I was having a crisis for a change, so I figured it best if I found a therapist to help sort things out. Since I wasn’t currently under the care of a shrink, I asked my gynecologist to refer someone well respected in the field. I assumed if I could trust him with the physical health of my vagina, he most likely could make a sound recommendation regarding the mental health of my amygdala.
He provided a name and a phone number and I didn’t think twice. I made a consult and though I was told this psychologist didn’t accept insurance I was still willing to go ahead and keep the initial appointment.
When I got to the office I was greeted warmly by the receptionist at the front desk. She handed me a stack of shit to fill out and told me to take a seat. I had little interest in completing the forms but I managed to do the bare minimum. As far as putting an overview of my personal saga on paper? Nah. I left that part blank.
A few minutes later the door opened and there in the waiting room stood my new shrink; at least that’s what he thought. Hello. He said. Come on in.
Not saying a word, I looked up. Giving him more of a smirk and less of a smile, I grabbed my pocketbook and followed him to the couch.
He began our session with a detailed account of his educational background along with a verbal resumé of his accomplishments spanning the last twenty plus years. I guess it made him feel better to tell me how intelligent and/or successful he was. Douchebag Clue #1.
When he got to the part about how seriously he takes his professional obligations, the overkill was Douchebag Clue #2. I hope you know I would never, never, never disclose the work we do together without your consent. If I saw you around town in a social setting I would pretend I didn’t know you. I wouldn’t even make eye-contact with you. It’s possible our circles overlap and I wouldn’t want to catch you off guard. In what community did you say you live? I cut him off by way of an over-exaggerated eyeroll because A.) I’d never seen him before in my entire life and B.) No shit, Sherlock! Uh, HIPAA much? Yeah, I got it. I don’t need the whole song and dance. Obviously I wouldn’t expect you to spew my shit around town. That’d be unethical.
For good measure I think I threw in another eye roll.
Call it intuition but I already couldn’t stand him. His arrogance was Douchebag Clue #3.
I took a deep breath and said, Listen; I kinda want to cut to the chase. I totally respect your time and I don’t want to waste it. Here’s the bottom line… I know you don’t take insurance but I kept the appointment anyway. I can’t pay your fee on a continual basis but I got your name from my [vagina] doctor because I really need some counseling and I figured, well, maybe I could sorta give you the two minute elevator pitch on my issues and you could refer me to a suitable colleague who takes my plan?
I could tell he wanted to chime in, but I didn’t let him. I continued, My story can’t be one you haven’t heard before. I doubt it’s very complicated; I’m a little lost. Okay, maybe a lot lost. I want help sorting out my life. I’m smart enough to know I need some direction but not smart enough to do it on my own, which is exactly why I’m here! I’m a wife. I’m a mother. Essentially, my kids are my career. Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah…….This can’t be new to you. It’s not like I”m reinventing the “spiel” or anything!
I knew I had an edge but I couldn’t help it. The second he opened his mouth, the scale on the douche-o-meter began to rise:
First, I’d like to point out in this profession, if a doctor takes medical insurance he or she is not worth seeing. I’m an expert in the field, have the qualifications and experience to support the fees I charge and I haven’t considered accepting insurance since the day I opened my practice.
How enterprising. But that’s a pretty presumptuous statement don’t ya think? I snapped.
What? He replied as he hiked up his unibrow.
You don’t think it’s insanely presumptuous to suggest a doctor sucks if he or she accepts insurance for mental health? I find it hard to believe you don’t know a single professional who does good work and also takes insurance. Give me a break.
He passively dismissed my remarks and began to ask a series of what appeared to be relatively basic questions. I answered as best I could.
You’re very aggressive. I can tell you’re suffering. I think I can help you. I want to treat you but I need to know more. Tell me about your relationships with others. Remember, this is a safe space.
Ugh, here we go again with the confidentiality crap. The more he said how safe his space was, the more I was convinced he was dying to live tweet our session!
I couldn’t have been more direct: Right, but I wanna be clear. I’m not gonna be able to pay out of pocket. Of course I’m prepared to pay you for today but I’m not beating around the bush. If you can refer me to someone it would be great. If you can’t, well, I guess I’ll make other arrangements to find someone who can.
Then the doctor who held a Master’s degree in Douche-ology said: I notice you wear quite expensive shoes. What’s more important, your fashion or your frame of mind?
I was stupefied and clueless how to answer without announcing that the D in PhD stood for Douchelord. I searched the room for a clock to tell the time. I didn’t care if this guy was Sigmund fucking Freud; I couldn’t wait to get the hell out of his office.
Up to that point, I had held my own with the weird vibes but I knew I was knee-deep in awkward tension when he said, I’ve had many patients; but none like you. You intrigue me.
I intrigue you? I blurted out.
I have a fairly high tolerance for inappropriateness; I might even say at times I welcome it, but in this case I thought the use of intrigue was a poor choice of words. There was definitely a shady undertone in the cadence of his voice when he said I intrigued him. It was very bizarre. It felt sexual. It seemed as if this guy was mentally manipulating me with his load of psychobabble bullshit and hoping I’d be susceptible enough to take the bait.
Yes. You do. You intrigue me and I want to learn more. We can work it out. I want you to begin seeing me on a regular basis. I don’t normally tell patients my initial thoughts right away but I suspect you have a lot of unresolved issues and most likely there’s some deep-rooted trauma from your childhood that’s never been addressed. We really must explore this further. Can you come twice a week? Don’t worry about the money. We can work it out.
I thought to myself, What is going on here? Is this an attempt to prey on my vulnerabilities? Lemme get this straight. I’ve been in the office for all of thirty-eight minutes; of which half the time was spent by Dr. Douche rattling off his professional pedigree in order to justify why he’s above taking health insurance and now he’s got the creepy kahunas to diagnosis me with childhood trauma and wants to see me twice a week and he’s intrigued enough to now let the money he emphatically believes he’s worth fall by the wayside? Remind me again, how exactly are we gonna work it out? Do I have to blow him? Do I have to bang him twice a week, or just the once per? I felt like I was role playing an old episode of HBO’s In Treatment except with a reverse plot twist.
With all due respect Doctor [Douchebag], unlike yourself, I don’t have various degrees in Psychology nor do I consider myself an expert in the field but I do have a gut instinct. While I’m fully aware I’m the one who initiated the idea of fast-tracking you through the main bullet points of my neurosis, I find it a little too ambitious of you to infer I have such deep-rooted issues requiring extensive therapy after only knowing me for less than an hour. This might be a highly successful approach with other patients but it won’t work for me. Thank you very much; I think we’re done here! My expensive shoes and I will walk ourselves out.
JUST TO LET YOU KNOW… Nobody loves a stimulating game of mental chess more than I do but this was one match I chose to forfeit right away. Though I came with the good intention of taking steps to clean up my act, I didn’t need a douche like him to squirt his solutions into my brain [or vagina] for that matter!