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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5250
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Customer Question

Kate, what I was going to say last night, but didn't say it well (which is why I deleted it) was that my appointment with Linda was awkward last evening, and I wish I hadn't given her the letter. I'm not going to see her again until next Thursday.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.
What happened?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I can't explain it right now, and I'm sure she reacted how she is supposed to, but I felt pretty dismissed. I feel really upset.

 

On the good front:

 

I spoke to both my mom and dad separately yesterday -- they are both still super-supportive about the sleep stuff, and I told them I had made a definite decision t go back to the other firm. I htought my dad, at first, reacted negatively, and I asked if her was disappointed, and he said no - I need to do wha I think is best for me. And he also said that the fact tat LP is willing to have me come back, pretty much on the same terms, and seems excited about it, is an indication that I did everything right when I left (into which I put an extreme amount of thought before I did leave, because I love LP and I wanted as little hurt and consequence to him as possible, and I gave up monetary gain to help him). When I spoke to my mom, she asked me some questions about how I will handle the issues that made me leave. Then she said it sounded like I had thought it through and she thought it was a good thing and she said she was 100% behind it. Then she asked what my dad said - or how I took what he said. I told her I thought he was a bit negative at first, but that could be because that is what I was expecting, but he seemed fine with it. She said they had spoken about it last week, and to her surprise, my dad said he thought it was a good thing, and after I had explained my reasoning, he thinks I should do it. So that was really good, I thought.

 

And you know how my dad agreed to sell me his car for whatever I could get for my car? Well I haven't sold it yet. Jamie really really wanted it, but her credit sucks and her husband isn't working right now (his choice). My dad's bank couldn't even finance it for her. Her car seriously is unsafe, and she has a 3 year old. Anyway, my dad called last night and said he and my mom were talking, and if I sell it and give them the money, they ar not going to earn much interest on it and they don't care. He said they appreciate all Jamie has done to help me and really like her, and if I want to sell it to her, I can finance it with no interest at whatever payments she can do, and just send them the payments. So, bascally, my parents are loaning Jamie $15,000 interest-free, and letting her choose the payment terms. I was so excited, and she is psyched. She so needs a reliable car, and this one is perfect. I thought that was pretty cool of my parents to do for her.

 

I'll try to explain the thing with Linda later. Nothing really "happened." I just feel really ad about it and kind of rejected.

 

S

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

It sounds like things went well with your parents. It is good that they are supportive of your choice to go back with LP. And they are willing to help with the car situation, which is very nice of them.

 

I am sorry to hear though that things did not go well with Linda. Whenever you feel up to talking about it, I'm here.

 

Kate

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Are you there? Do you want me to wait and write out everything or tell you in pieces, so we can kind of chat about it?
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.
I'm on for the next 30 minutes or so. Either way you want to do it is fine with me.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Okay. Well, I'm not even really sure what to say. As I said, nothing "happened," really. I gave her the letter and she seemed glad I wrote her another one, and she read it while I was sitting there. She immediately started talking about the part where I said I thought of her as a mother and expected her to act as I thought a good, caring mother would. She focused on the physical touch issues, and brought it up several more times. THAT was not the most important point - even of that part of the letter. She said she was trained in the more medical/clinical side, where there was no touching clients, but that things have changed now and they are Christians and shouldn't be that way, but she is able to be touchy-feeling with her daughters and mother, and some with her mother-in-law, but otherwise isn't, and that there have been a few times that I have been struggling and she has thought about coming and sitting with me or patting my back, but she doesn't - she just stays in her chair. She said with my upbringing, I need physical touch - that that is all there is to it, I need to have that. She was all over the place. I tried to explain that I understand even if there was a policy against it, and such a policy is probably a good idea, especially in this day and age, but that what I was trying to say in the letter was how I see her, not demanding she show physical affection or sympathy. Then she said "You could get that, probably, with another therapist."

