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Psychotherapy, 2nd time around?

Rorschach

Rorschach

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Well, not many people are using the Westminster section of the Forums, so I may as well post a thread that isn't a sticky.

This year I attended my first psychotherapy session. It has been a long old slog. I've been arguing for therapy for years (since 1992), but whether or not they thought I was too ill at times it never seemed to happen. So I was overjoyed to find out that there was a service available at my local hospital. I was keen to get to work and try and untangle some of the knots in my psyche, and as the day approached I was looking forward to actual make a start on what had been such a long desire.

So the day arrived and I turned up at the allocated time, only to be told that they had booked the wrong time and that I should come back and hour and a half later. No problem, I'd just go and grab a coffee, check my email, smoke a fag, not that different to what I would have been doing had I been at home.

I returned to the hospital and was shown upstairs I was really ready to begin what might be a difficult journey as I confronted the demons of my own mind. I was shown into the consultancy room, and had the psychotherapist introduce herself, I extended my hand in normal protocol, but the hand of the psychotherapist did not meet it, rather it signalled to a third person in the room who was introduced as the psychotherapist's colleague. I shook hands with the colleague, and then turned again to shake the psychotherapist's hand to discover that she was now sitting down. I held out my hand and she reluctantly shook it. I sat down and began in my normal chatty self explained that as I had laryngitis and this was a talking therapy I might have some problem with my voice holding up. The therapist sat nodding without saying too much, a little akin to Churchill the nodding dog, except perhaps not as helpful. A short time past, accompanied by the obligatory nodding, building to crescendo and the unbelievable statement ‘So this is what you are bringing to us today?’. I was incredulous; it was like some comic parody of a therapist, which was, as the axiom states ‘somewhere between the sublime and the ridiculous’, but certainly unintentionally sublime while plainly ridiculous. I left after a very short time, I did however write a letter at the time which I may as well reproduce for the thread....
 
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Rorschach

Rorschach

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XXXXX XXXX,
Apartment XX,
XXXXXX XXXXX,
XX XXXXX XXXXXX,
Westminster,
Greater London,
SW1X XXX.
18th July 2007,​


Dr. XXXXXX,
I opened your letter today with some amazement and not a little amusement. Firstly let me say I have never witnessed a greater demonstration of positivity bias in my limited experience; I must presume that it is an attempt at humour, but if it is heartfelt and genuine it is equally amusing. You honestly believe that I was affected by an incorrect appointment being made, when I have waited for 15 years for a referral to psychological/psychotherapeutic department to treat what I believe to be the environmental/psychological aetiological factors contributing to my diagnosed condition and other dysfunctional behaviours? 90 minutes merely meant a coffee, checking some emails, and a few cigarettes, all things that I find pleasure in. I must then presume, as stated, that you’re are suffering positivity bias at best, covering your tracks, or are indeed yourself delusional; my reaction was caused by action even if it was passive rather than active, and I will touch on discourses of power later.


My recall of the situation is unlikely to be different to yours, however my interpretation will almost certainly be different; I would like to use the analogy of harassment here, which is judged by how the harassed individual feels, and not necessarily what was intended or understood by the harasser.


I entered your office and was in the process of exchanging greetings (i.e. was about to shake hands) when you introduced your colleague. I acknowledged your colleague, shook hands, and turned to continue my initial greeting with you. It was obviously a common courtesy that you had no intention of observing as you were in the process of seating yourself, and had to check that action to shake hands. You then sat, and I thought that I would explain that I was weak of voice as I had been suffering from viral laryngitis for over 6 weeks. Your response to this fact was the incredulous; ‘So this is what you are bringing to us today?’ followed by a brief silence. I explained that it was no more complicated than informing you, prior to commencement of a ‘talking therapy’, that the laryngitis would hinder my ability to speak; as the unverifiable attributed Freud quote states, ‘sometimes a cigar is just a cigar’. You then sat in silence, at no time making any attempt to outline, as ethically required, any semblance of a treatment programme or what could be hoped from an initial consultation which might lead to treatment. I believe that informed consent is an ethical obligation, I can only assume that the medical gaze, your years as a psychiatrist, the realities of the MHA, and the subsequent freedom that that allows you in regard to observation of individual human rights or a patient’s feelings have not been supplanted by your psychotherapeutic training; a trick-cyclist with an extra trick remains a trick-cyclist. I asked why you were employing the elongated periods of silence by venturing ‘Do they teach you these pregnant pauses at school?’ You might think that this interjection would have been a perfect opportunity to actually engage in normal human discourse, but no. While you may think that professional detachment legitimises your behaviour, a brief look into what is ethically required of the professional makes clear that despite what the medical déformation professionnelle may dictate, it does not excuse your behaviour, except perhaps for you and your colleagues who may share your ideological perspective. Your reply in actuality was ‘Do you think I am practising a technique on you?’ to which I replied that it was not possible for me to comment (i.e. I did not have enough data), rather I was trying to ascertain why you were employing silence, rather than engaging in any accepted norms of interaction. At this point I illustrated to you that there were common courtesies that could be expected; when I ordered a coffee they were observed, when I queued and boarded a bus they were (occasionally) observed, and that I saw no reason why they should not be observed in a clinical setting. If they (i.e. the ‘pregnant pauses’) were indeed a ‘technique’ as you ventured, then you were in breach of ethics by conducting any treatment prior to gaining informed consent, which you are of course well aware of. If your actions were merely a result of a discourteous disposition, then in treatment of persons suffering from mental illness and/or psychological disorders you clearly are breaching your duty of care, and are not fit for purpose. In both cases you are in breach of your obligation to the state as the authority responsible for remuneration of the ‘services’ you provide, unless of course you are briefed beyond psychotherapy. The ‘pregnant pauses’ continued punctuated as before with the all telling, I presume meant to approximate an all knowing, nod exhibited as a badge of honour by so many in the medical profession; professional detachment? I quipped that a discourse analyst would have a field day with the ongoing ‘consultation’ which was really little more than a soliloquy. Your continued silence with the addition of the obligatory bob of the head began to annoy me, and even the addition of an ‘Ahh yes’ á la Churchill the nodding insurance dog, would have had more value and made me more inclined to stay. As it was I decided that the consultation was over. I pointed out as I left you would be well served to enrol on a course that explores the dynamics of discourse and power, but given the display of positivity bias in your letter, maybe a refresher course on Social Psychology might not be a bad addition to your timetable.

