• Quote of the Day
    "For most people, transformation is slow. It happens without you realizing it."
    Marsha Linehan, posted by Daniel

Peanut

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I think I may have found a psychologist to try. I have kind of a weird question...when the person asks "What brings you here today?" or "what can I do for you" I don't really know what to say. It's like my mind goes blank. I have several things to talk about, but nothing urgent. I don't know what issue to present and I don't want to scare the person off like I did to the other doctor. Clearly I was too forthcoming before. I would say I have two pressing issues, and that is relationship problems and also a desire, or need rather, to stop smoking pot. The latter is the more pressing issue but I don't want to go to an addiction counselor per say, or even twelve step. That is too extreme I think. Is this the kind of thing that a psychologist is able effectively handle? This person's approach says eclectic and mentions stress management as a focus but not substance use or anything. I thought eclectic sounded good...is this a good person to try and if so what exactly should I say brought me in there?

One side note, when I have gone into therapists briefly (like my husbands and those other couple that I tried) I get extremely tired when they ask me questions. Normally I am full of energy. It's very weird but my point is that I think I need something short to say, no long stories. When I have gone in I've found it unusually difficult to articulate my thoughts clearly or accurately.

If anyone has any ideas about this I appreciate it.
 

ThatLady

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You might say something along the lines of: "I'm dissatisfied with the direction in which my life seems to be heading. I have problems with establishing lasting relationships, and with marijuana use. These are the issues I feel are most important to me at the moment."
 

Peanut

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Maybe it could be something like "Although many aspects of my life are going very well I am concerned about a couple of issues that I think I might have, like a really odd relationship arrangement and chronic smoking that I need to stop"....does that sound scary? I know if I go again for a third time it will most likely be my last attempt so I want to do a good job...then hopefully will the guy take it from there because I wouldn't really know where to go after that.
 

Eunoia

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I totally understand how that would be a weird situation to be in... I mean it's probably the most normal thing for everyone else but it does seem difficult to sum up in one or two sentences why you're there, what's wrong, and how you view those things... but I don't think that's really expected either though. I always worry about not making things sound 'too bad' or 'too good', but I guess in the end they can only work w/ what you give them. It's just a good question as a starting point and some people will open up more than others... I don't think there is a right or a wrong, just do what you're comfortable with... any good therapist should be able to take it from there. what you said doesn't sound scarry, it sounds like you have a pretty good idea of why you're wanting to go into therapy, which is a great start.

it's difficult to trust a stranger in general, so it's not much different in this situation except that this is kind of their job, lol... they're trained to be there for you, listening to your concerns and working through them w/ you and the whole confidentiality thing should be some relief. also, if they ask you questions, remember you can ask questions too and you probably should. this way you're also less likely to feel like you're opening up 100% and getting nothing in return b/c you know nothing about them (approach, training, philosophy, expectations...). keep us posted on how things go?
 

Peanut

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it sounds like you have a pretty good idea of why you're wanting to go into therapy
Thank you very much for saying that. I sincerely appreciate what you said and especially that comment. It is nice to know that I'm not the only one who feels weird about that. Sometimes it seems like most people here are so comfortable with therapists or in therapy and I'm just not at all. To me it feels like the most awkward thing in the entire world. You really encapsulated exactly how I feel though, that I don't want to sound too bad to treat or too good to have gone in there in the first place like there is no point in being there at all (I go through more or less the same thing with regular doctors too).

Now that I have something figured out to say (thank you ThatLady) the hard part will be to actually say it if he asks me. I like your point, Eunoia, about asking questions too. I have gone in before with that intention, and then I always get really tired and decide that none of my questions were good or important enough to bother asking. I'm telling you I am therapeutically stunted or something=)
If this try doesn't work I will unfortunately have to conclude that all of these therapy failures are my fault due to the fact that I am the only common denominator in these situations...
Are both of you in therapy already?
 

