How to deal with a visit to the psychologist? | INFJ Forum

How to deal with a visit to the psychologist?

Discussion in 'Psychology and MBTI' started by Onyrica, Jun 29, 2009.

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  1. Onyrica

    Onyrica Community Member

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    So tomorrow I'm going to the doctors, to receive an appointment for a visit to the psychologist.

    It's taken me 3 years to make this decision and I'm still pending on the possibility of backing out because of my stupid inability to confront my issues.

    Anyway, my case is complex - I supose about as complex as your average depressed INFJ's - and I really do not have a clue as of how to confront the psychologist about it. For one, because I've never been to one before, and also because I have a great big problem with opening up about my internal problems. Even if I know it's their job to listen, one of my current issues is the difficulty I find in talking about myself.

    So, my question is... what do I do?! :m097:

    Has anyone been to one before? How do they generally act to begin with? Do they just ask you to tell them about your problems?

    The thing is, if they do that, I'm just gonna be able to open my mouth and close it repeatedly, like a fish. I seem to be unable to speak unless asked precise questions.

    Seriously, someone give me the motivation to make it to tomorrow without running out of the medical center... X_x
     
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  2. CoffeeShopDiva

    CoffeeShopDiva Community Member

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    Oooh, a question I can actually answer!!

    First of all, you're not alone. I know MANY people who have attended counselling for certain periods in their lives. And, this doesn't include all the people who SHOULD be going. :p

    I've never been to a 'psychologist'. I've been to a psychiatrist and a counsellor. But, I think you should be clear with the doctor if you believe it is a psychologist you need. If you are looking for more than counselling (like medication), then you want to be talking to a psychiatrist. You should also talk to your doctor about which of these methods can be funded for you. For example, psychiatrists are covered by the provincial health care system in Canada, but a counsellor isn't. I don't know where you live, but its something to ask before you get a referral.

    Also - Don't be worried about knowing what to say to your counsellor. It is their job to listen to you! Usually during the first session, they ask you about your history, your family relationships, etc. Its to get a background about you.

    If you have any more questions, let me know!
     
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  3. OP
    Onyrica

    Onyrica Community Member

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    Oh, that's helpful. Thank you. ^^

    I'm from Spain. Over here, psychiatry and psychology is covered by the National Health system. I don't think counselling is. However, the thing is, that I'm not even sure there's counsellors per se here in Spain... probably is, but it isn't as heard of.

    The first time I heard of the term was on one of my many trips to England, in fact, and I bought a book on it because I was interested in it. However, I've not gone too far into it to actually be able to tell that what I need is a counsellor rather than a psychologist.

    My problem... let see how to put this...

    Basically, I believe I'm depressed. I've been like this for quite a few years already.
    I've got many personal issues concerning myself and I've got this.... ominous 'void' in me that I just can't shake. It's... complicated, see. It's even hard to type it out, so imagine talking about it.

    It does go quite further than this, to be frank. I just feel unable to put it into words because of my inability to do so. But with this said, what do you think I should seek? A psychiatrist, psychologist...?

    My friends have told me that I should go to a psychologist. And everyone here seems to think that for this type of issue you should go to a psychologist. As I've never been to one, I just assumed it was what I had to do, since psychiatry here equals medication prescription and, to be honest, I don't want to go on pills at the age of 21 if there's something I can still do to avoid it.

    I would like for someone to tell me the things I don't know. I know myself, I believe I know every reason behind my actions and my thoughts, but I don't know why I feel the way I do, why I'm depressed and absolutly unable to feel happy. Why do I simply don't 'feel' as I should.

    I would like them to help me and maybe not solve it for me, but tell me what to do. Just give me the hint and the push, or... I don't know. See, this is why it's taken me 3 years to decide. I always thought I could control it myself, but now I'm just out of the loop and I feel there's nothing I can do anymore. I just need something or someone to give me the right type of hand.

    I sound desperate, don't I? ^^;;
     
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  4. Wyote

    Wyote Xenoi
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    I've been to a psychologist and some counselors. A psychologist will definitely help guide you in whatever direction you want to go. It's important that you go to one that you are comfortable talking to... most have the ability to build rapport with clients so you should not be too worried about talking - it is their job after all! Just remember you're in control of the situation. Psychologists typically have all kinds of resources and ideas for what you seem to be describing. Ultimately they should help you discover what you need and if you both come to the conclusion that you do need some medication they will probably simply refer you to a psychiatrist. So, a psychologist is where almost everyone should start in my opinion anyway.

