I went for my first shrinkery appointment with a new shrink.
A couple things I consider when I think of choosing a psychologist from past experience.
A) Arrogance and a condescending attitude: First of all, I'm an intelligent person (er before chronic migraines turned me brainless that is), an over educated person with a few degrees under my belt and a know a a bit in that field actually and I don't treat everyone like idiots because they can't quote Kant (I sure can't quote him either) The point is I'm book smart and have that sort of theoretical abstract thinking mind. Just the way I was built. Other people think differently, learn differently, have different knowledge than I do and different experiential knowledge than I have. And a shrink that treats people with that attitude implies we are all idiots because we do not have the very specific knowledge he has, even though some of us actually do and he is the idiot for making assumptions. Some of us book smart people like reading a lot about how the mind works. This attitude though puts my back up and I wouldn't share anything personal with such a person and I would not take his advice either. -- I had a shrink like this when I was a kid. Me and my bro were skipping school all the time and they figured it was for attention due to our parents divorce. And the dude was condescending and my brother and I did not like that one bit. Messed around with him a bit.
B) They need to be intelligent in a... abstract, theoretical or academic way. And I mean obviously they have the training and the schooling and were able to get through it. But the last one I had said I was a very intelligent woman and she could not argue with my reasoning... uh, I get that I go to the rational level first before I go into the personal sometimes but if you cannot provide a rational counter argument that will make me go 'ah yes, good one, I'll have to think about that way of thinking' then you're never going to help me. It is my thinking that gets me into trouble so I need to work through my thinking to get out of that mind set. Makes sense to me. If my shrink can't keep up with that then what use is that? I don't think any shrinks are idiots its just that i need one that gets that same abstract theoretical sort of personality I have to work things out on. Because i do that all the time. It is how I work out how I feel about my pain. For personal stuff I'll be as blunt as can be but I'll still wrap a theory around it. I have to make sense of it somehow.
C) They need to be approachable so I feel comfortable talking about my emotions. Because of B as you can see I can reflect on my emotions, I can think about them, I can ponder them, I can wrap a theory about them, I can introspect about them... but feeling them and talking about feeling them is very difficult because it makes me feel them. With chronic pain lately for me it has been so bad it feels like the emotions are hovering right beneath the surface, so talking seriously about them just brings them close to the surface.And being the emotionally awkward person I am... I`d rather not. So doing so is something I have to be comfortable with or I just won`t and if I won`t then it is doomed to failure right there. Stoic rational me will rule the outward me and that won`t help at all.
And this new lady is very approachable I found. Easy to talk to. She had good questions to start with and a good flow going. I had a good comfort level with her. Her attitude was great, sympathetic enough and encouraging enough. She seems quite intelligent and I think that will work out well on both levels of my personality so I can talk about how I think about thinks as well as how I feel. Age wise we are closer than most psychologists I have seen. Some people may be uncomfortable with that idea but it doesn't bother me; she has the education and the experience and maybe it is her age that makes it easier to talk to her.
I'm all good about talking about my experiences with chronic pain and coping. Obviously. I blog about it. I write articles about it. This is something I live with and think about. I don't mind reflecting on it, thinking about it and talking about it in a very honest and blunt way. I just don't like to do it often because being honest about it brings the emotions to mind and the more I talk about it the more difficult it is. But that is why I want the therapy to begin with. It feels like all the emotional turmoil is too close to the surface and that it is too difficult to cope with pain and work... the more I think about work in the long term the less I think I will be able to survive it. And so I try not to think about the future period. I think having One person I can openly talk to about how diffuclt it is to deal with this constant pain will help. We will see how it goes. It is expensive and my coverage won't get me far at all, but I do feel it is necessary so I gotta give it a go.
Anyway, just remember chronic pain over time is hard on our emotional well-being and we have to take care of that too.
Chronic pain and cognitive therapy: taking care of your emotional health
Fibromyalgia and the coping process