Interviewing therapists

One of my summer projects was to interview new therapists — so that in case of another crisis, another major depressive episode and / or string of panic attacks, I’d have someone. It’s no fun to try to find a therapist in the midst of a crisis.

First, I searched around online and made a list of potential people. A month or so later I eliminated one because his website bothered me, and emailed another, whose schedule is full. A week or so later I emailed two more, both in Chicago.

Both agreed to an interview, and although I forgot to mention it until the next round of emails, both agreed to possible phone sessions. Both also agreed to interview via email.

I sent my questions.

One said that after reviewing my questions, she thought it would be beneficial to interview by phone. I was willing to do that if really necessary, but I told her how I’m a visual person and if we could interview via email I wouldn’t have to take notes and would have time to really process the answers. Then she said that she didn’t think even phone sessions would work for her, and that she thought I’d be better off with someone else.

The other hasn’t responded to my questions at all yet.

I guess I’m not that surprised.

I wish the first one had just explained why she would rather do the phone — I was willing, if need be. If she couldn’t even handle my rather gentle pushing on that issue, I suppose she wouldn’t be a good therapist for me anyway.

She also wanted at least one in-person meeting before doing phone sessions, and I agreed to that, provided the interview went well. Perhaps if she’d insisted on an in-person interview, I’d have been willing — I would have rather strongly preferred to have a good interview first before taking the trip to Chicago, but I would have been open to negotiation on that point. Again — yes, I pushed back, yes, I resisted, but hey — that’s part of what therapy is for (not that I was resisting just to be difficult). If a therapist can’t handle what I think is a reasonable amount of resistance, they’re probably not a good choice for me.

I might ignore the second, or I might email again asking when I could expect a response.

If you saw my list of questions, you might say something like “What did you expect? No one has the time to write out thoughtful answers to all those questions!”

And yet, that’s me. I HAVE all those questions. I’m not in a hurry. I can wait — I can accept one question answered at a time. I can even work with “I can’t answer this one fully, let’s try to rephrase it to something more reasonable for a first interview.” I could have even worked with “Let’s do this by phone — that way I can see which of these questions is really most important to you, and how much of an answer you need for each one right now.”

I can’t work with being ignored or being dismissed with only paltry attempts at communication.

Maybe sending my overwhelming list of questions is as good a way as any to weed out therapists who don’t really have the time or energy to deal with someone like me.

The other thing is that I’m not looking to do regular therapy right now — so I wouldn’t be a source of income for anyone right now. There’s not much motivation for a therapist to take my name in case of a crisis. Again, though, I wish I could find one who would have the guts to tell me so — who could say “I would need to have three or four weekly sessions with you to establish a working relationship first; then I would be willing to be a standby in case of crisis.”

What a bummer that the one I had a working relationship with, the one I could have returned to, is dead.


3 thoughts on “Interviewing therapists

  1. how frustrating…not sure what you are looking for specifically, but we are aware of a mental health agency near where we lived last that is Christian based. It is called New Leaf Resources and has an office in Crown Point, Indiana, which is about 1 1/2 hours form here. Anyway, for what it’s worth their website is

  2. Also, you wouldn’t be a consistent, long-term source of income for them. A friend of ours is a psychologist, and his colleagues told him he need to stop helping people get better or he’d never make any money. You want to get answers and grow. That won’t make many therapists enough money for their tastes. 😉

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