Friday, February 17, 2006

Crushing the therapeutic relationship

As required by the courts, I dragged myself off to see both my psychologist and psychiatrist yesterday. Yeah, I'll get their letters saying I'm not a psychotic wreck. But in so doing I've destroyed something quite special. If the court's were really worried about my mental health, their plan backfired horribly.

Psychologists and psychiatrists are meant to be safe havens where you can spill your deepest secrets out about how screwed up your life is. Think you're gonna do this when you simultaneously need a letter confirming that you are as steady as a rock and fit to actually be father to your daughter? No siree, I went there with a pre-written script. After all these years I know exactly what the psychiatrist/ologist want to hear, and I gave them just that.

In fact it was the first time ever that I ran out of things to say to Dr C, the therapist. Shame, the poor dude kept glancing at the clock above my head, anxious as to how he was going to fill the last 15 minutes. I've noticed this with psychologists. They always place their clocks in strategically positioned places so that they can glance at them surreptitiously to see how much more crap they have to endure, but at the same time not let you on that they are doing it. The clever ones put the clocks up on the wall just behind where you sit.

As to the psychiatrist, admittedly, I never tell the whole truth. I've learnt over time not to. I once walked into Dr R's office really positive at all the progress I'd made and when she asked me: "Howya doing?", I shot back "Very well".
"Not too well I hope?" was her reply, a paranoid glint in her eye.
Too well in her judgement, and the anti-psychotics would go up; anti-depressants down. So I know how to answer now:
"Any racing thoughts lately?"
"Any insomnia?"
"Not for months"
etc. etc. etc.
You gotta be careful of your body language too - any sign of too much enthusiasm or animated hand movements and the alarm bells will ring.
"Any depression lately?" Yeah, you can always answer that in the affirmative. Psychiatrists are surprisingly comfortable with depression, it's only excess happiness that sets off their panic.

So I suppose it was the therapeutic realtionship with Dr C (not Dr R) that was the real casualty. If I really wanted to I could always revert to whole-truth mode after receiving my mental health report. But that would have drawbacks. First, Dr C would realise he'd been conned. Second, this damn court may insist on a follow-up report on BipOlar Guy in 12 months time.

Therefore, I am presently therapistless. The ideal, I guess, would be to have 2 therapists. One for real therapy and one for report purposes. But to go find another one, spend hour and hours getting them up to speed on the twists and turns of my life (not to mention the money), is just not going to happen.

So WELL DONE justice department! You've got your report confirming that I'm receiving appropriate therapy. And I've got no therapist.

I had to help Miss L with her homework last night: Haiku. BPG loves haiku, so when L went to sleep I came up with this piece:

BiPolar they said
Wagging manicured fingers
In tune with neat heads


  1. Happy to hear you got your papers sorted dude!

    Like you say, the whole thing with the court is messed up,
    Basically forcing you to do something which is counter-productive ito therapy
    In order to declare you sane/fit/right in the head (if such a thing even exists)

    Maybe I’m just some crazy dude, but the way the world does things makes no sense.

  2. Lighten up a bit if you can on the iatrist/ologist, I'm not sure which. As a language teacher, I must admit that I get a bit down at times and I can't figure out why until I get back into the classroom and realise how much I enjoy spending time with my students. You're a fascinating, mentally rigorous guy and I wouldn't doubt that your therapist(s) might miss talking to you from time to time.

    except for the time
    i spend with other people
    i am all alone

    Anyone with an ear and eye for haiku is a potential poet, by the way. Something to cultivate there.

  3. You're so on with the clocks. My therapist (who I haven't seen in a few weeks but she stopped calling me finally - I need to call her & go back - anyway -) has 2 clocks. The way her office is set-up you can sit in either of 2 chairs. Her clocks however are strategically placed so that regardless of the chair you sit in - there's a clock behind you ... It cracks me up.

  4. Here in the States, courts will often appoint a psychiatrist to conduct the evaluation. I used to think that it was just to prevent a therapist from colluding with the patient to create a fake report. But you've illuminated another pitfall of using your regular therapist.

    I hope that I never have to be subjected to a mental compentency exam.

    Is the step-father being examined?

  5. I'm so sorry you had to spoil such a useful relationship in this endeavor.

    You will have your daughter
    Your love cannot be denied
    You will persevere


  6. damn! miscounted the first line LOL

    you will have your child
    your love cannot be denied
    you will persevere


  7. i called my doctor out on the clocks. he won't look at them now. and if he even LOOKS like he wants to look at the clock i call him out on it.

    then when i start watching the clock he calls me out on it.

    i love my t-doc

  8. You know, I never thought about the clocks. Oddly enough, my pdoc's clock is located right above where the patient sits! All this time I thought he was looking at me. *sigh*
    Glad you're getting the paperwork for the courts & will get proper custody of your daughter. You seem pretty damn stable to me.


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