I urgently need a good therapist. I'm very very sick.
April 25, 2008 8:21 AM   Subscribe

I urgently need a recommendation for a good therapist in Glasgow or Edinburgh.

I've been unable to find a therapist who is engaged and dedicated. I've had one person centred therapist who basically said the same things each session and one CBT therapist who worked from a workbook and did not seem very aware of the technique or able to help with difficulties.

I'm very sick, and very scared.

I am willing to travel up to 2 hours each way (I'm based in Glasgow) and I am willing to pay up to £100 per session to find someone who is really good, at least engaged and dedicated.

My depression and anxiety issues are extremely severe and interfering with my ability to keep a job. Now I've been offered a big scary job and for God's sake I need my health to do it.

I want one of the best therapists. The ones with the waiting lists. The ones with years of experience who will know what drug I should take that will really work.

I'm willing to have multiple sessions per week if necessary. Or stand on my head and shit nickels. Or take drugs that mean I'll never want to have sex again and make all my hair fall out. Or cut off my left arm. Or anything else. I need to get this problem solved.

Any type of mental health worker, therapist, counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist or the like will be recommended.

Piggyback question: Is there an Angie's List for therapists?
posted by By The Grace of God to Human Relations (6 answers total)
I'm definitely one with experience in therapy (as a recipient), so here's my recommendations, some about finding one and some about working with one:

1) You want one with experience working with anxiety and depression issues, and one who's going to see your treatment approach as multimodal -- that is, medication plus therapy. I suggest this, because in the short run, medication may be necessary to reduce the anxiety/depression to the point where you can actually work through the suggestions of the therapist.

2) The meds part will probably have to be handled by a doctor or psychiatrist; the therapy by someone else. This could be a psychologist, a social worker, or other qualified counselor. In the US, this is more likely to be psychologist or social worker (as MS in counseling psychology/marriage and family therapy are less likely to be covered by our insurance than are licensed clinical social workers.

3) You need to ask questions of a therapist to see if they're a good fit. These questions, in your case, may include:
a) Are you willing to work in conjunction with my doctor/psychiatrist on a multimodal approach?
b) What approach/approaches do you use in treating your patients?

4) Don't dismiss any mode or approach out of hand just because your last therapist didn't do a great job on it -- I find cognitive plus meds is very effective against my depression/mild OCD; neither drugs nor cognitive alone worked for me. Person-centered may work well if you have goals and can focus on them. Freudian psychotherapy is not likely to be a good fit for you-- although it's pretty intensive, it's also very slow-going.

5) If the therapist asks you to try something -- like cognitive writing exercises, stepping out of your comfort zone a bit and reporting what happens, etc -- unless it's something clearly unethical or illegal or otherwise WRONG about what they're asking -- at least give it a try so you have something to report at next week's meeting. There's a difference between alarm flags and simple panic over stepping out of the comfort zone -- the simple panic is part of the learning experence. My therapy went excruciatingly slow until I learned the important lesson of doing my homework.

6) Remember that wellness is a journey, and that therapy is a way of getting the tools you need to make that journey more smooth.

Of course, there are bad therapists out there. Signs of this include:
1) Asking you to do something clearly unethical, illegal, or otherwise WRONG. I know of someone with schizophrenia who had a psychiatrist recommend a pelvic exam as part of her diagnosis.
2) Not maintaining proper boundaries in the therapist-client relationship (unethical, but sometimes harder to see). If the therapist tries to sell you religion, a fix-all "system" (like Dianetics), nutritional supplements, etc. this is inappropriate. So is inviting you on dates (which happened to another acquaintance of mine and did not wendell -- err, end well.
3) A therapist who thinks they're the client -- I had one of these, who answered all my self-consciousness concerns with, "Oh, yeah, I've had those all my life. You're never going to get rid of them."
4) Someone who just isn't working.

But in the absense of 1) through 3), give the therapist a chance -- I leave you with the following story from my mother's experience with a therapist.

When the therapist was first seeing my mother, he said at one point, "Mrs. xxx, I don't know if I can deal with your negativity." My mother's response: "Well, then, can you refer me to a therapist who's competent enough to deal with it?" This led to a very positive therapeutic relationship, because the therapist could see my mother's wit and intelligence, and figured out how to work with it.
posted by lleachie at 9:54 AM on April 25, 2008

Yikes. BTGOG, I really feel for you, it sound like you're going through some rough times. I wish I could help you with a specific recommendation, but I'm in Liverpool so unfortunately don't know much about Glasgow.

Here's a few links though and hopefully they may help a bit if you haven't already found them yourself. COSCA - The Professional Body for Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland, and here is their list of accredited councellors/psychotherapists (pdf), which lists each person's approach (e.g. Gestalt) as well as their experience and areas of interest.

Here is the website for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, which has the same search functions. Here is a good explanation page for the different approaches, which may come in helpful when you are looking for someone.

There is also the website of the British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies, which upon doing a quick search for therapists in the Glasgow area who do work in anxiety and depression brought up this list of people who only do private work. Some of these therapists include links to their webpages which have personal statements of their experience, education, etc.

Finally, you might want to have a little poke around the British Psychological Society, which also lists a bunch of psychologists in Glasgow.

I have a friend who is a counseller here and I'll ask if she knows anyone and post back here if I find anything else.

Best of luck to you, I hope you find someone that works for you. Take care of yourself.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:20 PM on April 25, 2008

Being Stateside, I can't offer you therapist recommendations. It sounds, however, as if you are in urgent need, so I'll pass this along: if you have difficulties locating someone, in the interim, while you are search, I recommend this book. If memory serves, I initially saw it recommended here on Metafilter, and I have seen it recommended a few trillion times since then in various online locales. It will not take the place of a real live therapist, but its advice and exercises may help you deal with the strength of the feelings in question until you find the professional therapy you are seeking.

I honestly wish you the very, very best of luck.
posted by WCityMike at 1:06 PM on April 25, 2008

GOG, do you have a GP? Did you start there? Were the two experiences that sucked referals from your GP? If not, ask your GP for an urgent private referal.

Any, by the way, whilst I know you are never, ever supposed to do this, I think the whole thing is something of a crapshoot anyway so yes, I have picked psychiatrists out of the phone book when my need was great enough.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:38 PM on April 25, 2008

Also, I'd just like to point out that your GP can be an excellent resource for immediate help whilst you're sorting out a referral. You will have zero problems getting a short term prescription for an anti-anxiety drug like Xanax or Atavan so that you are at least not totally overwhelmed by, you know, the entire fucking universe.

These are immediately acting drugs, so they can help you right now, whereas an anti-depressant can take several weeks to kick in. It is probably very worth a trip to your GP's surgery both for a referral and a stop-gap prescription.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:13 PM on April 25, 2008

By The Grace of God - I just memailed you.
posted by penguin pie at 12:55 PM on April 26, 2008

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