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nicobanks's avatar

Have you ever seen a shrink?

Asked by nicobanks (2901 points ) March 3rd, 2010

Have you ever been to a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, analyst, etc? Or maybe an intimate of yours has, and you know about it?

If so, could you tell me about it? Like, where did you find the person? How much did it cost? What were your problems, and how did they help – or did they help at all? I realize this is a sensitive topic, so any information you feel comfortable sharing would be appreciated by me.

Basically, I have considered myself a “high-functioning” crazy person for awhile now, and I’m starting to think it would be a good idea to talk to someone about it, but I am far from rich and uninsured so I don’t really know what to do, and the idea is very foreign to me…

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25 Answers

utzon's avatar

I’ve seen several but only in the wild.

marinelife's avatar

I found my first therapist by luck. After that I used recommendations. I found it very helpful.

It does not work for every problem.

Mine was covered largely by health insurance.

Fyrius's avatar

Useless answer:
My parents must have taken me to a shrink when I was a toddler, who gave me the PDD-NOS diagnosis I would grow up with. I don’t remember any of it.

Somewhat more useful answer:
If you just want to talk about it to someone, even if that someone is not a professional shrink, there are plenty of places in the Tubes where you can drop off your story anonymously and get help from well-intentioned laypeople. This is my personal place of choice.

ZenListener's avatar

I used to see one, when I was a kid. Yesterday I went to see a psychologist. I found mine by going through my insurance and, when they didn’t have anything open, they referred me to an out of network place.

It’s only the one session so I can’t comment on if it’s a help or not. I don’t want to say how much it costs me, but I will say it’s under $100 a session. If you call around you may be able to find a therapist that works on a sliding scale and can try and help you on payments.

nicobanks's avatar

@Fyrius Thanks, that is a good suggestion but at this point I want more than that. I mean, I have close friends, I confide in people and I appreciate their responses to me, but now I’m interested in a comprehensive, professional opinion. Also there’s nothing I can really point to, nothing I could express in a paragraph or letter… more like a frame of mind I want analyzed from a learned point-of-view.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Yes. I saw three of them in the past, two who were not right for me and one who was simply mediocre. I have done a lot of work on my own, and I have a counselor now, but she’s not a bona fide shrink. She just has a lot of common sense, is mentally healthy and has a vast knowledge of CBT.

You have to see who fits you. If one doesn’t seem to feel right to you, you’re free to find another. Also, your local mental health office might have listings of low-cost services in your area. Colleges with psych departments also have clinics with sliding scale fees. If you feel you need help, there are ways to get the help you need.

talljasperman's avatar

I was so dissatisfied with my service that I went to university to become one myself…I turns out that the incompetence extends to the university’s as well…I’ve never been helped by a therapist…but the little surveys are fun for career counseling…I found the therapists from school…job centers and hospitals and community outreach services….most of them were free…$2000 for the assesment that My job interviewer paid for

kevbo's avatar

There are usually sliding scale fee options available in a decent-sized town. For example, in my town one affordable service is run through a church and another by a behavioral health provider that has a stare contract. They are listed in the phone book.

The best experience I’ve had started by talking to the clinical director of a therapist group. I told her a little about my situation, and she referred me to someone who worked out great for me.

As far as the process goes, it should be a matter of you talking about what is troubling you, parsing out the problems (whether it is in your head or not and what to do about it), and then coming up with solutions and tools so that it’s not recurring and/or becomes manageable.

It works best when you have your problems somewhat defined and/or when you are wiling to say and feel the things you need to during a session—to make it your time and let down your guard, so that your can lay all the broken pieces out on the floor, take a good look at them and decide how to fix things.

Ria777's avatar

@nicobanks: Basically, I have considered myself a “high-functioning” crazy person for awhile now

so do a lot of people. you know, over the years, the definition of crazy has slowly drifted from behavior extreme enough to get you put in jail or in a hospital bed to everyday typical behavior. everyone has problems and no one can call themselves perfect.

talk to your best friends, make art and write about it. change your life for the better. never mind a shrink. find the answers yourself. a good shrink would say the same. your solutions don’t reside anywhere other than inside you.