In summary I can only assume that your letter is an attempt by you to ‘cover bases’ (or perhaps humour?) as there is no real likelihood that you can seriously expect me to allow you to conduct your interpretation of psychotherapy upon me. I will in light of this decline your offer preferring to bang my head against a wall in actuality, rather than figuratively. If you contact anyone related to my historic treatment you will find that I am open and attempt to be honest to the extent that it may well lead to affective symptomatology.


XXXXX XXXX.
 
daffy

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Good for you rorsrach. I didnt find talking therapy much good but group therapy was better.

I didnt have a clue what i was supposed to say when i went in, and we must have sat there for over 5 mins b4 she started writing on a whiteboard and saying what comes next:confused:

After about half an hour we did start talking , so i went back for the next session, again this was very slow to start, but then she hit upon my childhood and i clammed up. Gradually bits and pieces came out but i found it all so traumatic that i stopped going.

That was 3 years ago and they want me to start again, but im not sure i want to stir up the past.

Has your therapist relied to your letter rorsrach
 
Rorschach

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As a reply to this letter I recieved another letter from the 'good doctor' saying she understood my position and held the door open should I wish to return for another appointment. After discussing it with my wife, and after considering the fact I had waited 15 years for treatment (and I must say against my better judgement as it turned out) I decided to go back to for a second consultation.

I entered into the consultancy room to again be greeted by a cold face, and equally anti-social behaviour. I ventured 'Did you not read my letter?' No reply, so I tried again 'What makes you think you are excused from the social norms of interaction'. This managed to get a reply 'But this is not a social event' what an inane reply; surely it wasn't a night at the opera, or an evening at the theatre, or even a trip to the pub, but by an stretch of the imagination it was occuring within society, and was thus a social event. I pointed this out to the doctor saying 'You may think that the clinic is somehow excused from the norms of social interaction and etiquette, but the clinic is very much within society, not some ivory tower lying outside'

I left, somewhat put out that the stoney faced old crow was the the end of my quest for therapy.

This has ultimately lead to me refusing to see any health practitioners at my local hospital for micro political reasons (they do have an annoying habit of covering each other's backs), although I continue to pick up my medication from my GP.

So to the basic point of this thread. As a result of the new services directory (see sticky) I have managed to track down a therapy service in my area outside of the parameters of the biomedical/neuropsychiatric system. I am hopeful that this could turn out to be of a more humane/humanist approach. The website itself states 'for people who specifically require a spiritual perspective in their counselling and psychotherapy', well that's got to be better than Mengele's long lost daughter.

Will keep people posted whether I find my second (well third) attempt more fruitful...
 
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Rorschach

Rorschach

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Good for you rorsrach. I didnt find talking therapy much good but group therapy was better.

I didnt have a clue what i was supposed to say when i went in, and we must have sat there for over 5 mins b4 she started writing on a whiteboard and saying what comes next:confused:

After about half an hour we did start talking , so i went back for the next session, again this was very slow to start, but then she hit upon my childhood and i clammed up. Gradually bits and pieces came out but i found it all so traumatic that i stopped going.

That was 3 years ago and they want me to start again, but im not sure i want to stir up the past.