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

How did you feel about what she said? You mentioned that you felt she didn't address the important parts of your letter to her. What did you feel about her missing your point?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

She was jumping all over the place, telling me what she thought about our discussion and my letter last Friday, and that she just didn't know - that I looked different than when I cry hard, but kind of the same, and she decided that no matter what, if she had any doubt, she would check in with me and see where I was. She said she knows it is hard for me to talk at all when I am so upset, but I will need to respond to her or we need to agree on some sort of signal.

She said she wants to be my therapist, and this changes nothing (although, as I said in my last post, she commented that another therapist may give me what I need). She said she enjoys being a maternal figure, and that comes naturally to her and a lot of people and clients consider her a maternal figure, and she likes that.

She talked about the shame issue a little, but I don't remember what she said.

I asked her where we were going to go from here, since we weren't doing EMDR, and she said, basically, she doesn't know, we'll see. I don't remember how it came up, but I told her "I bet you didn't think this was going to take this long to work through, did you?" And she said that when she first got the intake form, she knew it was a more complicated and difficult case, and that's why the director gave it to her. I told her that my intake lasted only 5-10 minutes, so they could not have had that much information. Her comments made me mad, because she ascted at the outset that it wouldn't take that long - maybe 14 sessions. And why is my situation more complicated and difficult? And it seems like she doesn't really know where to go from here or what we should do.

 

I'll reply to your post in a sec...

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

What did I feel? I felt like she thought I was requesting physical affection from her, which I was not. It would be nice, but I know there are policies. I was saying, in that part of my letter, that I see her as a mother - a good, caring mother, and sometimes I expect her to act like my mother, because of how I see her, and I want her to take care of me and keep me safe. She didn't mention those things - only the physical touch issue. And about the physical touch issue, she basically said there was no policy against it, but she didn't really feel comfortable with it. She was saying: "You need this. It is a definite need for you because of your lack of physical affection as a child. But I'm not giving it to you. I only give it to select people, and you are not one of them. I've thought about it before but didn't do anything about it. You could get this thing you need from another therapist." I felt like she was very directly saying that I have a definite need that should be fulfilled, but I refuse to give it to you. It wasn't like she was saying that I have a need there and it can't be fulfilled in therapy - I need to seek other ways to fulfill the need (like with P or something) or that we can work on fulfilling the need myself. I felt like she was saying she could if she wanted to, but she doesn't want to.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

And she was very nonchalant about scheduling another appointment. She basically had no times this week, and she apparently gave away our standing appointment on Mondays at 5:00. So we set one for Thursday, which is the longest time between therapy appointments we've had, except if one of us is out of town. I feel like she is not as interested and doesn't much care what we do now, since the EMDR didn't work. She seems frustrated (not like "mad" frustrated - just like "I give up" frustrated) that the shame and self blame aren't gone, and I think she just isn't motivated to help me because I'm not improving enough. I said something about that, and she said no, look what all is happening - the sleep study and treatment, Dr. M ... but the things she mentioned were all things apart from my therapy with her.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She offered to let me see the intake report she got, but I had no reason to want to see it. But now I am curious - about all of it. Is it rude to ask to look at my file and Linda's notes? I know that legally, I am entitled to look at it and get a copy if I wish. I also understand that Linda has some ethical duties in that -- like if she feels she needs to be there when I look at it so she can explain, or if she thinks looking at it would harm me. But would it be inappropriate for me to ask?
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

It sounds like Linda was saying a lot but maybe telling you very little. You have some good questions about therapy that need addressed.


If you do feel upset again in therapy like you did with the EMDR, then it may be a good idea for Linda to default to assuming you need attention and allow you to tell her if you do not. She does not have to come at you full throttle. Maybe just check in or sit closer to you and focus on you so you can communicate with her easier.


I'm not clear why Linda feels she cannot give you what you need and another therapist can. Maybe you could have her clarify that some.


The maternal feelings you have towards her is a transference of your needs. I'm not clear why she feels it is an asset rather than an issue, but it may just be her way of looking at it.


