What I want from a mental health professional

I’m making a wish list  – things I want in a mental health professional.  It’s possibly unrealistic, since the shortage of specialists (and my bad experiences with TWO psychiatrists now) means that in reality I’ll probably have to take whoever I can get in to see.  However:

  • I want someone who respects the other members of my mental health support team – my partner, my psychologist and my GP.  I want recognition that other things apart from medication and my infrequent sessions with the psychiatrists are valid and valuable.
  • I want acknowledgement that mental illness does not exist in a vacuum – I have other physical issues that contribute to what I can and can’t manage to do.
  • I don’t particularly want to change the medication regime that is currently (mostly) working, but if we decide TOGETHER that change is required, then the psychiatrist MUST be available for phone consultation at the very least during the changeover.  And no medication changes will be undertaken on the brink of public holidays!
  • I want someone who LISTENS to me rather than jumps on their own hobby horse. If I mention that getting fewer hours of sleep each night is bothering me, then I want that symptom discussed.  If I am concerned about weight gain as a side effect, I want that addressed.  I don’t want to hear how successful the Doctor’s daughter or sister-in-law are – unless they have the same illnesses and history as I do, it’s NOT RELEVANT.
  • I am not interested in a Freudian approach – unless it is DIRECTLY relevant to what is going on RIGHT  NOW, I can’t see how digging through my childhood can help.
  • I want compassion.  It’s not okay to ignore my distress.  If I am half way through an hour long session and crying so hard that I can’t see, then at the very least offer me a glass of water.  I am willing to go tough places if I need to, but I need kindness to get there.

Comments?  Suggestions? Am I being unrealistic here?  I would value some feedback on this…

4 Replies to “What I want from a mental health professional”

  1. do you have to have a psych? Is it part of some requirement for aid etc? I gave up them doing any good – found far more progress with a GP with good therapy skills and able to see me once a fortnight

    1. I have to have a psychiatrist for prescribing and possible inpatient admissions 🙁 I see a psychologist once a month, who is VERY helpful… but sadly, yep, I need a new psychiatrist.

  2. No, Caity, that’s a perfectly reasonable wishlist, and clearly articulated.
    In fact, I’m going to print it out and pass it on to my daughter, who is a mental health advocate with VIMIAC (in Victoria). I’m sure some of her clients would find it useful.

    1. Thanks, Marcie. My wonderful GP has managed to get me in to see another psychiatrist (still in Toowoomba, this time) in September, so we\’ll see how that goes ….

Comments are closed.