Is it a requirement to be a nutjob to become a therapist?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SuZir, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Based on my own observation (mostly socially or with my dad's former addiction etc. counsellors, only tdocs I have ever seen have been rather sane and ordinary human beings) and stories difficult child is currently entertaining me with.

    He is trying to find a therapist and has gone through lots of websites of potential providers, made quite a many calls and had some meet and greet sessions to find out if they could be a match. His point of view is of course biased, he really isn't looking forward getting back to therapy though he knows he has to. He is also very science orientated and sceptical and doesn't do touchy feely or mushy at all. But especially some of the websites he has linked me are really from out there. Some really bizarre claims, coexistence of their licensed therapy services with really alternative ones and just plain extreme eccentrics. And these are all licensed therapists, mostly doing CBT with some more psycho-dynamically minded mixed in. And even after only calling to those with more suitable websites/other info and after that only having that meet and greet appointment with those he could consider, difficult child has had some really odd meet and greet appointments and is harbouring an idea that being crazy really is contagious and these tdocs have first got it from their patients and are now passing it on.

    One therapist he has met he can consider working with. But her location is less than ideal, if doable, and she isn't taking new patients before March. And I have an inkling that difficult child also has a problem with she being a she, I think he would prefer male therapist even if he doesn't say that aloud. Of course it is very female dominated business around here and trauma therapists are even more often women as are their patients (well, all patients of tdocs are mostly women, mental health issues are very much under diagnosed with men around here according to many studies and even those who are diagnosed are not likely to go for therapy as often as women.) difficult child's former therapist, whom he liked, was a man and difficult child has been living rather masculine and male dominated life most of his life, so trusting a female therapist, especially a one who he feels speaks too emotionally or asks difficult child to trust her too quickly may be difficult for him (some of the therapists difficult child has had those first appointments asked difficult child to make quite the leaps of faith and trust right on the first appointment, really didn't sit well for difficult child. difficult child does have few more meet and greets left before he has gone through all the tdocs in the area who are taking new patients next spring. Hopefully some of them is even better match than the one he is considering.

    But it really is rather astonishing how far away even some licensed therapists seem to be. And then there are unlicensed ones over whom no one is even watching and who tend to be really out there!
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    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
  2. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Suz, I've been to many. Some were crazier than the sickest patient they probably had. A few good ones that used cognitive therapy and/or dialectal behavioral therapy saved my life. I'd say, more were unhelpful than helpful, but the helpful ones were golden. Andl, yes, it was hard to find them. I found talk therapists useless. In the US, they have dumped Freud and I think that's a good thing, but still...many try to find out why you are, say, anxious by talking ad nauseam about your childhood, and I always believed my problems were largely inherited and I needed coping skills more than countless trips back to Memory Lane.

    Now I'm going to add a bit of humor here. I also worked at a medical answering service before there were cell phones and auto messaging, and many of the psychiatrists (more than the tdocs) were absolutely nuts. One psychiatrist had two kids in mental hospitals and seemed to never sleep and spoke very quickly. I worked with my best friend and we jokingly diagnosed him with bipolar. He burned out partners faster than candles. Nobody could keep up with his pace! A few psychiatrists had absolutely NO empathy. NONE. We used to joke about that too. In particular, we used to like to make up fake dialogues about a real doctor I will call Dr. L. He was the most coldhearted psychiatrist we had; maybe on earth. My friend and I would do little made up scripts with each other sometimes after talking to him, then we'd crack up laughing. They would go something like this:

    Friend: Dr. L! Dr. L! Mrs. Smith is standing on the roof of her house threatening to dive to the ground head first! Her husband is frantic and wants you to call him ASAP to tell him what to do until the police can get there.

    Me: (faking his British accent...he was from S. Africa...and with no expression) I just sat down to dinner. I will call him when I'm finished eating. (hangs up)

    Friend: (pretending to call Dr. L. again because distraught fake husband called back) Dr. L! Dr. L! She killed herself!

    Me again, faking accent and annoyance as Dr. L: So why did you call me back? There's nothing I can do. I'm out of contact for an hour now while I spend time with my mistress. Bye!"