Any type of trauma is usually going to take time to work through, although I would hesitate to make a judgment about how long therapy might take on the outset. Everyone responds differently to therapy. Some may only need to talk a little, other people deal with one issue and find another that needs attention as they work through the first one. Assigning a number of sessions to therapy is something that is sometimes done for insurance or because of the type of therapy, but people cannot be predicted like that. It really needs to be open ended.


It would help if you did have a direction in therapy. Maybe Linda will need to work that out first before she can address that with you.


I can see why you felt hurt by what Linda said about physical touch and getting your needs met in therapy. Maybe I can help with that a little.


There are ethics in the mental health field that must be followed or you can lose your license, just like in your field. Touching is considered one of those things. It is advisable that you do not touch any person you are working with. Some therapists waver on this because of the nature of what we deal with. It is very hard for most of us to see a person cry and not feel drawn to comfort that person. But because of the possibility of being sued or the touch being misinterpreted, most therapists stay away from touching and choose to comfort verbally.


If she feels that you have a need for physical affection (more than you normally would) then helping you find that in your life is part of her job. She is not supposed to supply it but instead help you find ways to get your needs met. But because you see her as a maternal figure, this is a difficult thing. It is her job to help you sort that out.


Your feelings about this make a lot of sense. From what you said, Linda could be clearer with you which would help. I am sorry that she wasn't able to address these issues like you needed them addressed. I know that hurts and is not easy to cope with. It may take working out how you can be more specific before she understands what you need. I can help with that if you want.


Kate

I just got your other post. It is fine that you ask to see your files, but Linda can hold back her notes. You can see the rest and like you said, it is your right. It helps to have someone sit with you though to interpret what you are reading.

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5250
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I understand all about the touch thing. I Am fine with that. But it hurt my feelings for her to go on about how she is allowed and should but won't. It's not the issue of physical contact - it's the issue of what she said.

I feel like her whole attitude has changed. I don't feel like she is too interested on helping me anymore, and I'm thinking that's fine. It makes me not want to do anything more.

I certainly don't want to talk to her about this stuff. I will be opening myself up to have my feelings hurt again.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
and why is Linda allowed to hold back her notes? Other than th eintake report and things I've written, I imagine the notes are all that is in the file.
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Yes, I can see how it would hurt your feelings when Linda was talking about how she was allowed but would not touch you. It is confusing and somewhat inaccurate. And it would hurt to realize that this was a choice rather than something she could not do because of rules.

 

Do you think you might be willing to check your feelings out with Linda before you consider leaving therapy? She needs to know that you feel this way.

 

Linda is allowed to hold back her notes because they are her interpretation of what is going on in therapy rather than actual facts and information. Since they are her thoughts, she can keep them to herself.

 

Kate

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Why wouldn't she want me to see her notes?

 

I'm not saying I have decided to leave therapy. I haven't decided anything. I'm just upset, and I don't think that's a decision I should make when I am upset.

 

I feel even more embarassed for sharing with her my needs, because I feel she ignored some and trampled on the others. I don't feel like sharing any more of my feelings with her right now, because I don't feel like she understands me. I thought it would be better with me writing it out, and I thought I was clear, but apparently not. I DON'T NEED FOR HER TO TOUCH ME. That is NOT what I was saying. I understand from you that I can perhaps fill those needs with P and other older friends for now, but by working on being able to fulfill my own needs, I will need them less and less in that capacity. I was just trying to tell her what I thought towards her, and the response she gave me not only missed my point, but was hurtful. Her saying yes -- I like you seeing me as a mother figure, then saying that she was going to choose to withhold the smae things my own mother did -- was hurtful and unnecessary. I know she didn't mean to hurt me, and she was trying to respond to a letter she was just then reading, but I feel she should have been more careful, on the one hand. On the other hand, i think when you don't have time to formulate planned answers, you normally speak the truth, so even though it wasn't really what I was saying in my letter, I think her response is telling.

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Linda may put her thoughts into her notes and it may include doubts she has about herself or her thoughts about other things. It may include references to things you would need an explanation on.

