good shrink / bad shrink ?
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03-02-2012, 05:27 PM
good shrink / bad shrink ?
Something in lucradis' insomnia thread just made me think:

(03-02-2012 11:04 AM)iluvatar77 Wrote:  but consult a shrink, some of us are good people Wink

How to define a good shrink or a bad shrink.

I can only talk from experience but here it is:

When I had my "very bad time" and I was finally seeking for help, and I found a clinical program (payed for by my health insurance back then) where you would also have sessions with a shrink, that shrink had no clue how to help me.
I had previously read a lot of course because I wanted to know what's wrong with me. So when I met that psychologist he had no idea how to work with me because he soon realized that there is nothing I didn't read about or think about already. He poked here and there and when the program was over for me I was still in the very same state of mind as in the beginning.

So then I found another shrink (from a list I got from the clinical program). First session she wanted to know my whole life. I told her I don't feel so well telling a stranger my whole life in the first session, but she said she needs to know all this to have a background we can work with Undecided She more or less made me tell her everything within an hour. She saw more of her sheet and pen than of me in that session. She only looked up when I stopped talking. It was very exhausting, not helpful and I didn't go again.

After that I decided to work on my problems myself and tadaa, it took a bit but it worked. Though I have been diagnosed with a certain condition (don't feel like sharing the exact details, sorry) I have been almost symptom free for 2 years now.

So did I just get bad shrinks by accident or what?
Is it a major problem for a shrink when the patient read about the diagnosed condition?
Is it a problem when the patient knows what's wrong?

I'd be interested in your experiences and opinions on this topic?
Did you ever meet a shrink that was able to help you?
How did he/she work? How did it help you?
How would you decide wether or not a shrink is good?
How would you decide wether you stay with exactly this shrink?
What do you think about diagnosing people with all kinds of things? I feel there is some "overdiagnosing" going on sometimes and then you have a label and you can not get rid of that label again, it's in your paperwork, diagnosed by a certified psychologist... scary especially when a condition is said to never go away like mine, "you will always have it, sometimes worse, sometimes not so bad..." They make one feel like a lost case really.

brainstorm please

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4" - George Orwell (in 1984)
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03-02-2012, 09:27 PM
RE: good shrink / bad shrink ?
Did you ever meet a shrink that was able to help you? Yes, I did therapy for about 10 years with group therapy for about 6 of those years. I found it to be very helpful and enjoyed it.

How did he/she work? How did it help you? Assuming we're talking about talk therapy, the therapist will have you talk about your life, your feelings etc. It helped me to understand why I am who I am, why I have certain feelings, taught me how to do that same exploration on my own without a therapist.

How would you decide whether or not a shrink is good? First you're going to have to have some trust that the process works, even if you don't understand why or how. Just do what the therapist says and talk. I didn't get why/how it would be helpful at first, but after a few sessions I got some inkling that it was going to be good for me because I was learning about myself. I'm told that some shrinks primarily listen. My shrink was more interactive, partly because I demanded it and partly due to it being his style anyway. Like any profession there's a range of abilities. Some therapists are rote technicians just grinding through a methodology, and others are true healers.

How would you decide whether you stay with exactly this shrink? I'd give it a few sessions and see if you feel like you can develop a good relationship with this person.

What do you think about diagnosing people with all kinds of things? I don't know what issues you are dealing with. I wasn't doing it to be diagnosed - it was my own choice and desire to work on some self-improvement. I think most therapy is of that type, not aimed at determining that you are an X, or that you have X, but working on your issues.
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04-02-2012, 03:29 AM
RE: good shrink / bad shrink ?
Thanks for the answer Jeff. I wasn't doing it to be diagnosed either as you see from my first post. I needed help dealing with my issues and I did not find the help I needed. I only felt that the therapists had no clue what they were doing.
I understand that talking is important but I do not rate it as a plus when you are in the first session and the therapist isn't even able to look up and in your face for 5 minutes. That's frustrating. And to see if it's working, the first session is the keysession, not only for the patient but also for the therapist. The therapist wants to keep the patients because he is making a living of it, the patient needs help.
The first therapist, in that clinical program, at some point, near the end of my time there, he actually had a good idea how to work with me, and it started helping but there wasn't enough time left.

I am no therapist, didn't even study at a university but I helped people getting over real bad trauma with a pretty therapy like style. And I took the time to look up and to ask the right questions and to give the right imput. So how comes that I can do that, never having studied this, but a therapist can't when they have a decree? I thought the decree in a certain area means that you know your job...

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4" - George Orwell (in 1984)
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04-02-2012, 04:32 AM
RE: good shrink / bad shrink ?
(04-02-2012 03:29 AM)Leela Wrote:  I understand that talking is important but I do not rate it as a plus when you are in the first session and the therapist isn't even able to look up and in your face for 5 minutes.

That style of therapy wouldn't have been good for me either. However I think what you describe is a specific therapeutic approach and not necessarily incompetence.

