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Re: SLOW-MO GR: Building Rapport with Professionals, 12th-18th August

'Am I going to ending up paying for the privilege of spending 50 minutes in awkward silence'
Unfortunately something I know all too well. Smiley LOLSmiley Sad

What qualities do you think a psychologist should have?
Passion for the work, and a true passion to help others and understand people with mental illness as people, not simply a case study or something that needs to be fixed (I'm a psychology student and you won't believe the amount of people around me that still use dehumanising language when describing mental illness. I can only hope they're not going further in their education, or that they soon reflect on the damaging effect of their words/ attitudes!).

A psychologist should also be as nonjudgemental as possible and accepting of all people no matter beliefs, gender, religion, sexuality... etc. They should be able to think outside the box and be able to see the grey areas in life. For me personally, they shouldn't be afraid to be blunt and don't mince words, but I understand this approach isn't helpful for everyone (I know I couldn't do it, which is why I'm focusing on research psychology!).

Have you seen a psychologist before? If so, do you have any advice to those who are seeing a psychologist for the first time?
For most of my life, though I'm unsure how many have been actual psychologists (it's mostly been whoever was available at the time, unfortunately -- but that's a question for another day *hint, hint *! Smiley LOL). 
Advice:
- Most psychologists are really friendly and accommodating, and most rooms aren't as clinical as you'd expect. There's usually a comfy couch but you don't have to lie down on it and talk about your problems like in the movies. Smiley LOL. It really depends where you go. I love the places that have a few fidget toys lying around. At one point I was seeing a psychologist and talking about my life while playing with lego.

- A lot of the time your psychologist will give you extra materials so you can work through the things that are bothering you in your own time. DO THEM! 50 minutes every few weeks is great, but it's hardly enough for long-lasting change.

- Psychologists are real people, just like you. It's really frustrating but I feel most have their own mental health issues (which is what brings them into the field) and can have their off days as well. Be mindful and treat them with the same respect you'd treat any other health professional (or anyone else!).

- Be as truthful as possible. It's daunting but they really can't read your mind and can't help what they don't know.

- It's really hard to gather a complete image of a person in about 50 minutes every few weeks so it might help to have a plan of what you're going to talk about in advance before you go to your sessions, and let your psychologist know what you want to work on to avoid those awful silent moments.

Re: SLOW-MO GR: Building Rapport with Professionals, 12th-18th August

Traits I think a psychologist should have: be compassionate, good at listening, receptive to feedback

 

I have seen a psychologist before (many times and pretty much exclusively negative experiences Smiley Sad ). My advice to someone seeing one for the first time is to trust yourself, be kind to yourself, be honest as much as possible, and have an open mind

Re: SLOW-MO GR: Building Rapport with Professionals, 12th-18th August

I got the awkward silence for free! Aren't I lucky.

The 50 minute judgement sessions cost a fair bit though...

 

I don't have a massive amount of advice in finding a good therapist, though hopefully this GR will help with that!

But I do have an (incomplete) list of signs that a therapist should be avoided: 

• They tell you how you're feeling (and block out any evidence that they got it wrong)

• Any blocking out of evidence that they made a mistake can be pretty bad actually

• Refuses to review your treatment, diagnosis or medications

• Breaks confidentiality

• Uses dehumanizing language, and "buckles down" when you explain why it's hurtful

• You end up spending the whole session teaching them basic information

• They blame you for the treatment not working, or for difficulties in opening up to them

• They fixate on a random issue, and ignore the problem you came in for

• You dread going to sessions with them - if this happens something is not working

Re: SLOW-MO GR: Building Rapport with Professionals, 12th-18th August

What qualities do you think a psychologist should have?
- Being open to feedback
- Willing to listen to what the client has to say
- Respect for the client, including clients of different cultures, worldviews, experiences, sexuality, gender, etc.
- The ability to maintain trust with a client
- Empathy
- Keeping unsolicited advice to a minimum
- Don't talk too much about themselves
- Showing genuine interest in the client
- Not being afraid to refer a client on if another professional or service can provide better care
- Consistency (eg., having a plan for the treatment rather than trying random techniques hoping that something will work)
- Not pessimistic
- Do not push you into revealing information that you don't want to talk about.
- Respecting the client's right to confidentiality unless they or someone else are in imminent harm, the information is subpoenaed by a court, or the client says that they can share the information with others. They tell the client when they need to divulge information about them.
- Nonjudgmental
- Ability to recognise their own flaws and when a treatment isn't working
- Working within their area of expertise and not claiming to treat things that they have no experience or knowledge in
- Asking the client what the main issues are rather than getting fixated on random issues that aren't important
- Tolerance
- Tactful
- Don't go into long tangents where you can't get a word in for most of the session