 

I understand you feel hurt by her response to you. And that you feel the need to protect yourself. Therapy is a process that opens you up to feeling vulnerable and getting hurt will shut you down. That is why I suggested you talk with her about it. Yes, it may open you up to more hurt, but it will also provide an answer to you about whether or not you want to continue with Linda as your therapist.

 

It is easy to slip into a protective mode when in pain. You want to block off any chance of getting hurt again. But this was Linda's issue and was not about you. It is part of her job to take care of you in therapy. Even if she is caught off guard by your letter, she can always say she wants to take time to look at it and think it through or take one statement at a time and talk it through. She could also suggest you email her so she has time to process it. Either way, she needs to address this with you in a way that works for both of you. Just hurting you outright is damaging to your relationship.

 

I know you feel really hurt now. She missed what you were saying and instead sent a bunch of messages that mimicked what your mother did to you, the exact thing you do not need right now. It hurts to think that she feels that way about you. I don't think she does because sometimes people say things they don't mean when caught off guard, but the fact that she did say them does hurt. You may need to take some time to work this through and allow yourself to feel hurt by it. You are having a natural reaction to a painful situation. This does not mean you are unloved, or not cared about. It just means that Linda made some poor choices.

 

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5250
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Well, the fact that I am hurt, in addition to the fact that she seems to now have no plan for where we are going from here, and no urgency to get there, make me not have confidence and trust in her, to some extent. I feel like she was more concerned about whether she did something wrong in the EMDR than helping me get back on track. If she thought my case was complicated, why was I her EMDR guinea pig anyway? I did agree to it, knowing she was new at it, and I didn't want her to send me to someone else for it. But I feel like she was a little too eager to do it. And I don't think this is supposed to be about whether or not she messed something up or feels bad about it - I told her it was all okay, and that it wasn't her fault - I thought it was supposed to be about helping me work these things through, even if I have setbacks, and even if it can't be done by the most new-fangled methods.

I am not inclined to opening myself up to her again any time soon. As I said, I feel like she is not understanding me. And it is not just the past few weeks. It's popped up as an issue here and there, where she misunderstands what I am trying to tell her (which isn't her fault, sometimes I can't communicate things well, especially when I am upset) - but instead of asking me, she either guesses over and over, or assumes and will go off on a whole thing about it, when I'm trying to tell her that's not what I was trying to say. It has been fine in the past. The worst it did was waste a little time. But it was different this week.

I don't want to open up to her, but I also don't want to go once or twice a week and chat until I feel more comfortable or she figures out what we should do next. I am paying a ton of money for this therapy. My copay is $50, so I have been paying $100/week for 9 months, just to see her.

I will think things through. It's actually a good thing there is more than a week until my next scheduled appointment. I have some time to think about it and to think about whether I even want to go.

Right now I feel like giving up. The new meds are helping with the nightmares, and the bipap should help with sleep, too. I feel totally discouraged, and I feel like even Linda, who I have been counting on as being on my side, doesn't really care as much, because her idea didn't work, and I am going backwards. I can't handle the possibility that going into her office is going to create more hurt and issues for me than I had before going in. It's the one place I felt safe to be myself, and now I don't trust it, and feel like I will have to be on guard. You said that therapy is the safe place to share your feelings - whatever they may be. I shared my feelings - feelings I wasn't proud of, and I felt like I was wrong for having them and that I am pathetic with need. I can't deal with that there.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
But you know what? It doesn't even matter.
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Shay,

 

This does matter, very much so. You were deeply hurt right when you felt the most vulnerable.

 

It sounds like you feel therapy has become more about Linda than about you. You mentioned that you felt like her guinea pig with the EMDR and that you feel that she was more concerned with doing something wrong than about how you felt. If this is how you feel, it is very important to pay attention to it.

 

Therapy can go wrong. It does happen. Just as a doctor can turn out to do more harm than good, a therapist can do the same. If you feel you are not the focus of the therapy or that there are boundaries being crossed, it is important to look at why you feel that way.

