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February 29, 2012 7:56 AM Subscribe
All attempts at establishing a relationship with a therapist have failed. Now what?
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Late 20s, female, living in the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities and dealing with a lot of stress, loneliness, unemployment/underemployment (Problem #1) and increasing amounts of anxiety. My only requirements for my therapist have been
1. reachable under my own power in one bus trip or less (I do not have personal transportation and cannot involve friends or family members [Problem #2] as I wish to handle this privately) - this allows me to go to sessions and return before anyone realizes I've been gone for very long
2. willing to work with me with regards to my finances (I have some tax refund money (> $1000) to work with, but as I am unemployed currently I have to make it last indefinitely)
3. willing to hang with me on a religious level (I am Christian but progressive and increasingly anti-mainstream)
My experiences so far:
I've done my research mostly through the Psychology Today directory. There are four therapists practicing within walking distance of my home and one free walk-in clinic within a short bus ride. Other practitioners are either too far away or too expensive/do not offer a sliding scale. I thought that at least one of the four would be able to accommodate me and that it wouldn't be an issue. However, of the four, two never responded to my initial email, one sat me down in her office, rejected my attempts to work out a payment plan after I explained my situation, and very much made me feel like she did not want to work with me for financial reasons but for ethical reasons could not say so outright, and another refused to see me and referred me to a therapist in a distant city well outside my transportation range despite my briefly mentioning my issues.
When I entered the walk-in clinic, the therapist on hand quickly determined that the answer to my issues as I described them was "to think happy thoughts" (I confirmed this with her); we then argued at great length over the value and efficacy of that advice until she stated to me that she wouldn't give anything to be me (or a person of my age) in the current economic climate. I said, "It sounds like you're saying it sucks to be me," and she confirmed this. I found the statement shocking for a therapist and offensive. (Aren't therapists supposed to at least be empathetic, or at least not flatly rude like that?) When I told her that I could not believe she had said such a thing, she could not understand my incredulity. I walked out.
These experiences have left me at a loss. I have had a therapist relationship before while underemployed about 5 years ago where I was unable to continue seeing the woman because I had nearly run out of money and she suddenly announced that she was moving her practice much further than I could reasonably travel. I have come to the conclusion that either I have the misfortune of having inflexible therapists in my area or that my requirements are unreasonable, and that I cannot seek therapy until I either acquire a job with health insurance (so far impossible over the past 8 years and even then not a guarantee of anything) or magically acquire a large amount of money.
My question, having said all of this, is what, if anything, should do now? I have tried Mood Gym and personally found it flawed, limited and unhelpful (not that that should stop anyone else). I feel that I have no options unless I acquire money as previously mentioned or find myself in a crisis situation, and having been told first-hand stories about being dropped off by an ambulance in a random neighborhood by HCMC for being a low-income self-committed mental health patient and therefore "not worth it", that doesn't really sound like an option either.
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