    Wish this was a gross exaggeration. And, of course it is..., but not as much as you'd think!

    I actually lost a lot of respect for doctors in general at that job. We got to know the doctors AS THEY WERE and it was often not comforting, like the Oncologist who used to swear every time a cancer patient called him up after hours. The adoration people give doctors often goes to their heads.

    Our therapists were a mixed bag. Some were really kind and nice. But one psychology group, our biggest, was a soap opera. The head of the group had dumped his wife of twenty years to marry his much younger colleague, who was also on our answering service. Both were allegedly, as rumors went, heavily into serious drug abuse. That drug use allegedly permeated that entire group. Yet they were the busiest group with the most patients of all. Heaven help them all, is all I can say.

    Sometimes the head psychologist's ex wife would call us demanding we find him and make him call her RIGHT NOW and he would tell us "She's nuts. I'm not calling." And she'd call back and say, "He'd BETTER call. You tell him that." And it would go back and forth. We were in the middle of their tiff.

    The job was not only very enlightening and often funny, but it made both of us realize how very human our healthcare worekrs are. And since, I wanted to believe these people were more balanced and smarter than I was, it has made me cynical of the entire medical profession.

    I doubt that answers your question, but maybe it gives you some insight from another point of view. by the way, I loved that job. It was exciting and also very humorous.

    Tell your son not to give up, but to be very picky. He sounds bright. You don't want him to end up with somebody who isn't half as smart as he is. That happens (sigh). I wish him the best and lots of luck ;)
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  3. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Heh, we have quite a few MDs among our extended family and friends. I can assure you none of them is on the line for sainthood any time soon ;) Most are common, mostly decent people, some are more or less a**holes. Some are very smart, some not so much (but were very hard workers at school.) For most, in the end, it is just a job, not some higher calling. And having too much empathy or getting over involved with tragedies of their patients doesn't do any good to anyone. To be honest I don't expect or even want too much sympathy from my doctors (I do want them smart and dedicated though.) I'm totally okay with them such doing their job and not caring too much.

    I have seen few different therapists over the years, we were in parenting therapy when difficult child was young; that therapist was somewhat eccentric but still made also some sense. I always felt she may have even cared a bit about what happens to difficult child and us. Few years ago I did the 10 meeting short therapy for my anxiety and sleep issues. That therapist was very businesslike and like any other professionally behaving health care provider. Very similar attitude to physical therapist etc. I liked that a lot. Then there was a marriage counsellor, whose way of working, at least with us, was more to facilitate me and husband having conversations of topics of importance and give us some points and thoughts to think about. Worked well for us, but of course we were not yet in too bad place in our marriage when we went there. I can imagine similar method with people with trouble to talk, listen and compromise with each other or some really big problems would not do any good.

    Real whacky ones I have met either socially and do not know them in professional capacity (but if they are totally nuts in their private life, can they really make any good therapist?) or were therapists I met when my dad had his worse times. psychiatric side seemed to have their fair share of eccentrics, but real nutjobs were on addiction side. People whose only achievement in life was to marinate their brains in alcohol and drugs for twenty years, then go and wallow in the past substance abuse for next twenty years, never take their head out from their butt and notice there is actually world, live and other people around and not just them and their favourite substance and them using or not using it. And calling all that 'unique and extraordinary life-experience' that make them capable to be an expert in everyone else's business and any and all possible illnesses, ailments or lack of them those people may have. There were good ones too, but the type I described seemed to always be the loudest.

    But yeah, my difficult child will likely be very picky and biased. Likely many of those tdocs he feels are hopelessly too mushy and don't make sense, may be perfect fit for person who has all those bad feelings they can't really put afinger or decide where they come from. Giving patients even alternative ways to express those feelings (music and art etc.) can work wonders for them. difficult child then again feels like he would be sent back to pre-school. Of course difficult child would need to accept he too has those difficult feelings he doesn't know what to do with, but I think he probably needs the different approach and especially time to learn to know and trust the therapist first.

