How to tell if your psychiatrist is a quack.
I want to start with this statement. It isn’t only psychiatrists who do psychotherapy. The vast majority in the mental health system, it's most likely you will only see your psychiatrist for a meds checkup. This is because a very high percentage of outpatient mental health patients see their doctors in a county base service unit. This is so since most people with major mental illnesses are either unemployed or underemployed. That is they can’t pay for a private physician. So for economic reasons their only option is to get help at a clinic or base service unit that takes their Medicaid card. By base service unit, I mean a local mental health center that is run by the county. In other words, it is a public center as opposed to a private one.
Getting back to it isn’t only psychiatrist who do psychotherapy. There are psychologists, counselors, social workers, especially MSWs (Master of Social Work degree)and other mental health professionals who do the therapy. The usual pattern in one of the many community mental health centers throughout the United States is the psychiatrist is seen for meds. The psychotherapist is with extremely few exceptions somebody other than a psychiatrist. I know this from knowing people who are in the mental health system. I work at a rehab program for such people.
This being said I feel the title of the topic should be how to tell if your psychotherapist is a quack.
One major clue would be to look at the pictures in his/her office. If you see a drawing by a patient of his psychotherapist, of a duck with the words “This is you.” This is a terrific clue. The above may sound like a joke. However this did happen to mental health professional a woman friend knew. He was given a crudely drawn picture of a duck by one of his patients. I think the quality of the art was the least of it. I trust my friend to be truthful.
It is my tendency to be strongly suspicious of any medical doctor, psychiatrist or otherwise who hawk a line of nutritional supplements or any kind of health product for that matter. Is the mental health consumer paying for his business as well as his services or both? Plus if it seems like every single psychiatric disorder is caused by the same thing. A typical example would be if he or she told every one of his/her patients that their mental health problems were caused by candida, or hypoglycemia or multiple chemical sensitivities. While there its possible these health issues can be the cause of some client’s psychiatric disorders, to claim that every psych disorder is due to any one thing is highly unlikely,
On a much more serious note is an experience that happened to me. It occurred over twenty years ago yet I still bitterly remember it. He was a man who said he was a past life therapist I am still of an open mind on reincarnation. However I find it extremely difficult to believe that’s what he was.
He told me his office was in his apartment. Ordinarily looking back in perspective , that should’ve been my first clue. However just before seeing him, I saw for nearly a year a social worker. I saw him in his apartment and he was a complete, respectful professional. Specifically our session was in an office for the precise purpose of counseling.
So I come to his apartment. It is in the basement. There is no office. By this time I am getting suspicious but still hoping my instincts, my first impressions are misleading. Then noticing I’m nervous, he gives me permission to freshen up. I get out a few minutes later and then sits down on the couch. He is nowhere to be seen. Subsequently ten minutes later he enters. He is nude, except for wearing is his pinkie ring. I am not exaggerating. Next being of average height but husky, he overpowers me. He is directly on top of me. He reassures me he had a vasectomy. Somehow I am not reassured. The fear of pregnancy wasn’t the only thing on my mind. I still recall him pinning me down, forcing himself. I felt like a slut. He most definitely was violating my emotional and physical space. At the very lest he was going beyond the professional boundaries of never getting overly social with the client.
This is definitely not a false memory syndrome example. I clearly remember this happened to me. While I don’t dwell on it constantly the memories are still there even to this day. I felt at first utter shame. Than later, with help from genuine mental health providers I slowly realized I was not the one who was in the wrong. He was the one was totally immoral and unprofessional.
I never reported him. Perhaps I am wrong but I believed and still do, that who is more likely to be given credence, a mental health professional or a mental health patient? It certainly didn’t help his nephew was a very successful lawyer dealing in defending physicians in malpractice cases. However I did report to the magazine this so-called therapist put his commercial notice in. They made good on their promise to remove his postings.