 

The EMDR should have been used to help you progress, not as a way to help Linda learn how to do it or to see what happens. You went through a horrific trauma and that is the priority of therapy, to help you heal from what happened. It is not a place for someone to try out new methods just for experience. If you felt that is what Linda did, then that is an issue. You trust her to take care of you and guide you through the experience of therapy. If that trust is undermined by Linda putting her own needs first, then that interferes with your ability to get better.

 

And if you feel that you are not being heard, no matter how hard it is for you to communicate your needs, then that is also a sign that therapy has gone wrong. You should always feel you are heard. Linda may not always understand, but a therapist's job is to clarify and help you understand why you feel as you do. It is you as the focus.

 

Also, therapy has goals. Often, the goals are set by what the person wants to achieve. You don't necessarily always focus on the goals, but the idea is behind the therapy and guides it. You can go in one week and need to talk about your relationship with your mother, and go in next week and need to talk about a flashback. But the goal remains to focus on you developing ways to cope and get your needs met in healthy ways. If you feel that is not happening for you with Linda, then re evaluating therapy is a good idea.

 

I agree with you. Taking time to think this through is very smart. But at the same time, talking about your feelings and pain from your experience is important. This is no light matter. You trusted Linda and felt safe with her. When you opened yourself up, you felt you were not taken care of. That can set you back and make you not want to trust, a detriment to your recovery. It is hard not to close up and say forget it. Protecting yourself will be your first instinct. And you may need to do that for a while. But facing this situation and expressing your feelings is important. I hope you feel you can do that safety with me. I want to be here for you, Shay.

 

Good night. I will be thinking of you.

 

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5250
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I feel like this is another indication that it Is wrong to rely on other people to take care of me or help me meet my needs. I knew that, but went against my better judgment and became dependent on someone - perhaps overly so - and now some small things have totally tripped me up. Now I'm stuck in the middle of this process with nowhere to go or atleast no idea how to get there. This is seriously seeming not worth it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
On a separate matter, things went fine with c tonight. He wants all 3 of us women to song since it's Easter and we were all there for once. He asked me to sing the solo and I politely asked if either someone else could do it or if all the women could sing it. He said "you really don't want to do it?" and is hook my head. He stared at me for minute, then asked Donna to do it (and she did beautifully). After practice, he asked i I had a second and just asked if everything was okay, because it seems like I don't want to do anything anymore (as far as solos and special stuff, and even pt sometimes. I told him I didn't want to do any of those things right now, but I was okay or would be. I just said I need to not have anything else - even a solo I have done before - on my plate and I needed to start clearing off my plate for a while. He seemed receptive, and I will talk to him about taking a several month break after Easter. He commente that I wasn't even singing like I usually did, and I wanted to tell him it was because I was sick of people saying I drown out the rest of the pt. but I don't what him to think those comments are why I am taking a break. Because he'll say "I'm the director and I want you to sing like you do,". So I laid the groundwork and he shoul be just fine with my taking a break now. That will be a relief.
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Good morning Shay,

 

I'm glad things went well with C. You need a break and his understanding makes a big difference.

 

It is very tempting to give up and see this as a sign that you can't trust anyone. But that is globalizing your experience. Yes, it hurts. And it was not right. But it does happen. Unfortunately, it is worse when it happens in therapy. It can affect your ability to trust another therapist should you decide to continue with your recovery. But it can also be an issue that you bring up with someone new, a sort of testing period to see if a new therapist could help you.

 

The key is to see this as a problem with Linda and not with you. She is not just doing this to you but to other people as well. She can't just change personality just with you. Her skills, insight and abilities are part of her. So other patients are dealing with the same thing. Their circumstances might be different, as might their reactions be, but Linda is the same therapist to them as she is with you. That means this is about her and not you. It may take a while to see it that way but as long as you keep it in the back of your mind, it can help.

