Seeing a psychologist for the very first time can be quite confronting. It all begins by seeing a doctor first, who will then refer you to a psychologist. I had spoken to counselor’s online numerous times before, but had never had that face to face interaction. So when I first saw my GP and asked to be referred to a psychologist, I went with whoever she told me to see. It was a lady, she was the same nationality as me so I thought it would be a good opportunity to meet with someone who may have understood my morals a lot better. She seemed young and understanding, in the words of my GP, “she just gets it, she will be of great help to you”. I took her word for it and went for my first appointment. When I went in there, I didn’t know what exactly to do. Do I just start talking? Does she ask questions? She eased me into it. She told me the importance of letting her know if I don’t click with her as she wants to help me as much as she could even if that meant sending me to somebody else. At the time I felt fine hearing that, as I was certain we would click just fine… But come my second session, there was nothing else I wanted to do more than find someone else. Don’t get me wrong, as a lady she was a lovely human being. She told me on my first session that she was a little rough around the edges and if she ever upset me she told me to be open and honest about it and we would sort it out. Little did I know this was all a lie. On my first ever session, she told me I needed to be on medication. I didn’t like this idea at all and asked if I could have some therapy first, particularly CBT and ERP which I heard has been quite effective in treating OCD, but she was adamant that it wouldn’t help unless I was medicated. Regardless, I stuck to my word and waited it out. On my second session, I didn’t speak much. That was when I started to feel like she wasn’t the right psych for me. I left the session in tears, feeling like I had no accomplishment at all. I thought we had gone through enough history but she seemed to want to keep exploring my past, even though I had nothing significant happen to me. On my third session, she again told me I needed to be on medication and continued speaking about my past. This was only fueling my OCD more convincing me that I was not well. I told her that a few things she had said to me had offended me, and she looked at me as though I was insane. There goes this idea that I could open up to her about how she made me feel, I thought. I was scared to see her once more as my anxiety and depression seemed to be getting worse and we still had years of history to go through according to her. I was scared to ask her to refer me elsewhere as I feared she would suck me back in and there is nothing I hate more than awkward confrontation. So I organised to see somebody else and texted her lying that I was unable to attend to my future appointments due to other reasons. She was understanding (thank gosh) but I still have no idea how she would have reacted if she found out I went elsewhere.
My new psychologist seemed to understand me from day one. This time, I knew what I needed and knew that I needed to start therapy as quickly as possible and she respected that. She asked me about the major points in my life but that is about the most we spent on history. She didn’t drag me through each session with no progress simply just to make more money for herself. She wanted me out of there as quickly as possible. I just want to stress to you all how important it is to find a psychologist who truly understands you. One who connects with you in a way that will help with your progress. It can be tricky and may require some jumping around, but trust me it’s a lot like dating! Soon enough you’ll realise what you want and who can fulfill those needs. If you’re feeling discouraged because therapy isn’t working due to your disconnection from your psych, please hang in there and switch to the next one as quickly as possible. If you can, give them a call before your first session and see if you click over the phone. Sometimes it’s easy to tell if somebody will be able to understand you on that level simply by their tone of voice. Mental illness is hard, and OCD in particular is tricky. If you can’t open up to a therapist about it you will see no progress in your health. My advice is not to be scared. After all, this is about your life and your health. Don’t be afraid to speak up and tell somebody you’re not clicking with them. I know I was, but I now realise that I owed her no explanation. You are not in a binding contract to remain with someone who seems to be making things worse for you. If you realise from early on that something doesn’t quite seem right (which is how I felt when she quickly wanted to put me on medication) then trust me, don’t wait around for another chance. Move onto the next and try your hardest to find the right one. Never settle for a psychologist who isn’t helping you in a way you need to be helped. Your health always comes first.