Has your therapist relied to your letter rorsrach
Oh dear Daffy...I was hoping that this was unusual rather than the norm!!! Was your therapist a psychiatrist trained in psychotherapy, or a therapist that came from a different route????

As to an answer she replied inviting me for another session which was just as bad (see above)

Let's hope this new group of people are a bit more sympathetic and open. I don't expect to dump my woes on them and for them to carry them about. I understand the need for detachment, but that doesn't have to be taken so literally that it is downright rude, n'est pas?

:mad:
 
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Rorschach

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Actually as an afterthought, I'd like to recount a trip to see an ENT specialist. It was as a result of the laryngitis I have been suffering from for months now. In sharp contrast to the therapist he was friendly, explained fully the treatment he was about to undertake, adhered to social norms, and was an effective clinician. Given the organ he was treating was my throat, he took great measures to make me feel at ease. Ironically Psychiatrists who treat the organ of the brain, seem to pay little attention or care to how their patient and the specific organ is treated or how the patient is left feeling. If that is how it appears to a patient, despite predictable protestations from such clinicians, then that is the reality.

And therapy is meant to help??? If I find rude people I'd rather it was in everyday life; I certainly don't expect them to be paid by the treasury to supposédly execute a duty of care toward me. Chancellor Darling, you need to get a refund!!!!
 
sandybob

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the very first therapist they sent me to after being in hospital (not sure of her exact title .. psychiatrist, psychotherapist or wot ? all she did was generally direct all her questions to my husband (including the question "does she want another baby?" !!!!!!!!!!!!:eek::eek::eek:
oh .. she did give me a bit of paper with a recommendation for a relaxation tape to buy :rolleyes:

i of course sat drooling and rocking in the corner obviously unable to be spoken to like an adult human being :mad:
 
Rorschach

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the very first therapist they sent me to after being in hospital (not sure of her exact title .. psychiatrist, psychotherapist or wot ? all she did was generally direct all her questions to my husband (including the question "does she want another baby?" !!!!!!!!!!!!:eek::eek::eek:
oh .. she did give me a bit of paper with a recommendation for a relaxation tape to buy :rolleyes:

i of course sat drooling and rocking in the corner obviously unable to be spoken to like an adult human being :mad:

And it was a woman????? Not that it would have been any better if it had been a man, but at least you could have thought 'Huhhhh....MEN!'

It is annoying being treated like an idiot, that's for sure. I think in the end that's what is going to stop me seeing psychiatric services.

(by the way did you see the SE London forum was set up re: Lewisham?)
 
sandybob

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And it was a woman????? Not that it would have been any better if it had been a man, but at least you could have thought 'Huhhhh....MEN!'

It is annoying being treated like an idiot, that's for sure. I think in the end that's what is going to stop me seeing psychiatric services.

(by the way did you see the SE London forum was set up re: Lewisham?)

yes ! i am a red sandybob now :D (when im having a better day or two i'll start it off (although there doesnt seem to be any more lewisham bods yet)



i don't know where these people get their training... i was completely gobsmacked by her asking that ,, i had just spent two months in hospital having brain surgery and such .. the last thing that was going to be on my mind was having another baby :rolleyes:
 
Rorschach

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Well I'll keep you posted about how I find this new place. It's a way out for you, but what is a freedom pass for??? ;) It's in a lovely place, good vibes, I used to stay around there. It's in an area called Little Venice on the canal...

 
sandybob

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Actually as an afterthought, I'd like to recount a trip to see an ENT specialist. It was as a result of the laryngitis I have been suffering from for months now. In sharp contrast to the therapist he was friendly, explained fully the treatment he was about to undertake, adhered to social norms, and was an effective clinician. Given the organ he was treating was my throat, he took great measures to make me feel at ease. Ironically Psychiatrists who treat the organ of the brain, seem to pay little attention or care to how their patient and the specific organ is treated or how the patient is left feeling. If that is how it appears to a patient, despite predictable protestations from such clinicians, then that is the reality.

And therapy is meant to help??? If I find rude people I'd rather it was in everyday life; I certainly don't expect them to be paid by the treasury to supposédly execute a duty of care toward me. Chancellor Darling, you need to get a refund!!!!

that is a very good point :cool:
 
C

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Sorry to hear that your therapy session/s did not go too well. It is just another note to add that these so called p-docs are not so helpful to us. I do think they make matters worse. You come out worse then you went in....judging by what you have said

Chicken
 
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Rorschach

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Well I didn't receive an email, so today I mailed the place again. Received an email saying they got back to me to arrange an initial assessment and to give them a ring. Email must have been lost in cyber space!!!! So I have booked an initial appointment for early next week. They sound a nice bunch, much more my cup of tea than what I had last time. I'm really hoping that this could help me as I have some behaviours that are really beginning to bore me.

Will keep you all posted.
 
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