    According the studies it seems that the actual type of therapy and what school of thought therapists presents make much less difference to outcome than how well therapist and patient click. It is more about patient-therapist-relationship than if it is CBT, psycho-dynamic or psychoanalysis. If therapist and patient have good rapport and patient believes to the type of therapy, outcome is good and if not, outcomes are worse. So being picky when trying to find a therapist sounds like a good idea.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
  4. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Suz, what you wrote makes a lot of sense.

    Your son is a smart young man to be particular :)
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    SuZir... your son NEEDS to be picky and biased. And yes, he needs a male therapist.

    Can his current therapist recommend someone? We found that insiders tended to know more than they would tell you directly, but were more than willing to point out the 'stars' to us.
  6. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    His former therapist recommended three tdocs on difficult child's area, but unfortunately one doesn't take new patients currently, one is the possible option I mentioned and one difficult child is still to meet (but he isn't sure if he will have an opening or not for difficult child.) difficult child's sport psychiatric recommended that difficult child should ask from tdocs he meets if they have experiences of playing team sports to their teens at least or military experience, so even if women, they could maybe better understand difficult child's reality and point of views in that part. He has also promised to find out if some therapist he knows about and which military, police and fire departments use is still taking also private patients (sport psychiatric is former military and apparently has a friend or something who has been a patient of this guy.) Also the doctor from the team difficult child signed is asking around if those tdocs who are publicly telling they are taking new patients don't pan out, it isn't uncommon for some to have room for one or two patients but not putting their name to the list their union keeps to help patients find a therapist.

    Hopefully something pans out. difficult child really needs therapy but he is far from mature enough to be able to make the best out of it, if he finds himself with a therapist he considers an idiot or clueless.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2015
  7. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think that finding a good therapist and/or psychiatrist is kind of like dating .. you sometimes have to meet a lot of frogs before you find the "right one." And sometimes you never do! It's so important that personalities mesh when it comes therapist/patient relationships, and that can be tough.

    I always suggest getting recommendations from a current doctor whose personality you already know you get along well with, be it a psychiatrist or a primary care - I figure the ones they recommend will be ones whose personalities are similar. Hope your son is able to connect with one soon.

    There are definitely some crazies out there, and lots more that just don't "get it." Weeding through those is frustrating.
  8. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Seems like Ache got really lucky with his first therapist search, then he had only three options and one was a good fit. Now he is much better located and so has more options available, but finding a fit seems to be challenging.

    But what really inspired the heading to this topic was not only some titbits Ache has shared but remembering couple therapists I have known socially (luckily never had to deal with them in their professional capacity.) Other one was Ache's team mate's mother about a decade ago and we were assigned to work as a pair to all kinds of fund-raising activities, keeping up the coffee kiosk in kids' games being one of the most common tasks. Okay, I'm sure none of us parents were so thrilled about those tasks, but her spaciness was way over the top. And while her anti-stress, zen and radical acceptance ways of taking in life could certainly sound wise and deep, she certainly took it bit far in little real life difficulties. I mean, while it is not reason to have a panic attack or call police, ambulance and fire department, when you come to open a coffee kiosk and notice that coffee has run out or coffee maker doesn't work, I didn't really appreciate her way of just stating the issue, sitting down and proclaiming we apparently are not able to sell coffee today, either. :D I used to complain to my husband at home, that if she somehow would step aside from the road to deeper snow or slip and fell, she would likely just state that she was stuck/fell and then stay there till she would freeze to death without making any attempt to solve the issue. I have to say that I'm proud of the constraint I showed in never pushing her to snow bank to test this theory though... Not so proud about the glee I felt next summer, when I found out her son was placed to lower development level team than mine and that meaning our days slaving together were over. I did sometimes wonder about her patients, who probably were looking to actually solve their issues.

    There is also a therapist living in our village, who sees ghosts, lots of them, and talks about that all the time. And that is just a starting point of her eccentrics.

    And these are licensed, qualified tdocs, who knows about the unqualified ones (well, one from the town next to us was just charged for sexual abuse of his patients after he claimed to heal their various issues by all kinds of techniques that included women being naked and him touching their private areas.)
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2015