 

Also, this may have shaken your trust, but you do have people in your life that have not let you down. P is there and cares about you. She has proven trustworthy and would stick by you. I am here for you as well. You have people who you trust at work. It may not be at the same level as therapy, but it is still trust. Which means you still have the capacity to trust. You may not feel you trust Linda anymore, but you can trust others.

 

I still want to encourage you to talk to Linda about this again, even if it is just a matter of closure for you. You need to be able to let her know how you feel so you can walk away feeling you said what you needed to say. Or you can talk with her with the intent of working this out. Either way, addressing this one more time may bring you some closure with the situation.

 

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5250
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Kate:

I haven't lost all trust in people. I haven't even lost all trust in Linda. But there are different levels of trust, and there is a difference between trust and feeling safe and dependence. People make mistakes. I totally understand that. I make mistakes in what I do, too. I'm not an unforgiving person. I do not think Linda meant to hurt me, and I do believe she is trying to help me. But I feel like she has actually hurt me the past 2 weeks. Maybe that's unfair. Maybe just the process hurt me. But what I was saying is that I shouldn't have been dependent on her to keep me safe or to take care of or protect me. Just like I shouldn't expect anyone to do that.

I don't think Linda did anything purposely. And Ido think she thought the EMDR would help. But I think ah should have been more careful or more alert. She mentioned something Mobday about the whole "safe ace" thing in EMDR. I had totally forgotten about that. She had gone through that with me months ago when she was first thinking about soon the EMDR, and It wa in all the stuff I read about EMDR. But I didn't even remember it, and she never mentioned it. That is kind of important and is apparently the dirt thing we were supposed to do - practice going back to my "safe place.". But we didn't even talk about it last week or since a few months ago, and she never true to lead me back there. That was kind of a big mistake, I feel. I also don't think she was trying to hut me on Monday, but knowing my issues, I think she should have been more careful. Where the problem arises is that I had totally depended on her to take care of me and keep me safe and unhurt. In fact, I think I has just said that to her in my letter Monday.

So I guess the issue is that I don't feel protected, and don feel like I can depend on others to protect me and need to protect myself. And that's probably how it is supposed to be anyway. I'm an adult. But I also know that I can't protect myself in certain situations in therapy, because I don't know what is goin to happen or how I will react, and then it's too late sometimes to pull myself out. So that's my dilemma. But she also promised me she would always bring me out of anything if it got too overwhelming.

And I am upset, as I said, about her not having a plan as to where to go from here. Granted, there wasn't a whole lot of time between my appointments on Friday and Monday, but it disturbs me, too, that after last Tuesday, she was thinking we would continue with EMDR. And she went from suggesting 2 sessions a week (she ne'er forced it - it was always my choice), to waiting 11 days in between appointments. And why did she give away the standing appointment we've had for months? I canceled my drum lessons at that time so we could keep that appointment. I don't get it. As I said, I feel she's given up somewhat. Like the EMDR wasn't the easy fix she thought it would be, so now she has motivation. I can't really blame her, I guess, as my motivation is dwindling as well.

I talked to p about all of this last night - tol her what happened with the EMDR last week, my letters, what Linda said Monday, etc. I also told her what you have said about it, and she thought you were right on.

She, too, thought I needed to tell Linda all this stuff and try to be very clear and just tell her to listen and not say anything, and just tell her and maybe not discuss it at first.

P knows that if I quit going to Linda, the chances are that I will not go to anyone else anytime soon. I just don't have the energy or the desire to start over again. So she thinks I should try to resolve it with Linda, but that maybe I should go every other week for a while - as opposed to stopping. What do you think?

I really like Linda, and I still trust her in some ways, but I had to confidence in her and I feel like maybe she doesn't totally know whatshe is doing on certain things. I hate that I am cutting on her, because she's done a lot of great things for me. Maybe I'm just upset about what happened last week and hurt about reality and am taking it out on her. I don't know. I'm pretty sure Linda was clueless when I left on Monday that I was upse at all. I think she will be taken off guard if I tell her what I am really thinking/feeling.

