Tag Archives: therapy

And They Say I’m Crazy.

I have been in therapy on and off for 25 years. My poor self-image, lack of confidence with girls, and insecurity led me to finally call a therapist at age 20. I didn’t know where to begin so I figured browsing through the Yellow Pages would be my best bet.

Big mistake.

I picked the closest therapist and made an appointment. She told me she worked out of her house. When I arrived, I was greeted by a heavy set middle-aged woman. She introduced herself and led me down to her basement office. She knew I was nervous and told me to sit on the floor and relax.

She brought out some huge fluffy pillows and encouraged me to get comfortable. Sitting on the floor and lying on oversized pillows seemed unusual to me, but what do I know. I told her my story and she made some helpful suggestions. She pointed out that my parents had mistreated me and I was clearly a victim.

Later, I found out that the patient is always told they’re the victim. It’s only your fault if somebody else is paying. (You learn that the first day of therapy school.)

Then the fun started. She asked me to pick up the fluffy pillow and hit her with it. She would then hit me back she explained. We then whacked each other for a good 5 minutes. I was just starting to enjoy it when she ordered me to stop. She then suggested that we hug for the last 5 minutes of the session. She said she was trying to show me that there was time for anger and time for kindness and I needed to learn the difference.

I awkwardly grabbed her and hugged away. I remember thinking how ironic this was. Here I am paying big money hugging this 60 year-old therapist and the real reason I’m here was that I couldn’t get a 20 year old girl to hug me. When she let go she asked me to make another appointment. I politely told her that she was not quite right for me. But when I bent down to tie my shoe as I was about to leave, she took the opportunity to smack me in the ass with that pillow. And they say I’m crazy…

My search for the right fit continued. This time I got a personal referral from my cousin. He raved about this psychiatrist. He said he was compassionate and smart as a whip. I gave his office a call. Feeling safe, I set up our first meeting.

My psychiatrist was a tall, distinguished man about 55. His office was very professional. Leather chairs, a mahogany desk, and hundreds of impressive psychology books in plain sight. This was the real thing I thought. My words poured out effortlessly. He encouraged me to bare my soul.

He seemed genuinely interested and concerned about my problems. But then the incessant twitching started. This man had every tick in the book. He shrugged his shoulders, he wiggled his nose, he scratched his ear, and his right foot never stopped tapping.

As you might imagine, this was a bit distracting. Here I am looking for answers to my problems and this guy is looking at the wax he just pulled out of his ears. He made a Turrets sufferer look like they were in a coma. Then it hit me. Maybe this was a test. Maybe he was conducting some kind of experiment. Maybe he wanted to see how I would cope with an uncomfortable situation. That has to be it I thought. No one could take this guy seriously if he really had that many nervous and annoying habits.

So, I decided to play along. Instead of getting turned off by his actions, I would show him my adaptability and patience by mimicking him. The next few minutes were reminiscent of a good Three Stooges episode.

He wiggled his ears and so did I. He smelled his fingers and so did I. He kept sticking out his tongue and so did I. As the session ended I thanked him and was determined to see him again. He informed me that this was our first and last meeting. Further more he chastised me for mocking his afflictions. I tried to explain but to no avail. I could not convince this insecure doctor that I was not mimicking him in a cruel way. As I left he charged me $200. Trying to stay in the spirit of our session I charged him $200 right back. You should have seen him twitch then. And they say I’m crazy…

After years of trial and error, I finally found the right psychiatrist in Dr. Harvey. He was my age and we had a lot in common. We shared the same culture and grew up in the same city. He helped me work through a lot of confusing feelings. I realized that by understanding my past behavior I could react differently when the situation came up again. This was a real breakthrough.

I looked forward to our sessions with one exception. I was always afraid of seeing someone I knew in his office. Then it happened. As I walked out into the lobby, there he was — Teddy Cohen. Teddy was a high school buddy of mine. I hadn’t seen him in 20 years. After the initial panic past I tried to be rational. After all Teddy was here to.. A sense of relief came over me. “It’s been 20 years how you doing?” Teddy said. “How do you think I’m doing Teddy? I’m coming out of a psychiatrist office,” I said with confidence.

“Steve, I’m Dr. Harvey’s CPA,” Teddy exclaimed. “I’m here to do his taxes.”

I learned a valuable lesson that day.

From then on, every time I visited Dr. Harvey’s office I protected myself by going dressed as a mailman. That way if somebody recognized me I could tell them the letter I was delivering was certifiable, not me. And they say I’m crazy…

How to Save Money on Therapy with a Psychologist or Psychiatrist

“The whole world’s in therapy!” my wife said the other evening as we were getting ready for bed. To be fair, she’d been reading a magazine about the number of celebrities who see a psychologist or psychiatrist on a regular basis, but she had a point. It sometimes seems as though therapy is the “trendy” way to handle one’s problems these days, but it can also be a healthy method of coping with trauma. If you’ve decided to seek therapy with a psychologist or psychiatrist, however, you might be looking for ways to save money on that exorbitant bill.

It’s supply and demand. Since a growing number of people are seeking therapy with psychologists and psychiatrists, these professionals know that they can charge more money and still keep their patients. The upshot is that this means a serious problem for those whose insurance coverage doesn’t pay for the entire cost of therapy, and it might seem almost impossible to save money.

1- Decrease Intervals

Although it is standard, you might not need therapy with your psychologist or psychiatrist once a week, or even once every two weeks. In fact, you might need therapy only on an as-needed basis, such as when feelings of depression begin to escalate, or during certain seasons of the year. You can save money on therapy by decreasing the intervals at which you attend sessions. For example, you might want to move down to once-a-month visits.

Of course, you don’t want to save money on therapy at the expense of your mental health. Some patients need weekly or twice-a-week visits in order to keep their mental stability in check, so you should discuss decreasing the intervals with your psychologist or psychiatrist. Weigh the benefits against the risks, then make your decision.

2- Negotiate the Price

In most cases, a psychologist or psychiatrist is operating as a one-man show, or in a private practice with two or three other professionals. In this case, he or she is free to set whatever rates seem appropriate, which means those per-session fees are totally negotiable. For example, if your therapist decides to raise the rates, you can save money on your therapy by negotiating a lower price. You could say, “I can’t pay this new amount, but how about we split the difference?”

To keep your business, a psychologist or psychiatrist may be willing to lower fees even without an across-the-board increase. If you have specific circumstances that require you to cut down on expenses, but you really need therapy on a regular basis, ask about a break on your bill. It doesn’t hurt to inquire, and you can always go with someone else.

3- Take Off-Hours

There are always times during the day that a psychologist or psychiatrist simply can’t get patients in their offices. Mid-mornings, for example, are notoriously difficult to fill because patients are at work or taking classes or otherwise occupied. If you are willing to take one of these off-hours slots, you might be able to save money on therapy.