Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Community Manager
You can win one of three $200 gift cards. Complete our survey by 5pm, 30 June 2024 AEST to enter the draw. Your response will be anonymous so you can't be identified.

Read my psychiatric assessment letters to doctor.

Community Member



I completed my 291 assessment (assessment and report) that I was referred for. Diagnosis was that I have GAD. 

I had accepted that as it did not surprise me. But then I went down the rabbit hole and requested assessment letters to GP and psychologist under freedom of information. 

I received the information and I found it really confronting. Yes, I know what we talked about would be there but I feel like I will be seen as tragic, be pittied and just seen as a screw up.

When the initial assessment letter got sent to GP. He sat there quietly reading it and it was incredibly uncomfortable. I guess I just wanted to know what they did but now I really regret it. 



3 Replies 3

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Natalie


I suppose when we can't unsee something, the challenge becomes about putting a different spin on it. I know, easier said than done in some cases. I feel for you, given the impact that report has had on you. While the following perspective is simply my own, I hope it can offer you a refreshing way of looking at things.


The report is based on their perspective. Part of their perspective involves textbook analysis and part may involve their experience (with what they've observed in other clients or patients over the years). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders - Edition 5 (DSM-V) is the textbook that's the guide for a diagnosis. So, you could say you're a textbook case of GAD, according to the DSM-V. It's a psychological assessment of who you are.


Some or all of the boxes ticked could have involved the following

  1. Closeness and intimacy can overwhelm you
  2. You don't do well in crowded places
  3. You have a hard time not caring (being sensitive to the emotional states of others)
  4. You have a high sensitivity to sounds, smells or sensations
  5. You need time to recharge, unlike others who appear to manage ongoing challenge
  6. You don't do well with conflict
  7. You often feel like you don't fit in
  8. You tend to isolate
  9. You have a hard time setting boundaries
  10. You find it tough to cope with sensory and emotional overload

This is actually a list of traits that can describe an empathic person or an empath. You're not going to find any of that woo woo stuff like 'empath' in the DSM-V. So, while the DSM-V will offer what adds up to a psychological disorder, what's a little more outside the square can perhaps add up to you having certain abilities that are making your life feel like hell on earth at times.


I should add that I'm not entirely a woo woo gal 😁, I have a healthy level of respect for psychology, biology and chemistry and how they can all tie in together. For example, I can respect how certain beliefs, experiences or triggers can interact with the nervous system and create ongoing high levels of cortisol (which can become mentally and physically exhausting over time). Btw, it's said that emapthic development doesn't always come naturally. In some cases it can come as a result of trauma, leading to hypervigilance, something that can require psychological exploration.


I've found, over the years, a slightly more outside the square perspective can occasionally help with self understanding and skill development. There are many skills involved when it comes to managing being a highly sensitive or empathic person. While those in the field of psychology may see all your 'faults', they won't necessarily see certain abilities that require serious mastering. When you can feel or sense just about everything in general, it's an ability that definitely requires mastering.



Thank you. It was really nice to read this perspective. 🙂

Hi Natalie22 (and wave to therising),


I can really relate to how you feel and I also found therising’s response helpful. I recently did an application for the DSP and my psychologist wrote a detailed report for it that has also been read by my GP. The report is based on what I have shared and what my psychologist has learned about me. Although the report is accurate, I felt like a pathetic, hopeless person reading it. I think because I’ve spent so many years masking the struggles I have it was like now that is all exposed and I felt vulnerable. It was like officiating things that are going into a government report when I have spent my life trying to heal and belong through keeping those things hidden. I felt like I had all these things wrong with me when it was written down. 


But what therising says is so true. Within certain psychological challenges there can also be gifts, such as sensitivity, empathy and compassion. There can be creativity in there too. The system works as it does for diagnostic reasons but as a deficit model it leaves out the positive qualities that may be present in a person with the diagnosis.


In my case, in a way, the officiating of certain diagnoses (complex ptsd, anxiety and depression for me) has allowed me to perhaps face them more directly instead of always masking and trying to convince myself and everyone else I’m fine all the time. I’m perhaps more able to address those things more head on now. So you may find too it opens the door to more directly addressing challenges you may have. But as therising is saying, it also can open doors and awareness to parts of yourself that are traits and abilities that are positive qualities to have.