November 03, 2006


The Search For A New Therapist

Ummmm...I never had my therapy appointment on Wednesday. It took all the strength I had to take a shower, calm and comfort myself, and get out of my crying jag so I could safely drive the car over to the therapist's office. It was a miracle I arrived on time. Unfortunately, I was not expected. The therapist had double-booked the appointment.

He told me, of course, that it was I who had made a mistake and must have written down the wrong appointment time. At first, I bought it. I'm the one with the dissociative disorder, after all. For this book--that I may or may not ever finish--I've transcribed all the notes from my therapy appointments with this man from August of 2003 until December of 2005. There were 134 sessions in all. From 8/20/03 until 9/8/04, I even attended therapy sessions twice a week. Not once have I ever written down the wrong time.

See, I haven't seen "my therapist" in a while. It's been almost a year; the last "regular" appointment we had was 12/14/05. I looked back over my therapy session notes and was reminded that he tried to "kick me out of the therapy nest" in early May of '05. The notes say we were, at that time, switching to an "as needed" basis. Still, in May and June of that year, I continued to see this therapist once a week.

I also saw him once a week during the months of September and October, 2005. During this time, I was processing triggers about a hair phobia, I was seeking help with anxiety about going to the dentist, and I had a major flashback during a yoga class.

At the time, I still needed to work on things like the daily trigger of seeing hair (any kind of human hair, in the sink, the bathtub, etc.) or feeling hair (even my own) on my skin. It initiates a response like, 'Aaaaaahhhhh! Get it off me!" The yoga trigger/flashback was terrifying because, in the class, I was required to do a move that had me pose with my wrists pressed together and it immediately launched me back to childhood when I would be tied up by my father. I also required help with severe anxiety over going to the dentist when I needed to get a crown put on.

Shortly after these events, I had to put down my beloved dog of over 14 years. I went through a lot of grief over the loss of this dear pet. We never did finish with the hair phobia triggers. We worked for five sessions on processing the sight of hair. We never did get to the triggers I deal with when I have to feel hair against me.

Still, in December, I had my last "regular" visit with this man.

I am, of course, not the trained, qualified expert, but it seems to me that I still had "issues" to work on during this time. Still, he pressed, and on 12/14/05 (just before the dreaded Christmas season, how odd) I had my last session with this therapist. He told me, "I don't know what else I can do for you. I think you're doing really well."

So, off on my own I went, until I started feeling depressed in early September and needed additional trauma processing last month. In September and October, I talked to my old therapist on the phone three times. He seemed more than happy to welcome me back to do more therapy with him.

After I got back from Dallas and went to his office, however, I continued to have difficulty setting up convenient appointment times with him. (I had no success over the phone with him from Dallas. I settled for scheduling two appointments that were not convenient for me.) I came into his office to give him a brief update and we looked at his calendar together. We looked two weeks ahead, to try to come up with something for me. I noticed lots of blank times and dates. I asked, "Why can't I have this time, or this time, or that?" He gave me this look. I felt like a complete imbecile. He then explained something like, "Those are regular appointment times I have with regular patients." What was I, chopped liver? I'm sure that I was one of the most "regular" patients he's ever had.

Still, he promised me he could change some appointment times around to accommodate me and in two weeks I could get in. Nope. I arrived at what I thought was the appointed time and got turned away.

I was so angry and upset when I left that office! I drove and drove for over three hours, trying to figure out what to do. It took a lot of strength and presence of mind not to drive my car over a cliff or run away again. I stayed on the interstate, just to make sure. I got almost all the way down to the New Mexico border, then I turned my car around and came home, picking my son up at school as if nothing had happened.

But something has happened; something big. I told my son a brief version of what had happened. I told my husband the same story I'm writing here. He was livid! I'm not sure I've ever seen the mild-mannered man with the soothing voice get so enraged. My husband also happens to be a psychologist (he works with head injuries and brain damage) and he's given this particular therapist many referrals (as have I). My husband has also played what I consider a major part in allowing this man to quit his hospital job and start up a successful private practice, having paid him cash for 134 sessions (I have not been able to get mental health insurance for years, so we pay cash).

And this is the way he was going to thank us--he basically does not have time for me, only for his "regular" patients? Yowzer! I (and my husband, obviously) am floored! I guess I might have seen this coming, but I did not. I am reeling and don't know what to do!