    I was almost referred to a psychiatrist, but once I pinned down some key factors in my life that were weighing me down heavily I was able to change the situation. I still have ups and downs like everyone though.

    Some simple things that can actually have a profound affect:

    Good diet
    15 minutes of sunlight a day
    Laughing/smiling each day
    Exercise (blech!)
     
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    #4 Wyote, Jun 30, 2009
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  5. OP
    Onyrica

    Onyrica Community Member

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    Thanks for your advice Wyote~ ^^

    So, what's the essential difference between a counsellor and a psychologist, then?
     
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  6. Wyote

    Wyote Xenoi
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    A counselor is more knowledgeable about conflict/resolution so if there is emotional issues concerning other people or a specific situation you may be in (abusive relationship) then a counselor can give you resources to help with that. A psychologist is more knowledgeable about specific psychological traits and brain functions so they are better for handling personal issues and problem solving personal physical/emotional trauma and so forth.
     
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    #6 Wyote, Jun 30, 2009
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  7. OP
    Onyrica

    Onyrica Community Member

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    Oh, that clears it up then. Very much appreciated, Wyote ^^

    If anyone else has anything to add, feel free and welcome to do so though! I'd like to hear about more people who've had experiences of the sort. =)
     
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  8. Blind Bandit

    Blind Bandit Blind Man Being Lead to Nowhere
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    Something you need to know now and make sure you remember it. Therapy is usually just a diagnostic tool. Not a means of support. I went into therapy thinking I would have a good out let and someone to talk to. Thats not what I received. So as long as your remember that therapy is no replacement for external support then I think it will be a lot easer.

    As for what will you do. They tend to do guided questions and exercises. They may ask you about certain subjects. They may also ask you what you think is wrong ect.

    For the most part they help you better understand you.

    Please keep in mind that everyone is different and your theapry expeirnce may be very different than others.

    But don't stress. Just go and try to make good use of your time. Therapy may or may not be of help to you. Depending on your situation. But it will at least give you another option in understanding yourself.
    :m054:
     
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  9. slant

    slant Sedated slanty

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    They will ask you questions, such as

    "What do you want to do with your time here, what issues would you like to work on?"

    Start from there. If they don't ask, then tell them why you are there and what you need help on.
     
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  10. sassafras

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    It's awesome that you've decided to help yourself this way. A therapist is probably one of the best resources you have at your disposal on this journey to self-realization/recovery.

    Before you go for your appointment, I would sit down and do a thorough inventory of your issues and what you would like to address. Figure out what you think is paramount and highlight it for yourself. Take it with you to the appointment and read through those notes in the waiting room, but put it away once you walk in. That way, if for whatever reason you're nervous or sidetracked or need a jump-off point, the list of topics is still relatively fresh in your mind. That, and you're less likely to forget something important.

    Good luck!
     
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  11. OP
    Onyrica

    Onyrica Community Member

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    - I live on a daily basis of a coffee in the morning, a coffee in the evening and maybe a couple of snacks in between. Yep, need to fix my diet.
    - I spend about 10 hours a day sitting here and can go days without looking out of a window. Yep, need to go out more.
    - I usually do a lopsided smirk when something amuses me. When I go out, I often do smile to people a lot (just because it usually makes up for the lack of conversation I have), but as we mentioned in point 2... yep, need to fix this too.
    - And exercise... this is... a funny word you know? *tries to find jogging trousers from the 80's...*

    So yeah, I'll make a note of that. Thanks. ^^;

    I'm off shortly to the doctors now. I've not had time to make a list, but since our waiting lines are terrible, they might not even pick me today. I'll have to see and, in any case, I'll make a few points in a pad on my way there. All in all, thank you everyone for your advice. It's really helpful to read it, so keep it coming if you have anything to add. ^^
     
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  12. Tamagochi

    Tamagochi Sushi Destroyer
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    Onyrica, that's great to hear - it means that you are ready to take back the responsibility into your life. It's a cornerstone for building self-esteem.

    My intuition told me to visit a counselor years ago - it was my feelings and conscious doubts that got in the way. And once I made it, I wished I got there sooner :D I was also very nervous during the first few visits.

    Basically there are three kinds of psychological help you can get. The first two are meant for healthy people who have problems in their lives and only the last one is meant for mentally ill.

    1) "Psychologists" as you call them (I don't know the exact term in English) use a set of techniques - such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. They are the kind of people you should go to when you have a specific problem: such as drug addiction, depression, a damaging heartbreak. Psychologists will ask you questions, give exercises and may offer some medication. You will get guaranteed results after relatively short time (like 5-10 visits). The problem with this kind of approach is that it usually heals symptoms, but not the cause.