Haroot's avatar

I just used my colleges student services. Their psychologist are good enough. A psychologist isn’t a person that heals your but more a guideline to help you heal yourself.

Honestly a good friend will provide the same backboard to bounce your mind off of.

Your_Majesty's avatar

I have one. When I was a boy my parent assume that I’m one of the rebellious kid then they took me to see a psychologist to discover some trait from my personal life. Actually I denied this but the successfully got me to visit. The first day I feel insecure about about the meeting session,but as we(me and the psychologist) knew each other from session to session we started to argue,at first he ask me some light question about my personal life then it grows to heavier question. He said it just some chit-chat and has nothing to do with personality observation and he won’t tell my parent as he stands for his ethical code(I’m far too independent and smart he think he can manipulate me). At the end of our session he admitted that I’m smart and a hardy opponent(since I’m strong enough to argue with him). From the beginning I know that I’m a healthy-minded person but just so independent and competitive among my own friends and family but I never told them about that,they knew from that psychologist.

Well all I can say is that we are what we are,do not let other tell you who you are. I know so well who I’m am and win the fight at the end.
If you really want to know how much it cost,It took 25$ for each session in my country(it would be the same fee for all psychologist in my country,it’s their staple fee).
How many session it takes depends on your mental stability and development state.

I know my personal experience sounds useless to you,sorry about that.

strawberrypomme's avatar

I am currently seeing someone to help me through some personal issues. I found her through my doctor—He referred me to a charitable organisation who run a low cost centre in my local area.
I have been seeing her for almost 2 months and I can sincerely say that she is very very good. She grasps everything I say very well, gives me ways to deal with issues, and works to change my daily life and habits.
I would say try and get someone who you feel has the same background as you, so your issues feel less trivial. For example mine is young and has been to university so we have a little common ground.
Be prepared to invest a lot of yourself, dig up hurtful experiences from the past, and you also need the desire to change.
Take a chance—and if you can afford it, do it. After all what is money when your mental health isn’t as it should be.
And good luck. Try posting a few ideas on here, you never know who might answer :)

davidbetterman's avatar

No. Most of them are far more screwed up than I ever dreamed of being.

phillis's avatar

Being self-pay, it would be worth your while to find out if your county health department offers sliding scale therapy. If they don’t, let your fingers do the walking. Odds are in your favor that a therapist somewhere near you does. It worked great for me.

If you suspect you may need meds, the best way to save money is to cut to the chase and visit a psychiatrist first, because a therapist/analyst/psychologist cannot prescribe meds.

Your connection with your therapist isn’t necessarily tangible. Besides insisting on a professional demeanor and an attentive session, you’re not driving your car there and expecting to have it fixed by the time you leave. They need to be caring and professional at the same time. Most of them get this, but therapists can be uncaring assholes the same as anybody else. You have to be resolved in how you expect
to be treated.

The biggest mistake I see patients in any medical discipline make is thinking that,because someone has MD behind their name, they cannot be fired. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Eventually, you will learn whether your version of a highly functioning crazy person is actually right in step with everyone else. I’ve yet to meet a person who doesn’t have “crazy” written all over at least one aspect of thier life.

cak's avatar

Sure, I have one now. I have terminal cancer (according to the doctors, I’m still bent on proving them wrong) and needed to find a way to reconcile that idea in my head and then keep myself moving forward. I was doing okay until my father passed away – a little over a year ago, now and one of my children started really showing signs of stress related to everything going on. I knew that I needed to work on something and we also sought treatment for that child and it is ongoing treatment.

I found her through recommendations from a social worker that deals with cancer patients in the practice I see – the oncology group. They make sure we know what resources we have available to us – at all times. She is reasonable, but my insurance does cover 60% of each visit – but they range from (before insurance) 100–125 per visit.

