Your Psychiatrist Works for You!

Why are many psychiatrists (medical doctors who prescribe medications) such fearsome creatures? Why do many of my clients have attacks of anxiety before their next psychiatrist appointment? Aren’t psychiatrists supposed to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem?

We can speculate on the answers to these questions. Maybe that’s part of being a physician – you’re the patient, they are the “Doctor.” Maybe they’ve acquired an attitude where they view their patients with judgment, as if their patients were to blame for having bipolar disorder or being so depressed they forget to take their meds. I’ve never been a psychiatrist, so I suppose I should not judge.

At any rate, when I have a client who avoids telling or asking his or her psychiatrist something important for fear of “wasting the doctor’s time” or “getting yelled at,” I try to “re-frame” (therapist-speak for putting a spin on something) the situation.

My main message involves reminding my client that:

  • their psychiatrist is working for them.
  • their psychiatrist is getting paid by them.
  • they, the client, are the psychiatrist’s customer.

In other words, they have the right to:

  • ask questions until they understand,
  • tell the psychiatrist things (e.g., “I haven’t slept well since you increased my dosage of the med I take at night time.”) without fear of retribution, and
  • expect reasonable service.

With this frame of reference firmly in mind, most of my previously fearful clients march right into their psychiatrist’s office and get good service. Often, though not always, their psychiatrist is pleased to get the questions or information the client provides. It helps them do their job better and helps them trust the client more. Everybody wins!

Please let me know what you think of this topic. Thanks!

Copyright 2013 Daniel J. Metevier

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