    2) Psychoanalytics and counselors use talk therapy and they will be keen to learn your problems from the very root. They are what people usually imagine as "therapy" - the kind you see in "Sopranos". There are multiple schools of psychoanalytics that you might have heard: Freudian, Jungian etc. Each practitioner usually belongs to some or use a mix - you should ask him/her about that. This kind of therapy is costly and can go on for a long time - months or even years. If the counselor is not suitable for you, then you can talk and talk... and nothing will happen. Trust your intuition on this ;)

    3) Psychiatrists are doctors who specialize in treating mental disorders like split personalities and schizophrenia. You probably do not need to see one :)

    From what I have read in your post I think it would be best for you to visit a caunselor and not a "psychologyst". That's because you've felt the problem for a long time (3 years) and do not know the exact cause of it.
     
  13. CoffeeShopDiva

    CoffeeShopDiva Community Member

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    It is actually Psychiatrists, not Psychologists that can prescribe medication. And they deal with a variety of problems, one of which is mental illness. But, since depression is a mental illness, it is still possible that they will need to see a Psychiatrist.

    Also - all of the therapies we've mentioned are 'talk therapies' to some extent. However, they may also include other therapies.

    But, I agree with someone above who said you should first talk to a Psychologist. Especially if you would first like to tackle your depression non-medicinally.

    However, I seem to say this a lot... but if it comes down to you needing medication, try to keep an open mind. For depression, antidepressants paired with therapy is a very effective treatment method. Remember that it is ONE aspect of your recovery, not all of it (I forget this often! :p ) Also, don't be self-conscious about needing meds at the age of 21. I'm 24 and I've been on Effexor (an SSRI) for the past two years and have found it has infinitely improved my mood.

    I hope you get to see who you wanted to today! And, I apploud your courage, because its difficult to finally decide to get help. :)
     
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  14. OP
    Onyrica

    Onyrica Community Member

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    Thank you again everyone, it's really helping to get such feedback.

    I went to the doctors today, and after endless hours of waltzing around, I got in to see the psychologist (a petite cute woman whose presence instantly made me feel pretty reassured). She said I would need therapy and gave me a date to start. However, I'm going abroad for a month in the middle of july until september. She then gave me a date on the 10th of July to have a first interview and then she said we'd tackle the actual problem in september.

    In a way, her interest and apparent concern were very reliving. I'd always heard that National Health system psychologists were just as bad as the main doctors (they get paid for sitting endless hours listening to people talk about broken nails, so they end up being very sour and indiferent people), but this one made me feel quite at ease. It was a good first impression and, while I was still very reluctant to be sitting there, twiddling my thumbs, it stopped me from just going home without a date.

    So all in all, first step done! Now just gotta carry on with the rest and see how it goes.

    As for the tips everyone's offered, they've been great. I would gladly go see a counsellor at some point, but I first want to experience the visit to the psychologist. (Also, because it's free and I'm poor, lets face it~ xD)

    As someone who's highly interested in psychology and all its fields myself I'll surelly see soon enough if this is what I need or if I need whatever else of what you've all recommended. I know that what I need to find is the root of this horrible feeling, because the symptoms are pretty clear and durable. Wont do me any good to heal that alone because they will just come back.

    But aye, I rant.

    As said, thank you all. It's really made me feel more at ease to hear all you had to say. ^^
     
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  15. Milon

    Milon Director of Glomps
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    Onyrica, you mentioned you felt like you had a void in you. I've often felt like I have a black hole in me - a desire for something, but I didn't know what. It left me restless, unsatisfied, unable to be at peace. It felt like no matter what I tried, it was always empty, always demanding more... Is that kind of like what you're experiencing?
     
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  16. OP
    Onyrica

    Onyrica Community Member

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    Yes, pretty much. Of course - and I supose you'll agree - it goes far beyond saying "I feel empty". It's a very complex thing, painful at times even.

    For me, put in simple terms, it kind of feels like the 'inability' to be happy, to feel joy, to feel strong emotions. It's like I'm always wearing a veil that covers half the light. Or like the machinery that allows emotions to flow being broken.

    I spoke about it with a friend and, trying to make him understand, I used the 'Neverending story' as a reference. If you've read it, you'll know that Nothingness consumed the land of Fantasy (these were the spanish terms in the book, don't know if they were the same in english). That's much how I feel - like I've got two people in me, one being the 'normal' person, one being the Nothing person. The Normal one is able to feel, be happy, be sad, be angry, be everything. The Nothing one just doesn't feel. And right now, I'm a blend of both. I 'feel', but never enough. And it's very, very stressing.