Good news is that it pretty much took care of my view of her as an ideal mother figure :) and I am pretty much over the illusion that someone is going to take care of me, which is probably good, I would think.

This is too much to think about on top of everything else. I don't even know how much I care any more. This whole thing ha been a much bigger mess than I bargained for.

Incidentally, I DO trust and feel safe with you, Kate. Just please be careful with me right now, ok?

S
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

I will definitely be careful and as thoughtful as I can with you, Shay! No problem.

 

You are not being unfair in your assessment of Linda. It makes sense that on some level you want to trust her. She has tried to help you and has been there for you through some of the toughest times you have had. But you also have to look at how you feel. It's like cause and effect. You would not feel this pain if something had not happened in therapy to cause it.

 

It's easy for you to revert back to accepting some responsibility for what happened and say you should not allow someone to take care of you. But trusting Linda is part of therapy. You have to be able to trust your therapist or therapy will not be as effective. Part of that is allowing them to take care of you. A therapist is trained to know about transference, counter transference and a person's response to therapy. Linda has missed the boat on at least two of those things. It may not have been intentional, but by not knowing that she missed them, she has hurt you. Her job is to know those things so she does not hurt you or anyone in therapy. Just as people trust you to take care of them legally, you have to be able to trust your therapist to take care of you emotionally. And if you missed the boat legally, your clients would pay for it wouldn't they? It's the same for therapy.

 

Whether or not Linda meant to hurt you is not as important than the fact that she did. It's like saying a doctor may not have meant to nick that artery during surgery, but the fact is the patient died because of it. Determining blame doesn't change how the family feels. It's the same for therapy. If you are getting hurt, you will suffer for it regardless of blame.

 

It sounds like from your description that Linda may be unsure of how to handle your situation. It may be a matter of experience or another issue. You mentioned that she is distancing herself from therapy and she does not catch things like transference or your pain after EMDR. You also mentioned that she forgot to go over your safe place with you, which lead to your distress after EMDR. These all are vital parts of therapy. Ethically, if she feels she cannot address your concerns and help you, she has to refer you to someone who can. I do not mean to question her abilities, but from the things you have told me, you may want to think about this. I am only concerned about the effects these issues are having on you.

 

I am concerned as well that you want to stop therapy all together based on your experience with Linda. It has hurt you, I know. And it has damaged your self esteem and confidence in therapy. You also feel that you should not rely on others, which shows how deeply you have been hurt. This is a fresh pain and it may take some time to work through. But consider that you may want to try again one day soon. By letting this experience convince you that recovery is not worth it, you will lose out from getting the peace of mind and happiness you deserve. We can take it one day at a time and see how you feel.

 

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Okay. What about this: What if I write Linda another letter, trying to make it very clear (I will run it by you and P) how I feel and how what she did/didn't do hurt me, even if she didn't mean to, and telling her I don't feel safe with her right now.

 

I can call her and tell her I want to get a letter to her before our next session next Thursday, and ask her whether I shoud mail it, drop it off at their main office, or email it (it is tricky, because she works out of one church, usually, and the main office is in another church, and I don't have a clue how to get something like that to her and keep it confidential). I want to tell her in the letter that I don't want to discuss it - I already know she had no intention of hurting me, but she did, and thre is really nothing to discuss and I don't want her apologies. And I'm tired of having to explain myself to everyone.

 

What are your thoughts?

 

I don't want to bash Linda, professionally, becasue as I have said, she has really helped me and I really like her, but I really think she did a few things wrong. She should have had someone in there with her to do the EMDR the first time, she should have been paying more attention to how I was reacting, and should have known if I was holding my ears and rocking -- which I have never done before -- maybe something was going on. She should not have cut corners in the EMDR process (like ignoring the "safe place" step). She should have been careful not to say something to me that, if she thought about what she was saying, was the opposite of what she should have said, since she knows my issues. And she should have focused on helping me deal with the damage caused last Tuesday (I don't want to seem overdramatic, but I feel like that whole EMDR experience caused damage) rather than just apologizing and talking out loud about what she should have done differently and what she may have done wrong. I think she should have known that I wouldn't want to continue hte EMDR after what happened, and actually, I feel like if I had walked in on Friday wanting to do EMDR again, she should have said no. But I am not a psychologist. I don't know her profession or what's right or wrong and it seems weird for me to judge her like that.