Have you seen a psychologist before? If so, do you have any advice to those who are seeing a psychologist for the first time?
I have seen three psychologists. Some pieces of advice:
- The first session is likely just taking a history and may be longer and more expensive than the other sessions. They may introduce treatment concepts or suggest treatments but not actually start them. You may have to start off by signing consent forms and agreements.
- The psychologist may give you 'homework' to complete between sessions, especially if they are doing CBT.
- Don't be afraid to ask what their policies are.
- Don't be afraid to let them know if you feel a treatment is not working.
- Don't be afraid to disagree with them.
- Sometimes, it can be useful to write down or email information through rather than talking about it verbally.
- Let the psychologist know if you had difficulty completing the homework or implementing the treatment strategies. A good psychologist should be understanding of this as it still provides them with valuable information about the client and what works for them.
- If a practice has multiple psychologists, it may be possible to ask over the phone which psychologist would be best suited to addressing the main issues you want to work on.
- Ask the psychologist how you will know whether you are making progress. In my experience, the best ways to see this are to have a physical record or test because a psychologist's opinions can sometimes be biased or inaccurate.
- No psychologist has all the answers.
- The first person that you see may not necessarily be the right person for you.

Re: SLOW-MO GR: Building Rapport with Professionals, 12th-18th August

@Hozzles that's a really good point! It can be really really hard to open up about what's going on, but by the same token there's no way for your psych to help you process and cope if they don't know what's going on!

 

I've heard people say they find writing things down beforehand helps with actually getting the words out, is this something you've ever tried? Or has anyone else? Would be keen to hear your experiences there! xx

 

@hellofriend ahhh i'm sorry most of your experiences have been negative, that's so awful Smiley Sad That being said, i'm so blown away by how keeping an open mind is still so important to you! Heart So good too, the importance of being kind to yourself and trusting yourself Heart xx 

 

@Tiny_leaf oof that does sound rough! 50 minutes of judgement Smiley Sad Such good advice though, knowing bad signs to look out for is really important too! All those points are amazing and are really summed up by your last one:
You dread going to sessions with them - if this happens something is not working

Therapy's hard yeah, but you're so so right. Those are all signs that something might need to change!

 

@WheresMySquishy nice one! tolerance and being accepting and mindful of different worldviews and experiences seem like really essential qualities for a psychologist to have! Heart

Also really agree that it's important for them to realise their own limits, and not work outside their area of competence and to realise when a change might be better for everyone involved Heart I wonder if some psychologists might view doing so as a professional failure, rather than as a sign of professional competency, and that's why they don't do so? What do you think?

Re: SLOW-MO GR: Building Rapport with Professionals, 12th-18th August

@ecla34  I think that's true, not just with psychologists, but with other medical professionals as well. I think a lot of professionals are unwilling to admit that they don't know what is going on and don't want to come across as looking bad or not knowing all the answers. Sometimes, this means that a lot of time is wasted trying different random approaches, or focusing on the issues they can treat rather than the issues they don't have any experience in. I think this can cause them to magnify the less important issues and ignore what you came in for.

Some psychologists might also see a client going to another service or professional as a failure as they couldn't help them and might take this kind of thing personally.

Re: SLOW-MO GR: Building Rapport with Professionals, 12th-18th August

Urgh, I'm so sad that it seems a lot of us have had negative experiences with therapy. Smiley Sad Fortunately, expressing concerns is often how change is made, and sometime in the future I hope we get to see some changes in the mental health system. 