ThatLady

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I'm not in therapy, but have been in the past. It helped me tremendously! However, I can't say it was easy to take that initial step...to go to a stranger with the intention of spilling my guts! That's just not in my repertoire of fun things to do! I managed, though, to do what needed to be done, and say what needed to be said, because I knew I wanted to find the very best "me" I could find. I was willing to do whatever it took, and I've not looked back since. The same can be said for my daughter, who is bipolar and still in therapy. We've come a long way, baby! :)
 

Eunoia

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you're welcome. you're definitely not the only one who is trying to get 'aquanited' w/ the idea of therapy... I have never thought that there was anything wrong for someone else to go to therapy, but only lately have I come to realize that just maybe it would help me too... I actually have a thread about this, wether therapy is for everyone, in this forum... anyways, then I did go to a counselor but things didn't go too well and so I gave up after that until recently again. so I guess I've never really been in therapy for any of the things I should be in therapy for but hopefully in the new year I can try... I really do think it has a huge potential to be beneficial.... for anyone. I know you said this is the 3rd and last time you'll try but hun, if there's one thing I learned myself and from others it's that it takes a while for people to find the right match usually... I know it's frustrating but so is notgetting the help you want, right?

all of your questions are important enough to ask. if they're on your mind it's worth asking... and it'll help you make an informed decision. The one time I did go I didn't ask anything about the guy until I had serious doubts about him, and all it took was a few questions.. now if I would have asked from the beginning on I probably would have saved myself a lot of frustration. so ask away! it isn't your fault... it's a difficult decision and process, but again it usually takes several trials for people to find the right meds and/or therapist, just like you would take your time to find a childcare provider, tutor, even doctor... well, most people would at least consider a few factors when making their decision.
 

Peanut

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Well, I have to say now that I am dissapointed because the psychologist never called back. I'm fairly sure that this was not my fault since I didn't say anything on the message but my name and number. It's been three days so it's not looking like he's going to call.
I know you said this is the 3rd and last time you'll try but hun, if there's one thing I learned myself and from others it's that it takes a while for people to find the right match usually
I do agree however I feel that is a bit oversimplified due to money, time and travel constraints. Right now I'm on winter break so I have a lot of extra time (which is driving me crazy) but when I'm in school and working it is difficult, to say the least, to make so much extra time, expecially when the endeavors are fruitless. I still haven't got the refund from LCSW who required that I pay him $75 up front even though he should have billed my insurance. He said that when he got that money he would refund my payment, but I never heard from him again. He is so long winded I'm considering forgoing the money just so I don't have to bother with it. I also had to pay $80 in copayments for the other doctor who decided that he couldn't treat me. It's not that this is a lot of money, but it feels like a big waste. I mean, I could have a cute new outfit for that much!
I also tried to get a referral from my spouse's psych, but the doctor he referred me to was not accepting patients.
but again it usually takes several trials
I think one reason I'm feeling a little pressured is because I feel the matter that I wish to discuss is somewhat time sensitive and that I really need someone by February...that kind of why I'm all bent out of shape about this.
 

Eunoia

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I don't see how that could have been your fault. Maybe give it another couple of days, this time around christmas and new year's is busy for anyone, but therapists have family and clients to juggle, maybe s/he went on vacation for a few days as this seems a suitable time of the year to do so. Maybe you could try calling again just to 'touch base' in the new year?

I know that time and $ are always an issue, believe me I understand.. I have the same problems trying to find the time and $ but I've also come to realize that at some point, I will have to make that commitment and extra effort to the best of my ability, if this is what I really want... it must be frustrating though, that's for sure.. and all that $ adds up. I think you have every right to feel that this 'matter' is time sensitive, it's your life after all and you have to live it (what's in Feb?). That's why I'm saying though, don't give up.... it sounds like you really are trying and I wish things would be working out sooner, but hopefully they will soon. give that other therapist another couple of days to call you back, then go from there.
 