Why does this crap have to happen? Now I feel stuck with all these painful feelings that I worked so hard to get in touch with. Aaaaaccccckkkk!

I guess I start looking for a new therapist. I've been up this long road before. It sucks. And, it's time consuming. What do I do with all this grief, anguish, sorrow and pain in the meantime? I have no idea.

Don't go back to that therapist. What an ARSE.

Maybe you didn't feed his "healing people" ego enough. I hope your husband goes and tells him what he thinks of him (don't you do it, you've got enough to chomp on).

Yes, it sounds like you do have to find a new one. Maybe this could be a good thing as you are in a new stage of processing.

Oh Marj, I am sorry this was an added pain. I really hope you find someone suitable soon. do you know anyone who can recommend someone suitable?


I have no words Marj! I am just floored, amazed, in disbelief, dumbfounded, appalled, crushed...

If you need to talk about your feelings, you can always contact me.

Have a good weekend my friend.
I'm sorry you are having this problem. It is such a pain trying to find someone that you can connect with. I do know nothing is worst than a "bad" therapists. Best of luck finding a good one.
this post reminded us of so many of our therapists we have had issues with, double bookings, not allowing enough time for major issues, going out of town and leaving no stand ins etc etc etc promising to stay with us then quitting, therapists are a big bug a boo for us. we are so sorry you have had to be at this idiots mercy. the possibility exist that he is just in over his head, cannot nor can understand multiplicity or abuse patients.

good luck finding a capable therapist

peace and blessings

keepers and john
I have no experience with therapists other than for my children. I can't imagine being treated this way.

The kind of relationship a person develops with a therapist is worthy of more respect. Hopefully you will find a new therapist who understands that.
im so sorry so deeply sorry you so dont need that right now :( But if nothing else maybe it tells you he was not the right one for you if he does that the first appointment then tries to blame you imagine how much more damage he could do for you right now.
I know that it sucks and hurts and once again im sorry :(
Dear Marj,

I really find no words not express what the this therapists inspire me.
I am sorry you have to go through this.
But maybe you will get something good out of it. Fro what you describe about the sessions he is not good for you (her doesn´t seem as good therapist). You will be better off with somenone else.
I think therapy that doesn´t help does actually harm in most cases.
You have done a lot in Dallas, and he would hold you down more than anything.

Maybe the same way you have writen referals for him before, there is some association where you can send a complaint about him.
Maybe he was good before and somewhere along the line he has stopped caring as much as he did about patients. But how he has behaved with you is reprehensible.

Hope the blog helps while you get a new therapist. You know we are all here.

Take care.
(((Marj)))..I am so sorry for this added weight, I know how very difficult it can be to find a therapist, to build the trust and everything else it takes to really start the therapy..I do hope your husband says something to him , all thought it probably wont help, that trust is now tainted for you. Hang in there while you start this search and if you need anything, and no second guessing allowed..:)you know I am just an email away, I can listen really well..:)and I have been told that I have the most soothing remember, all of your friends are here for you when ever you need us..take care my friend we are with you on this journey, if for nothing else than to send our love and support and anything else you may need..m
Wow! Thanks, guys, for your validation, understanding and support. At first, I thought I was just over-reacting or something. You've all made some good points (some of which I hadn't even thought of). Thanks for being here for me! xoxoxo
It can be really hard to find a new therapist, especially when you really need support. I say focus on for awhile until you get it settled. I search for people who have an emphasis dealing with PTSD or sexual violence or something similar. Personally, I also with a feminist framework because feminist frameworks note how the outside world affects us instead of on how our minds are just messed up. Anyway, good luck. Try looking online - there are some online directories and some therapists may even have a home page.

I had to switch therapists last year, and it was very difficult for me, but I am so glad that I did.
Hi Marj. I am so sorry that this has happened to you after all that you have been through. The timing seems awfully bad. I'm not sure I could handle it right now if I had to find a new therapist, but I think the other commenters are probably right. It just doesn't sound like he is the right one. I hope you find someone wonderful. You deserve nothing less than wonderful.
Thank you everyone. Good ideas. Great support. You are appreciated so much.
Hi marj, I know you are in colorado. I used to live there. I could give you the name of a wonderful lady who was my therapist when I was there. Let me know and I will email you the name if you like. Hopefully we lived in similar areas.

What happened to you should not have happened. I am very sorry it did.

Blessings my friend.
That's so kind of you, Mysti. I will e-mail you. Thanks!
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