working for them.

  • Robert

    Knew he was bad when my blood pressure only turned up high at his office. Either he is clueless on how to take it (did it around my forearm at first), has a terribly calibrated blood pressure machine, or is trying to milk me for more money(which is what im convinced this is by actually toying with it to read high.) 10 min before id go and this place is right down the street from my moms, 120ish/70 or 80. At his place, 150 over 70/80, error, etc. 10 min after his place back to normal testing at my moms apartment. Everywhere else I have it taken it comes back grossly normal. I am not nervous or stressed out and THE ONLY place that it is EVER high is at his office. Went to my general practitioner to get it tested FOR him about a year ago, blood pressure came back normal. Family history of LOW blood pressure. He will sometimes freak out that “it’s too high” ask for a log, and only write 1 prescription (aka one month) instead of 3. This means more money in his pocket for having to see him more frequently. I’m done with his shit, and will be moving to someone else.