Peanut

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Thanks for your input. I was kind of wondering about that same thing (being busy around the holidays or possibly on vacation). But then I was thinking that it would be kind of unusual for a psychologist not to check their private voice mail...so I'm not sure. I think I will do what you said and wait a couple more days. Well, I guess I can just keep waiting because I don't have another back up plan...let's see, I think it would be like Plan F or G by now=)

In response to your question about Feb it's because until then I have had an unlimited free supply of pot which has been long standing, about five years, and it will no longer be availabe to me. I'm really not sure what I'm going to do. My plan was to quit but I have had several unsuccessful attempts, and when I distanced myself from it temporarily (not quitting but cutting back) I started drinking a LOT. Now I have reversed it and gone back to the heavy use of pot and cut way down on the drinking.

Actually what's really freaking me out is this radio show, maybe you've heard of it, Loveline. Anyway, the doctor (Dr. Drew) specializes in addiction and he always talks about how pot can be one of the hardest things to quit and how if you want to quit you better get help from someone, etc. Anyway, with Feb fast approaching I'm getting rapidly more concerned about this situation and what is going to happen.

Maybe I'll just wait until February and check myself into the asylum. Just kidding. Seriously though, thanks for your opinion about him not calling back. I hope that you're right and that he's just busy.
 

Eunoia

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I do hope that he calls you. :eek:)

regarding the radio show, I think you have to remember that anything can be extremely difficult to quit, if it served some kind of purpose for the person. for ex., is someone bites their nails out of nervousness, it's easier said than done to 'just stop' but the reality is it is possible to stop. I know this isn't the same issue at all, it was only an example. There are people who are alcoholics and stop cold turkey, there's smokers who do the same and the list goes on. It probably won't work the first time, and it may not work at all without any outside help, b/c you need to find some other healthy coping mechanism instead and know how to make use of it. The reason why you go from pot to alcohol and vice versa is b/c they're both ways of coping that you know. My point is that as valid as that person's statement may be, you can't go anywhere else but up, right? even if it is the most difficult habit to quit, what then? you can't give up. The thing w/ pot is that it can be very addictive psychologically.. if it helps at all, I have been down that path myself and have known many people who have been very entrenched in that lifestyle. And I can tell you that it is possible to turn your life around and quit. Not easy, but possible. That's what counts.
 

Peanut

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Well, the psychologist never called back=( I'm so dissapointed. I was really excited at the prospect for various reasons (location, sounded nice on the msg machine, etc). I just wish he would have just called and said that he was too busy to see me=( I just feel really discouraged.

Regarding what you said about this problem being a coping mechanism...that is an interesting perspective. I wonder if that is it. It doesn't really feel like that is what I'm doing though. It feels more like...smoking cigarettes feels to a smoker. I just don't think it's going to be pretty come Feb. My husband tells me that it's not the end of the world, but that's easy for him to say, he has an excellent therapist ready to help him. He doesn't seem to think I need one as much though. I told him, I'm worried about how I'm going to handle this. At first he was supportive of me trying to find a therapist too, but now after all of these failed attempts he thinks I should stop trying for awhile.

So anyway, I started looking at other psychologists. This one that I am considering calling has a Jungian and Existential orientation. I'm not exactly sure what that means for therapy. I wonder, would these orientations be good for my issues? I think Jung is similar to Freud and I'm not altogether enthralled with that approach, but I'm not sure exactly what existential would mean in terms of the type of therapy one would get. I'm realizing that I am not able to find someone whose description fits perfectly with what I want. In fact it's looking like I will be lucky to find anyone at all. This person also has only two years experience and I'm not sure if that would make much of a difference.
Do thereapists generally improve a lot with experience or is it more of a natural gift, so to speak?
I'm really confused and I'm not sure quite what I am doing wrong here.