    Ahh.... I'm so dramatic. :m187:

    But anyway, yes, I know what you mean, if I didn't make it clear enough~ xD
     
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  17. CoffeeShopDiva

    CoffeeShopDiva Community Member

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    I used to feel like there was a 'veil' between me and the outside world. And, at the worst of my depression, I remember being with my beloved friends, and I expected myself to feel happy, but I just felt numb.

    I also remember feeling like I was in a black hole. My thoughts would swirl around like when you pull the plug in the bath. Negative painful thoughts always swirling.

    I also go through phases of being physically 'depressed', like being much slower to do anything, moving slowly, talking slowly, etc. I remember putting my shoes on taking an extreme effort.

    PS - I'm really glad you liked your psychologist. It makes things infinitely easier if you have a rapport with them. :)
     
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    #17 CoffeeShopDiva, Jun 30, 2009
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  18. Hinsoog

    Hinsoog Community Member

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    Definately feel at ease if you go to a psychiatrist. I went to one a while back to see what they could do that I wasn't about my OCD. She basically confirmed that in fact I am a clear and classic case of OCD, at which point, it was merely a check-up to see my responce to the drugs and then change the dosage accordingly... Psychiatrists just try to be sure that they are actually witnessing symptoms that can be controlled chemically, and then monitor closely that they are working in an expected and positive way. I mean, at one point she actually said that I had done a bunch of the therapy myself by having already completely objectified my OCD symptoms.

    It's probably pretty good for a lot of people, but, I actually quit it because I did NOT want to be dependant on those chemicals. I know where my own levers are at and how much it takes to pull them. I would howevor be fascinated to see a cognitive psychologist working... I bet that's a whole other animal, and I think you should be excited to see one!
     
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    #18 Hinsoog, Jun 30, 2009
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  19. OP
    Onyrica

    Onyrica Community Member

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    I'm interested in the cognitive behavioural aproach, but I fear it might not be what I need. I tend to have a... well, it's hard to say. But I know that if they tried to heal my thinking patterns and my behaviour (aka, my symptoms and not the core), at some point I would resume behaving and thinking like that. Because after all this time, I know a lot about myself, but I just don't know the bottom line, and that's what I really want to figure out. I don't want them to tell me, I know they probably can't. I just want to figure it out because once I have that, I know that I can probably help myself so much more (along with the help they provide, too).

    As for pills... my problem with pills is that there's a record of people in my family who depended on them. They eventually became dependent and now they live on those.
    I've always 'prided' myself on being stronger than them (maybe it's a bit of an egocentric aproach, I know) and so if I saw myself 'reduced' to taking pills I would feel very powerless and defeated. I know I might need them - I just want to try everything I can before it comes down to that.

    But aye, I don't completly reject the idea. I just want to be ok. If it means having to medicate myself, of course I wont avoid it~
     
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  20. dylan

    dylan Bearded Dancing King

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    Onyrica, I'm sorry to hear you're feeling this way, and glad you have decided to take steps to remedy the situation. Good for you!

    My main advice about this is to see if you can try talking to a few different therapists before you choose who you will see for the long term. As many have mentioned, how well you get along with your therapist will greatly affect the effectiveness of your therapy and treatment.

    It's great that the first person you saw made you feel at ease, but in addition to feeling at ease, you have to feel that you are able to communicate with your therapist - that they easily understand you and what you are trying to tell them, and that you easily understand them and what they are saying to you.

    I don't know if the system in Spain will allow you to do this, but if you can, see if you can make appointments with a few different people. Think of it as if you are interviewing them for the position of being your therapist. You can tell them about your problems and why you want to see a therapist, but you can also make it clear that you are trying out a few different people. Then you can talk about anything, any small talk at all, just to see how well you like them and whether or not you think you can communicate easily with them. People are different and have different personalities (and that includes therapists), so it's in your best interest to find a personality you get along with. It will be much better for you in the long run. You will feel at ease with them and achieve a good level of trust much sooner than if you feel like you can't communicate.

    And who knows, in the end you might decide the first person you saw was the best for you, but at least you will be choosing them because you have tried out some others, not just because that's who the doctor sent you to.

    Good luck, and keep at it! It might be hard to start, but it's worth it in the long run!
     
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    #20 dylan, Jun 30, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
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