On the therapy journey
Dearest mocha delight
No you didn't mention you were nervous or anxious lol but there were a few hints in there that that's how you're feeling.
Are you expecting "a diagnosis"?
If you are then what of?
Do you WANT a diagnosis?
Yah lots of questions... only answer if you want to.
I've had my "first" psychologists appt a few times now.
I was always super keen to just get in there and spill my guts out lol. (I learnt on the weekend from my psych friend that people with anxiety are the MOST likely to make psych appts... and when they get in there, they talk and talk... interesting. Not at ALL like me lol.)
MAYBE the psych you see will email a questionnaire to you BEFORE your first appt. Maybe not.
My last one did and it was HUGE... mostly about my background of trauma. But she was a specialist trauma psych.
Usually the first appt is mainly background stuff.
You CAN direct the therapy with exactly what you want out of it. It's good to think about but don't worry if it's not clear for you atm. No biggie.
I did lol.
After the first appt she emailed the Kessler assessment which I understand can scale a person on Depression, Anxiety and PTSD.. somewhat.
I filled THAT in online.
Other psychs HAVE asked me what I wanted out of the sessions... I remember asking the following for each psych:
* why my personal life seemed like a mess and my professional life was gleaming?
* what my "sweats" and racing heart beat was from? (missed opportunity for psych to diagnose trauma and PTSD there)
* CLARITY (for a bad marriage - psych pretty much failed there. I got clarity myself later)
* LAST ONE was I wanted to emotionally detach from the traumatic events and be able to "file" them in my mind without them being intruding into my mind whenever "they felt like it" (enormous success with exposure therapy and CBT).
I've left psychological help for now. I'm looking at hypnotherapy at a Clinic in a major city next if I feel the need... pretty good for the moment and for the last while on the PTSD front.
I retained my Counsellor throughout the last psych sessions. I'm glad I have. She is highly trained in DV and FV and recovery for parents and their children. The last psych had zero idea about DV / FV so it's another reason I finished up with her.
BEST WISHES on the psych sessions! I am REALLY excited for you!
Hi Mocha Delight,
Great news that you are starting your therapy journey and its normal to be a bit nervous. Going to meet someone for the first time who you are hoping to share some of your closest stories with is a big thing. Sometimes getting to know each other can take a few sessions and this is common. As ecomama has mentioned, sometimes it is good to go in with a list of your own goals. For example, it could be to gain diagnostic clarity, or learn skills to manage symptoms, or improve certain symptoms ie. reduce my worry around ___, become more confident at ___, or feel less stressed when I attend ___,... etc. etc... Sometimes writing these things down can help as when many people attend appointments particularly with new health practitioners, it is normal to forgot things (this happens to me all the time). Another thing that can help is to keep a daily symptom diary leading up to the first appointment. ie. Each day, write down your mood, what worries you had, what were the triggers etc. This can sometimes help when you see your psychologist and they can see how you have been day to day in one snap shot.
These are just some tips but I think do what ever makes you feel the most comfortable.
Wishing you the best possible outcome,
I wouldn't worry about the psychs MH. They are trained to handle very difficult issues!!!
One thing I have found helpful. After a couple of sessions with the background info etc we seemed to be going in a tangent not dealing with what I wanted. I was tempted to give up but instead spend time writing exactly what had happened to me & the impact on my life. I then wrote what I needed changing to cope. I took this document in & handed it to him at the start of the session. He sat & read it & then copied it onto his computer file so it couldn't be lost. He then spoke to me directly to address the issues I'd pointed out. This really helped because it gave me time to think about what had happened & what the real issues I needed addressing. This gave him the who picture rather than missing things during the session. It also forced me to think about what I really needed help with rather than what he thought I needed. I'm glad I did this as it has made the sessions far more effective.
Hi mocha delight, well done you for taking the first step to seeing someone. That takes courage. Really. So if you're feeling anxious and nervous, that is only natural. For therapy to be helpful, I believe it is the relationship between the therapist (psychiatrist, psychologist, psychotherapist, counsellor - doesn't really matter as long as they are well qualified) - and the client/patient - you. So in a first session it can be helpful to be checking out the therapist as much as all the formal stuff. Does it FEEL right?
It can take a number of sessions to work out if this person is right for you - so be patient with yourself and give it time.
One thing I have always found useful is to ask myself "what am I hoping for out of this session?" You might not know exactly what it is, but if you DON'T get it, you will know that you didn't get it when you walk out the door. So it's good to think about it from the start. I hope this makes sense and I wish you so well.
Hi mocha delight
Sorry I missed your reply....
Yes a psychologist can diagnose depression / anxiety and other stuff.
You don't need a psychiatrist for this. (if you need meds and a combination of some then a psychiatrist might help to watch things with meds etc).
Usually a psychologist uses the Kessler scale. Some don't use any scale IDK why or why not.
Your GP may have done the initial short questionnaire with you to scale your feelings.
Do you FEEL depressed?
Can you explain more the issues with your mum?