Is it typically this hard to find someone?
 

comfortzone

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I am sorry to hear that you have had some negative experiences seeking out a therapist. The first session is a good time to ask the therapist all sorts of questions about their training, what theoretical orientation is adopted, what you can expect from the therapist, if you have any concerns regarding therapy (the first session is a good time to convey any concerns), and you can explain what you hope to resolve, focus on, or address in therapy. How you feel while talking to the therapist during the first session is important in determining if this is the right "fit" for you. When you speak to them to set up the appointment you could ask how long they have been practicing. I have had my doctorate for less than a year but I have had my license as a professional counselor for almost three years. Does the amount of years of experience mean a better therapist? Not always. There are those who should be pruning shrubs instead of being a therapist. But this could be said about many people in different careers. I hope you find the best fit of a therapist for your needs. Keep us posted.
 

Peanut

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Thanks for your input, you are so sweet=) You are the voice of reason! I think my problem is that I can't figure out who to even call to set up a first appointment with. It takes me forever to finally choose someone, and then when I do and it doesn't work it's a huge set back (energy wise). The thing is that I can sometimes see their orientation on sites like OPA but I can't find exactly what I want so I guess I need to be more flexible. I have an idea of several of the orientations used but I don't really get exactly what is meant by existential, systems, and Jungian orientations.

So how is it that I pick someone initially?! That is where I keep getting stuck. Who should I call? I just can't decide!
 

Peanut

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I just came across a website that helps you find a psychologist and has quite a bit of detailed information. It also explains what some of the orientations are, like systems, if you click on theoretical orientations. I will post the URL in case anyone else wants to look at it.

https://www.nationalregister.com/osd/referral.php3

Hopefully that works...I just realized how to post links (I usually write in the quick reply section).
 

David Baxter

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I would just warn you that Jungian and existential therapists, although they are not Freudians or psychanalysts typically, do tend to be oriented like psychoanalysts more toward longer-term insight-oriented therapy than toward solution-focused approaches. As Dr. Dobson says, make sure you ask the person about his orinetation and what it will mean to you, either at the first session or even before the first session, on the phone.
 

comfortzone

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I think any of the orientations you have mentioned would be useful. They simply help you to understand yourself better and that is putting it in the fewest of words.

Find a therapist, call them and make an appointment, try to make the appointment as soon as possible to diminish any chance of letting your butterflies from growing large. Go to the therapist and express your thoughts and feelings. It does take time to develop rapport so it is not necessary for you to expect that you are going to delve into your issues in the very beginning. You will gain a new perspective on your life and soon you will find a place where you can be aware of yourself without judgment. Good luck! You have your rooting section here to root you on to the next stage of your life.
 

Peanut

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You guys are so awesome! Thanks so much. I really love this website. I also have some really good news that I found someone...and he called back!

When I called, of course, I kind of choked and left some really vague message about being interested in psychotherapy. He called back four times! I'm embarrassed to say that I kind of panicked and didn't answer the first three (but they were right in a row, home, cell, home, cell). But when I did talk to him he didn't even ask me what my problem was which was a huge relief since I never know what to say on the phone (it's not like you want to tell some stranger everything on one phone call). He was super nice, I liked his voice, I made an appointment for two weeks out (he only had one left for next week but I couldn't make that one).

I realized I would just have to drive out of town to get someone. This person is like 40 miles away but two of his focus areas is substance use and relationships. His orientation is both CBT and existential/humanistic. He seems perfect and I'm so excited.

I kind of like the long term therapy idea...it often really bothers me when I know something is going to come to an end and I have trouble using the time that I do have without worrying about the deadline (if there were such a thing as a deadline oriented person it would be me). I explained to a friend of mine what I wanted and she told me to look for insight oriented therapy so if that is existential that is great. I think that's what I want. I just don't want a lot of emphasis on childhood, I don't think that there is much, what do you call it, grit for the therapy mill there...that is what I don't like about psychoanalysis.

Yea! I found someone!! Barring the chance that he looks or dresses really weird I love him already! One little side item is when I went to the zany LCSW he was wearing these extremely thick wool socks with rafting sandles, slacks and a shiny vest. I almost got hit over the head with the red flag=)
 

ThatLady

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That's wonderful news, hon! I'm so glad you've found someone you feel you can work with! :)
 

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