Monday, August 4, 2008

Open season

I mentioned in my last post it felt like the psychologist I was seeing didn't seem comfortable talking about the gay thing. What I didn't mention is, at the end, he asked me if I wanted to make another appointment, in a tone that almost felt like he was hoping I said 'no'. I went ahead and made an appointment; but, I've been thinking more about that visit and decided that he and I just weren't hitting it off, so it's time to cut my losses and find a new shrink.

Rewind: I had tried calling several other psychologists before the one I visited. I went to the website for my insurance company, searched for psychologists in their network within 10 miles of my zipcode, got a list sorted by distance and just started at the top with the one closest to my house and worked my way down.

Shrink-1, I was specifically looking for a male psychologist as I'm not sure I could open up to a girl. I have a hard enough time opening up to my wife - it seems impossible for me to open up to a woman I don't even know. Anyway, when I called Shrink-1, I got an answering machine that listed out the names of a couple of psychologists, neither of whom were the guy I thought I was calling and both names sounded to be more of the female variety.

Shrink-2, Again I got an asnwering machine, left a message, but he never called me back

Shrink-3, Called and talked to his receptionist. Turns out he was out of the office and wouldn't be returning for a couple of weeks.

Shrink-4, Got yet another answering machine. Upon listening to the message, I learned that, due to paperwork demands, he no longer accepts insurance.

Shrink-5, is actually a psychiatrist rather than a psychologist. Decided to hold off calling him. Although, I may rethink that if I decide I need to have my meds reevaluated (since psychiatrists are M.D.'s and can prescribe medication, psychologists cannot)

Shrink-6, listed "christian counseling" has his specialty. I had visions of being carted off to Exodus International, so I decided to pass on him.

Shrink-7, according to his profile, he is an old geezer. In fact, he listed "geriatric psychiatry" as one of his specialties. Perhaps it was my pride, but I decided to skip over him.

Shrink-8, got an answering machine - only this guy actually called me back, so I made an appointment with him and have had two visits with him.

It's been a couple of weeks, so I decided to call Shrink-3 back to see if he is back in town. He is, so I made an appointment for tomorrow afternoon.

I called my insurance just to make sure there weren't going to be any problems changing to a different therapist. Turns out they gave me an 'open authorization' which is good for any psychologist on their network (which is rather vast) - and it's good for 1 year.

So, for Abelard, it's open season on psychologists. I've me got a list - and I know how to use it! There are 55 male psychologists within 1o miles of my home - so, I'll just keep working down the list until I find the right guy. And, I can always go back and expand my search.


sunlize said...

I tend to lurk, but I just wanted to say that a good therapist is worth his/her weight in gold. My first psychologist was pretty awful and I didn't have the emotional tools/stability to ask for a different psychologist at the same practice. My second psychologist was awesome. I felt like I could tell her anything and she was incredibly supportive. I'll be looking for a new therapist next month so I hear ya on the "open season". And congrats on "cutting your losses" and looking for a new psychologist. Hopefully the next one will work out better for you!

MoHoHawaii said...

Years ago when I was coming out I went to see a psychologist who was a woman. She was just great-- she was very empathetic, had very good "emotional intelligence" and was overall very good in helping me clarify what was going on inside. Since you have time to shop (and this is a great idea, btw), maybe you should be open to a female shrink. If you don't hit it off, you can keep on shopping.

Jen said...

Good for you for looking at all options. I agree with mohohawaii about the possibility of talking to a woman. It might not be a bad idea but you have to be comfortable with whomever you choose. Good luck!

One of So Many said...

Ironically I had to have a female therapist. Male therapists seem so know it all to me sometimes or are more about solving then listening.

My therapist is great, worth a little shopping to find a good one.

Beck said...

What do you guys talk about with your therapists? I don't get it. I don't see how opening up to someone to just listen will do anything for me. I don't see the point.

That having been said, Abe, I commend you for what you are doing in trying to take control of your situation... I just don't see what everyone commenting here gets out of it. Help me to understand...

Abelard Enigma said...

I don't see how opening up to someone to just listen will do anything for me.

I work in a technical field; and, I learned a long time ago that, sometimes, talking out loud about some problem I'm trying to solve helps me solve it. I've had many experiences where I've talked to a colleague about some technical problem; and, in the process of explaining the problem the solution comes to me.

I seem to recall reading once that when we talk out loud, it uses different parts of our brain than when we just think about something or even write about it. But, in my experience, it doesn't work to just talk to any random person, it needs to be someone who has some knowledge and experience in the thing I'm trying to solve - otherwise, I spend all of my time explaining basic background and concepts and am not focused on the specific problem.

So, I haven't gotten anything out of my therapy yet - but I'm figuring that if talking out loud about something helps me to figure it out at work then it ought to help me in my personal life as well.

Beck said...

I can accept that and understand that. For me, writing it down goes a lot further. Maybe I'm too self-conscious to speak the words out loud. I get nervous when I speak about "these things" to others and the words never come out exactly as I feel them inside.

And it does make sense to talk to someone who understands and you don't need to explain all the background.

You're doing great... keep 'er going!

Abelard Enigma said...

writing it down goes a lot further

I completely understand. I feel like I am much more articulate in the written word than I am with the spoken word. So, talking to a therapist doesn't replace that. But, like I said, it uses different brain cells when you talk out loud which can give you a different perspective.

I get nervous when I speak about "these things" to others

Feel free to call me if you ever just want to practice talking :)

Superstar said...

I used to work as a therapy session transcriptionist at BYU's Comprehensive Clinic, and I saw firsthand the methods of so many therapists there.

I'm glad you are taking the opportunity to find the person who will help you have the best possible outcome for you.

For me, I'm thinking my attraction to women (ha! did I really just say that?) therapists comes partly from conditioning to expect more emotional/empathic connections with women and more reason/judgment from men.

I'm also happy to report to Beck and others who feel more open to writing than speaking that not all therapists employ bishops' interview style sessions.

At BYU, I worked for an amazing music therapist (who also wrote some popular LDS music) who helped his clients lower blood pressure, condition their responses to anger or fear, or react differently to daily stress by incorporating music.

Others used art, writing, dancing, hypnotherapy, physical training, or any other variety of techniques to communicate better with clients and help them develop solutions to their physical and emotional responses to life.

For myself, the way I told the very first person (my therapist) I was attracted to men was by painting him a picture of it.

Therapists guide their clients by helping them review, in part, those sections of their own Johari Window they don't easily see.

It's kind of the same reason we go to church every week. It steers us back to our own sense of what we really want, in a guided way. I mean yeah, it's just lots of talk, but you get out of it what you put into it. :)