how do i therapist

Discussion in 'Braaaaiiiinnnns...' started by wixbloom, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    So, as I celebrate getting appointments with people who can get my brainwrong righted, I'm also getting worried about doing it right.

    I never took the initiative of starting herapy with a new professional. I got into therapy aged 14 and my family did all the things, I just had to show up... and I think back then I couldn't even decide that my therapist wasn't right for me. Which isn't a bad thing: I kicked and screamed against going A LOT because I had so much to work through it was physically making me ill when I entered the therapists office, and to give up on treatment because of that is something I wanted at the time but it would've been a huge mistake. I concluded therapy at 22 and returned a year and a half later for a couple of months of follow-up of my own decision, but with the same therapist.

    Now I'll be meeting 2 therapists in a week, and I don't know what to do! What should I expect from the first appointment? How do I explain being nonbinary and wanting to transition? Will I be judged if I dress too feminine when discussing these concerns? Do I also discuss general brainwrong (depression, insomnia, possibly ADHD) in the 1st session? AUGH.

    These questions are not rhetorical, by the way. I'd really love whatever advice can be thrown at me.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  2. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    I think a key question is: Do you need to work with this specific therapist no matter what, or do you get to shop around if the first one isn't a good fit?

    If you can say "this isn't working, I need someone else", then I'd say cards-on-the-table is generally the best strategy.

    Also: You can ask the therapist this question, because they may have preferences in what things they talk about or what order to deal with things. I think they often start with "why do you want to see a therapist at all?" and at that point, it makes sense to list things that you want to talk about; just be aware that they may prefer to get a list of things rather than going into detail on them right away because there may not be time for that. A lot of it is just a sort of "get to know you" thing usually.
  3. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    Thanks, @seebs that was very helpful! I was thinking "laundry list of concerns" might be the best idea, and now I'm certain. I can def. shop around - in fact, I scheduled 2 different therapists precisely to see which is the very best fit and to remind myself that I hold the power of choice, mwahaha. And they aren't the only 2 options, by far, but of course I'm still hoping for minimal having-to-deal-with-superfluous-doctors.

    On that note: how do I tell if a therapist and I will get along? I'm worried because there might be the initial discomfort of "Lu is awkward around new doctors" and I might be unable to distinguish uneasiness deriving from that from genuine signs that it's best to seek another professional. On top of that, I'm really not expecting any doctor I go to to understand "nonbinary trans" right away, but how do I measure, like, open-ness to/ okay-ness with the idea?
  4. Aya

    Aya words words words

    Number one piece of advice: look for a therapist who wants to help you figure out how to do the things you want to do. If you have a goal like transition, and your therapist tries to talk you out of it, go elsewhere.

    Other things that I think are important:
    • Can your therapist recite their confidentiality and privacy policies off the top of their head? Do they look upset that you're asking them to do so? If they don't want to talk to you about privacy at all, get out of there.
    • What kinds of people and problems are your therapist most experienced with? You can (and should) ask this directly, but you can also look around the room--what kinds of books are on their shelves? (There are always books.) Are there tons and tons books that have titles related to gender therapy, or relationships, or anger? Are there puzzles and games or other child-related paraphernalia? A therapist who doesn't have a lot of experience with people with your problems may still be a good fit for you, but if there are other things that are making you iffy about it, it's something to consider.
    • Does the therapist have a strong opinion about medications? You want to transition, so a therapist who gets iffy about pills is definitely not for you. The attitude is much less common than it used to be but it's not gone.
    • Like x 2
  5. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    Therapist #1 went well! She wasn't very educated on the topic, but was open about it and took me seriously, didn't at any point even imply that I might just need to accept myself better as a woman, seemed very willing to help me with my main concern, which is dealing with my family and my other health care providers.
  6. Allenna

    Allenna I am not a Dragon. Or a Robot. Really.

    I'd be hesitant at using this as a sign that they aren't the right fit. We used lots of puzzles and games in my social skills group and many an autistic adults appreciates their therapist having stuffed animals to hold or things to stim with.
    • Like x 1
  7. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    I appreciated my previous therapist having a dollhouse and a children's desk with crayons! Even though I never used the dollhouse, it was a pretty place to look at and kinda picture myself walking through as I told her difficult stories. And I definitely sat down on the children's desk several times to make drawings of all my friends, it was my way of introducing people to my therapist who I knew would stick around.

    That said, today's therapist works in a non-profit organization and the rooms are all equally barren with 2 chairs. That bothered me a bit because it felt harsh and hospital-y, but it still might be my best option because the therapist was nice and the price is affordable.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
  8. Aya

    Aya words words words

    I didn't mean it so much like "their office is oriented toward children things" as "their office is oriented toward things that you think might be helpful to you" but I see how it'd be taken that way.
    • Like x 1
  9. Missfortunate

    Missfortunate Emotional one

    @wixbloom im really glad your session wemt well :) the environment would be a bit offputting for me but I wouldnt let that get in the way if the therapist was taking what I felt seriously, thats a great sign they could be the right fit! also as @seebs said its best to lay the cards down if your shopping around, the way they react to things initialy is always a pretty solid indicator of how well they fit you. I dont know about other people but with a good therapiat they usualy help ease the tension pretty quick, the two good ones ive had noticed I was uneasy and our entire firat sessions ended up just learning about one another establishing a friendship of sorts to ease the tension. I wish you the best of luck with your therapy ventures though! :)
    • Like x 1
  10. wixbloom

    wixbloom artcute

    Now that I'm home, a point-by-point thingy seemed appropriate, to compare with the next therapists as I make more appointments and decide more stuff

    Therapist #1

    Pros - Practical Stuff:
    Willing to do weekly appointments
    Reasonable price (240 reais per month)
    Takes credit if I happen to be out of cash
    Schedule fits
    Privacy policies clearly stated

    Cons - Practical Stuff:
    Doesn't accept my health insurance
    Fucking far away from everything (an hour and a half by bus+walking to get there from home OR from work)

    Pros - Emotional Stuff:
    Demonstrated some sense of humor
    Eager to learn
    Didn't act like she knew better than me about me
    Was willing to correct herself when she fucked up
    Actually THANKED ME for being patient to her and said she was very happy to talk to me and she learned a lot
    Took me very seriously
    Never attempted to even suggest that because I had painted nails and a cute side braid in my hair and a girly necklace I wasn't trans

    Cons - Emotional Stuff:
    Kinda too sweet honestly, maybe?
    Doesn't know anything about trans people
    Interrupted me when I was talking (twice)
    Seemed to fundamentally misread the main issue* (THIS IS A BIG PROBLEM I WILL HAVE TO ADDRESS IF I RETURN)

    *This might've been partially my fault. I said if I could keep my body the way it is now, I might only change a couple of things, like taking my boobs and uterus out and deepening my voice, but since I have to hormones, I want to hormones right, which to me seems to be combining estrogen and low-dose testosterone. She seems to not have properly registered that this counts as transitioning and I want to transition.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2015
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