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Re: Worst advice – and from a therapist, no less.

Re: Worst advice – and from a therapist, no less.2010-12-12T22:26:44+00:00

The Forums Forums Most X-treme! Most Hostile/Ignorant Thing I've Heard Worst advice – and from a therapist, no less. Re: Worst advice – and from a therapist, no less.


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The worst advice a therapist ever gave me? Essentially, every piece of advice I ever received from a [non-psychiatrist] therapist falls into the category of terrible advice.

So, instead, here are some of the worst things a therapist ever said to me :

Background : I saw a psychologist for two years (“Dr. X”). Every few weeks he came up with a new diagnosis, yet never bothered to send me for a formal assessment nor take a complete history. [e.g., suspecting Asperger’s (my elementary & junior high school counsellors both postulated that I had AS, & I later learned that I do have NVLD), Dr X sent me off to find the names of specialists with experience assessing/diagnosing autism-spectrum disorders in adults. I hunted down some names, and brought them to Dr X. He claimed that he sent off referrals to the specialists in question. For months, I enquired as to whether any he had received a response; he always replied “not yet”. Ultimately, he confessed (in an email roughly 8 months later), that he’d “never actually sent” any referral.]

Generally, he seemed to be at quite a loss as to how to assist me. Let us leave it at that.

Finally, my GP began to suspect ADHD & she did refer me to a specialist. Ostensibly, Dr. X supported this decision; he also sent his own referral to the specialist, & successfully advocated to move me up the waiting list.

Once I was formally diagnosed, I immediately commenced medication (I was part-way through the fall semester at university, & time was of the essence), and coaching with this specialist. During these first few months, I saw less & less of Dr. X, but still had regular email contact with him.

I fared better than I ever had in my life. It was as if everything finally came together.

At first, Dr. X encouraged me … until I decided not to see him any longer. I was preparing to move away for grad school the next year, and felt I wanted to complete a semester “on my own” before relocating 1/3rd of the way across the country.

Dr. X rejected this, & insisted I continue to see him. My “mood”, he argued, was “still more variable than [he] would like” (which demonstrated the sizeable lacunae in his knowledge because emotional disregulation is a core feature of ADHD). I disagreed, but simply told him that the specialist and I would deal with that.

He then strove to convince me that the diagnosis of ADHD was unsound, by claiming that it wasn’t a valid diagnosis in adults.

I countered by asserting that if he cared to “pull the DSM-IV off [his] shelf and look it up, [he] would see that the criteria for ADHD read, in part :

A) 1) a) Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, WORK, or other activities […]

A) 1) d) Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the WORKPLACE (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions […]

C) Some impairment from the symptoms is present in 2 or more settings (eg, at school [or WORK] or at home), and

D) There must be clear evidence of clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or OCCUPATIONAL functioning (emphasis mine).

The last time I checked”, I concluded “child labour remained illegal in North America”.

This precipitated a change in tactics. According to Dr X, “no one else [would] help” me; I was “obsessed with” him, and my “life would fall to pieces without” him.

In response, I described how well I had fared during the past several months, & listed all my accomplishments.

He sneered, “that’s not you, that’s just the meds”.

When I challenged the latter assertion, he yelled that I was “SICK, SICK AND PATHOLOGICAL!!” and threatened me with institutionalization.

Relating my experiences with him & his colleagues is quite distressing, so I shall stop here and only add : as I discussed my experiences with others, it grew increasingly apparent that I was neither the first nor the last to receive such treatment from this particular clinic. Unfortunately, subsequent encounters with psychologists/’therapists’/’counsellors’ failed to restore my faith in non-psychiatric mental health professionals. Now I avoid them, and I advise everyone else to do likewise.

In my opinion, one of the *best* things you can do for yourself as an adult with ADHD is to find a knowledgeable psychiatrist — or one who is open-minded & willing to learn — & stick with them.