If you have been referred to a shrink, in comes a new person into your life that can dictate the drugs you put into your body and advise on the way you live your life. My three main rules for starting with a shrink are:
- Ensure they are the right fit for you!– Can you talk to them easily? Do you feel you can discuss options with them rather than be dictated to. Having a comfortable relationship with your therapists and your shrinks is vital, if you don’t feel you can open up to them then you may not address the honest reasons for you being there in the first place.
- Check out the affordability!– Don’t add additional financial stress to your life with the cost of psychiatrist and therapist fees! There are many options out there, not all cost $200 a session. Some include sliding scale costs based on what you can afford (and will go as low as $15 a session), and of course there are those (dependent on your country) that are covered under free health care.
- Do they offer hours that work for you.– The last thing you want is to add more stress into your life by having to leave work to go to an appointment, especially if you have decided not to tell your boss (for more insight into the discussion as to when/ if you tell them- read my previous post “Should I tell my boss??”)
To become a psychiatrist there is a lot of study time and even more time in residency. There are some great doctors out there, but also some not so great. If you have a choice on the matter, take your time and do your research, find the right fit.
If cost is your issue, like most of us, talk to your referring physician (if you don’t have a referral, don’t worry- just do some research yourself).
- If your in the UK then the NHS has numerous outlets. For some guidance look up the NHS service providers. As outlined on the site, the majority of services require a referral, but there are some options for personal referral options.
- If your Canadian, look at your provincial health services websites for the best resources. For example in Alberta check out Health Care Locator for your local resources, Community centers often offer services in main city’s.
- In the USA, similar to Canada you need to review your states individual health system, due to the changing nature of the health care system in the USA health insurance is key, look into your local providers or call the SAMHSA treatment referral helpline (1-877-726-4727) Monday to Friday 8-8.
Know your emergency options!!
All locations have emergency contact numbers that you can call 24/7 if your emotionally distressed/ feeling suicidal- save it to your phones!! Unless critical the use of the hotlines is preferable over calling 911/999, and they are normally linked to emergency services if the situation requires it.
- The USA National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-Talk (8255), they also offer live chat options if you prefer to use your computer to talk.
- Canada offers a variety of call lines. Mental Health Helpline 1-866-531-2600, Health Link Alberta 1-403-943-5465, Crisis Line 1-403-266-Help (4357) (to name just a few2)
- In the UK: there is a multitude of options the nhs provide links dependent on what sort of mental health issue you are dealing with. Call Samaritans 24 hour helpline 116-123.
My Experience with my shrink:
I have a few issues with my shrink- but she is free and I cannot afford to argue with that! She isn’t the easiest to talk to and she is constantly running late (even when she doesn’t have a client before me)- her current average is 25 mins- but I have waited an hour before- only to walk in to her office that had a pillow on her desk.
What I have found though is once you have been with your shrink for more than, say 5 appointments, you should stick with them- by then they will understand the medications you have been on and are working with. Prior to that- you are free to look for alternative shrinks if this one isn’t right for you- keep looking.
Also- do not expect a couch- they do not all have them- my previous one did- but she was on Harley Street in London. The one I have been with for a couple of years now is based in a hospital, so is quite a clinical office.
When talking to your shrink:
- Be honest
- Ask Questions
- Don’t be afraid to show emotion- sounds stupid, but sometimes I feel like you have to make it look like your stronger than you are.
- Questions your medication options and side effects
If you have any experience and want to share- I would love to hear from everyone- good and bad!