Sometimes we laugh about things, I’ll just go through what is going on in life and other times, I’m in a very dark place and she guides me to a place where I can make better choices. She never “tells” me what to do, which is wonderful, but she is the first (outside of my husband) to really question me if I am doing something that is so far out of character – she wants to make sure there isn’t something brewing. Am I skirting depression? Am I hiding my feelings? I am really good at hiding how I feel about things. A pro!

It’s a healthy way to deal with life, if you feel like you’ve reached that point – and believe me, it’s something we know -we just may ignore. One of her best sayings – and I’m sure many other therapists -“The sanest people are usually those in therapy!” (relatively speaking, of course!)

filmfann's avatar

I have been to several. My company’s health coverage paid for the first 7 visits, and after that I had to make a co-pay.
It was very helpful, and got me thru dark times.

wundayatta's avatar

There are a number of ways that people get shrinks. Sometimes it’s from the recommendation of a doctor. Sometimes it’s from a panel that you insurer will pay for. Sometimes it’s someone a friend recommends. Sometimes you go online and look up people listed in their professional group.

My first shrink was supposed to be someone my doctor recommended. Unfortunately, I was getting pretty bad, and my appointment was over a month away. My wife was so worried she asked a friend of ours who is a therapist if there was someone we could see sooner. Our friend recommended a research psychiatrist who sometimes sees patients. He costs $300 per hour. However, he does see some patients for very low or no cost.

My first appointment was for an hour. All the subsequent ones were for half an hour. I went to a psychiatrist for two reasons: to get a diagnosis and a prescription for appropriate meds.

If you want a diagnosis, you have to go to a psychiatrist. If you only want meds, a physician can prescribe them. Physicians, however, don’t really know what is appropriate and could really hurt you if they misdiagnose. This is not to say the psychiatrists don’t misdiagnose, too. I know people who have gone through four or five different diagnoses over the years.

Usually, you need both someone to diagnose and prescribe, and someone to talk to. They can be the same person, but that is not the most common way of doing it. What most people do is find a therapist to talk to, after they’ve been diagnosed. Therapists (psychologists, social workers, and many more) help you figure out how to cope. They help you use your mind to cope with the things it is messing up on. You can actually change your brain chemistry through thought—if you practice enough. Using meds is faster and best for emergencies. It is important to do both, however.

By the time I got to the shrink I had already diagnosed myself. So there was little surprise to find my self-diagnosis confirmed. You can learn a lot about various mental illnesses online and I encourage you to read widely, especially about a condition you suspect you may have. The more knowledge you have, the better off you are. Do not put all your trust in the shrinks. They are often brusque and over-worked and prejudiced about the intelligence of patients. You want them to do the best job they are capable of, and that means you need their time.

I think it is worth spending a lot of money out of pocket to get a good psychiatrist. Teaching hospitals and universities are good places to find such people. If you get the right diagnosis and the right meds right at the start, you will not waste as much painful time trying to get it right. You can focus on your therapy.

You are uninsured, which totally sucks. One of the most inhumane aspects of American culture is our willingness to throw people to the wolves in terms of health care. We need universal health insurance coverage. Every other Western democracy has it, and they are all doing better than we are. Social capitalism works.

Anyway, get treated, no matter what it costs. Deal with paying for it later. You don’t want your illness to kill you, and so many mental illnesses do. 20% of bipolar folk (that’s my diagnosis) die of suicide.

babaji's avatar

a longtime ago, saw a shrink and told him that i could sit in a lotus position and could literally see the walls melt. Possibly a bad choice of words, for the next time i saw him he had written up my diagnostic review that was three inches thick saying how crazy i was.
lol….i promptly told him that he was totally nuts and that he didn’t have a clue about the makeup of consciousness. And when i tried to explain to him that one could experience a level of consciousness before thought, before the existence of form….
....he said slowly and very seriously, “You really need help”

YARNLADY's avatar

I have received help from psychologists in the past. My doctor ordered therapy when I lost my second husband, and I believe it was beneficial. When I had an issue with my son, I consulted a family counselor who gave me some good tips and ideas. My insurance covers counseling.