I think the most important question is what are you doing to find a new therapist?
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04-02-2012, 04:46 AM
RE: good shrink / bad shrink ?
I understand. But shouldn't a therapist also recognize when the patient feels uncomfortable with the method? This very therapist seemed not to care. Maybe it was a part of her method too. But I did not feel ok and I made that clear. When my patient tells me that they don't want to tell me certain things in the first session, I as a therapist should respect that because after all we are strangers to each other.

Not doing anything to find a new therapist.
First: I am ok by now. And thinking logical and being strict with myself helped me a lot to reach that.
Second: I am not in health insurance anymore therefore even if I wouldn't be fine, I wouldn't be able to afford therapy.

Was just interested in the experiences of others.
I know of people that found therapy very useful, just like you said yourself. But I also know a lot of people who didn't find it helpful at all.

I had a friend, very difficult casem very traumatized. A friend and I pressured her to get professional help. So she went to a hospital for three months, she came out, for 2 weeks she was ok, but she did not look for a therapist after the hospital though they told her she really needs to stay in therapy, so she fell back into her old patterns. That's sad because it was good to see her being able to have fun and laugh for a change.

"Freedom is the freedom to say that 2+2=4" - George Orwell (in 1984)
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04-02-2012, 06:08 AM
RE: good shrink / bad shrink ?
Hi Leela,
I'm afraid my experience is almost as bad as yours, and has turned me off shrinks permanently. When I left home and started college I wanted to try getting help for a somewhat self-destructive lifestyle, but every time I left a session I was angrier than when I went in.
When I started I was really serious about getting help. I even spent the first two sessions talking about some things I had never shared with anyone so it was a very big deal for me. Later when I thought about her reactions and the things she said I just started feeling murderous, seriously. Eventually, I realised I could manipulate her really easily. I started saying things just to watch her reaction. In the end she tried to refer me to a psychiatrist. At that point I just quit going.

Now I know it seems like it's my fault this happened. But I assure you I was very serious about getting help. My sister says it was probably just a bad shrink, and I should try another one or try the psychiatrist she referred me to. And I should specifically ask for a non-believer.

My sister actually had a very good experience with cognitive behavioural therapy. She's really a different person after it. She used to have all these confidence issues and self-image hang-ups that she's worked around. But she's always been very suggestable. All she needed really was someone to talk some sense into her. I do that for free every now and then.

I don't know if it's a matter of bad shrinks and good shrinks, or just people who are open to therapy and people who aren't. I've always found psychology to be a bit of a pseudoscience (my sister, a neuroscientist, disagrees with me of course). But it's this specific kind of behavioural psychology that strikes me as just fishing in the dark. It's making conclusions about people based on what they say and do, and none of it is accurate.

*waits for the psychologists on the forum to lynch me for saying that*

"But the point is, find somebody to love. Everything else is overrated." - HouseofCantor
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04-02-2012, 07:27 AM
RE: good shrink / bad shrink ?
(04-02-2012 06:08 AM)Smooshmonster Wrote:  I wanted to try getting help for a somewhat self-destructive lifestyle, but every time I left a session I was angrier than when I went in.

Was the self-destructive lifestyle issue related to anger?
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04-02-2012, 09:16 AM
RE: good shrink / bad shrink ?
(04-02-2012 07:27 AM)Jeff Wrote:  
(04-02-2012 06:08 AM)Smooshmonster Wrote:  I wanted to try getting help for a somewhat self-destructive lifestyle, but every time I left a session I was angrier than when I went in.

Was the self-destructive lifestyle issue related to anger?

Quite possibly a lot of it was. But the shrink seemed to be obsessed with making connections to things that happened in my life which, whether the connections were valid or not, were not solving the problem at all. It just made things worse.

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04-02-2012, 09:48 AM
RE: good shrink / bad shrink ?
The only psychiatrist i ever saw professionally was very helpful: he fired me after two sessions. Said there was nothing wrong with me that i can't work out on my own. He was right.

Probably, most shrinks want to do in-depth analysis over a long therapy, rather than the kind of bandaiding these short-term programs allow. If they were better trained in assessment and more familiar with the various courses, coping strategies and self-help groups available, they could more usefully direct patients to a program that works for their particular problem. In a great majority of emotional problems (and quite a few chronic physical ones) the patient does better with the informed, empathetic support of fellow sufferers than with a professional therapist.

Also, if there is to be long-term psychotherapy, the temperamental match is critical. You can't just go to any old shrink: they're people, and this is an intimate relationship: compatibility is key to success.

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04-02-2012, 11:34 AM
RE: good shrink / bad shrink ?
(04-02-2012 09:16 AM)Smooshmonster Wrote:  Quite possibly a lot of it was. But the shrink seemed to be obsessed with making connections to things that happened in my life which, whether the connections were valid or not, were not solving the problem at all. It just made things worse.

I don't know if your shrink was any good or not, but therapy does try to help you see the connections between things, so you can be more conscious about them. Therapy also tries to mirror the real world. It would have been good to discuss the anger you were feeling with the therapist, to gain insights into the source of your anger outside the therapist office. That's how you examine your baggage.

(04-02-2012 09:16 AM)Smooshmonster Wrote:  were not solving the problem at all

If you'd like to discuss it, what was the problem to be solved? How did the discussion make things worse?
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