@WheresMySquishy - 100% don't be afraid to disagree with them, and if they get mad at you than they're probably not a good psychologist! At the end of the day, you know what's best for you. So many hours I've spent nodding my head to things I know won't work for me/ help me, and it's a waste of hours that could be spent working out alternative strategies.

@ecla34 - I have written things down! Smiley Very Happy It does help and I feel like I'd be able to use it more. I definitely communicate better through text/ writing than speech (the finality of things once words leaves your mouth is really daunting!). Last time I saw a psychologist, actually, the appointment came up suddenly without me mentally preparing my talking points so I really did have nothing to talk about (because therapy is stressful and I get brain fog in that environment) and I admitted that to my psychologist. 

Here's some personal anecdotes that kinda relate to the qualities people have mentioned:

-Consistency is a huge one for me. With one therapist I saw, on the first session she told me I could do whatever I want for my sessions. One time I brought in a piece of writing I was very proud of, because I thought I could trust her and I was proud of myself for achieving something. She read through it, looked at me and told me 'why did you bring this in? What does this have to do with anything?' ...Yeah, really disheartening.

- The reason mincing words/ dancing around subjects really annoys me is the fact that I'm probably on the autism spectrum but every. single. psychologist I have ever seen has danced around that fact. Like, I can see that they're contemplating it but don't want to bring it up in case it might offend me or something. They say things referencing specific traits of autism in the style of leading questions: 'so... what happens if you make eye contact?' 'Why are you so interested only in specific things?' and even 'I'm not saying you have autism, but this helps people with autism...'. With my anxiety/ depression, they have no problem mentioning it. It's just really annoying, especially with the stigma around self-diagnosis. Like I know I have all these symptoms but they've all just treated it like it wasn't there.

Re: SLOW-MO GR: Building Rapport with Professionals, 12th-18th August

Hello everyone!

 

I have been a bit MIA recently due to being absolutely swamped with work but I am excited about jumping back in with this topic! I think it's so important to discuss seeing a psychologist because while so many people discuss things like the Gp they like or the dentist they like so few people discuss seeing a psychologist!

 

What qualities do you think a psychologist should have?

A good psychologist is someone who treats you with respect and without judgement. They should make you feel like the space you are in is safe. Further, a psychologist should not see you as a diagnosis but an individual. A good psychologist has empathy

 

Have you seen a psychologist before? If so, do you have any advice to those who are seeing a psychologist for the first time?

I have seen a psychologist and I am very lucky that the first one I was referred to was a good fit for the time I needed them (if I was to see someone again though I think I would find someone new). A lot of people have offered some really good advice I agree with. The one thing I would add is that good therapy sessions are collaborative. You are entitled to and should always feel like you have a voice when seeing a psychologist. For me sessions always felt the best when it was both of us working together. If you feel like you can't contribute or aren't being heard my advice is to bring this up with the psychologist (I think @WheresMySquishy had great advice on how to do this) or maybe seek someone else.

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Re: SLOW-MO GR: Building Rapport with Professionals, 12th-18th August

@Hozzles  I think that's so true. Psychologists shouldn't be afraid of their clients voicing their opinions. They should be encouraging it. If I were a psychologist, I would want to know whether I am doing a good job or not.

Wow... what that psychologist said about your writing sounds pretty rude and blunt if you ask me. Smiley Sad
She could have at least said, 'Thank you for sharing this with me.' If writing something down helps you, then she should have encouraged you to do so and praised you for it, rather than making an insensitive remark.

Re: SLOW-MO GR: Building Rapport with Professionals, 12th-18th August

@WheresMySquishy that's exactly what happened to me..

It was not enjoyable and I wish I'd known to get outta there as soon as I realized she wouldn't refer me on to anyone else..

 

@Hozzles ugh... I hate it when people do that too.

I once saw a psych for social anxiety for like 6 months to a year. She did not once say the words social anxiety. Smiley Frustrated I have no idea how that treatment even worked for me, but somehow it did.

 

And yeah.. some specialists get all... weird around the idea of autism. I've actually made a couple of fact sheets for the sole purpose of getting them used to the idea. 

Btw, if you'd like any resources on getting assessed for autism or anything else, feel free to ask!

 

I'm sure your writing was great! Not only was your therapist rude, but she was missing out. Smiley Frustrated