Just_Justine's avatar

I have been to psychologists a lot. I think everyone should go at least a few times in a life time. It helps to get things back into perspective. My degree had psychology and social work as part of my subject choice and it was there that I learned about the perspective part. I have always been considered very strong, highly functioning and stable. But I do battle demons. I have recently been treated by a psychiatrist and was diagnosed bipolar. I also made a decision that psychiatrists are not for me, as I am not “into” medication. I could land up eating my words though.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’ve seen them numerous times, almost all useless. I found out only a few years ago that I have Aspergers Syndrome. This has only been diagnosed for about the last 20 years.

As a child, I was a determined loner; that’s not “normal”, so various counselors assigned me to “groups” to force me to socialize. I figured out quickly that if I was disruptive enough, I’d get kicked out of the group. Eventually, my parents learned to accept the fact that I was a straight-A student who didn’t socialize; an asocial “nerd”.

Since then, I had been misdiagnosed with bipolar, ADD, OCD, Social Phobia and every other acronym in the book. The only diagnosis the phychiatrists ever got right was Reactive Depression following my being wounded in Desert Storm (fortunately that is treated with medication and I didn’t have to sit in stupid counselling sessions).

I was eventually correctly diagnosed by my wife when she was a third year undergraduate psychology major, her professor confirmed it. AS in adults is basically untreatable, but just knowing what you have can be a comfort. This knowledge also allows me to stay away from situations where my lack of social aptitude would cause me trouble, such as my decision to retire from the Army rather than be promoted and given a diplomatic posting (how anyone ever thought that up is beyond me).

My wife was the only counsellor I ever had who was actually effective. I can now “read” some of the more obvious body language and facial cues. I have learned to “fake” neutral expression and avoid angry “meltdowns” by “bottling it up” until I can be alone.

After my ladys death last year, I was put on heavy medications (Paxil,Valium in high doses) and just get on with it. Face to face counselling or group therapy is out of the question. The only person I could ever have a trusting relationship with is now in the family cemetary.

From my experiences, I tend to trust pharmaceuticals (but its an Easter egg hunt getting on the right ones), but “talking therapy” is nothing but voodoo IMHO (at least for people with my condition). The only effective non-pharmaceutical treatment I’ve ever recieved was from my wife, who made herself an expert in AS, spending thousands of hours working out effective strategies with me.

Right now, Valium and Paxil are keeping me alive. The responsibility of keeping a farm crew safe and productive in dangerous weather has stuffed my depression and grief in the back of my head somewhere. Only the intervention of a very good friend stopped me from eating a bullet after Meghan was killed.

YARNLADY's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land I once asked my doctor why so many other doctors misdiagnosed my issues, instead of treating my thyroid problem. She explained that the medical profession is always learning more and more about how the human body works, and diagnosis techniques depend on the detection methods available. This is also the case with the psychiatric profession as well. 20 years ago they didn’t have the type of information that is currently available.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@YARNLADY What irks me so much about the “headshrinkers” is that they all seem to have their “pet” diagnosis, whether it’s OCD, PTSD, ADD, etc. and they want to cram all their patients into that category. This almost forces patients to self-diagnose and then seek out a specialist in that area. If I hadn’t married a psychology major, I’d still be clueless. My experience with mental health professionals is that they treat what they know rather than really diagnosing the patient. For example, I was treated (unsuccessfully) for PTSD simply because I was a combat veteran, even though the symptoms didn’t match (I got a bootleg copy of DSM IV), even though I scored 45 out of 50 on the Cambridge Austism Test and 178 out of 200 on the Aspergers Scale. The diagnosis was made by an unlicensed psychology student (my wife) who recognised the symptoms from a course she had just taken.

talljasperman's avatar

@stranger_in_a_strange_land I also found copy of DSM IV in the second hand store…Their is so little infomaton in that book that I wonder where the psychologists get their info…I took two years of psychology and they never taught anything useful…I guess they make it up as they go along.

Leanne1986's avatar

No. I can’t bring myself to do it. I should though.

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