 

P wanted me to promise that if I talked to Linda about this stuff, I wouldn't preface or end it by saying "it's fine, but..." because it's not fine.

 

I don't know.

 

I have wondered, at times, since I started therapy, whether she might not be totally prepared or experienced enough to handle my situtation. I wouldn't think it would take that much specialization -- it's not likeI have a mental disorder or illness - and she has been a therapist for a very long time. But there have been things here and there, which seemed obvious to me, but which she did not pick up on. Just one example: when we were discussing self-blame, early on, I told her that I had read somewhere that it is sometimes a way to maintain the illuison of control. She acted like she had never heard that before, and thought it was very interesting. You brought it up right away, after I had kind of forgotten it. Also, I told her last week, before we did the EMDR, that I had read a bunch of stuff about peoples' experiences with it, and I understood it could be really difficult for the first few weeks - even out of therapy. She said that I would probably be tired, but that's all. Even Dr. Krakow asked me if Linda explained what I would be getting into with EMDR. I thought she had, so I said yes.

 

Also, she seems to get bored with things easily, or maybe frustrated that they aren't working fast enough. She will start something, we will do it for several weeks, then she'll switch to something else. Or she'll be doing all sorts of stuff at the same time. Maybe that's the way it is supposed to be - I don't know. But I did tell her I needed to focus on one thing at a time (one method or whatever), because otherwise, it is overwhelming and I can't focus on anything.

 

So I guess what I am saying is that I have questioned whether she is qualified to help me deal with these issued. But it is set off by the fact that I felt so comfortable with her and trusted her more readily. There's a lot of value in that. Someone could be the smartest person n theworld and know everything there is to know to help me, but if I don't feel comfortable or trust the person, it can't work.

 

And how would I even find someone else? And I'm afraid it would mess up things with Dr. Muraida. I feel like it was such a blessing for me to feel comfortable with Linda right off, and I feel like I would have to go through a ton of potential therapists before I found someone else I may feel comfortable with.

 

Considering some of my issues, do you think a male therapist would be better for me?

 

I don't know what to do. But I am seriously considering the letter thing, as long as I can get it to her before I have to go again, and she has time to read, digest and consider it - rather than reading and responding in my presence.

 

Let me know what you think.

 

S

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
oh - I forgot to ask --- I would assume that most therapists would be able to handle my situation, since as I said, we're not dealing with a mental disease or disorder here. Why does it seem that Linda finds it diffficult? And why did she say the pushed my "case" up to her because it was complicated and difficult (I am assuming because she has her doctorate -- but does that really matter?)??
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Shay,

 

I think another letter would be a good idea. And getting it to her ahead of time is even better. She needs time to think it through. This is not a simple issue and it will take some thought to consider all the angles and options.

 

Can you email her with it? That would be the fastest and most efficient way to get it to her. If not, then sending it to her snail mail might be the best way. Leaving for her in a church would be risky and that is not the kind of thing you want floating around, especially with other people in the building.

 

I agree, bashing Linda professionally is not what this is about. It is about you and how you are feeling as a result of what happened in therapy. You may not be a therapist, but you do know how you feel. As with any profession, you know when you have not been treated the way you should have been treated. And in this case, you did not get what you needed. A therapist's job is to be sure you do get what you need. You should be the entire focus for the time you are with the therapist. And they should be trained and educated enough to know what they are doing so they don't hurt you. If they are not, they are ethically obligated to find someone for you who can help.

 

I am not sure why your case was treated as any different than anyone else's at Linda's agency. Trauma is a common experience. Many people go through terrible traumas like abuse, accidents and violence. The basics of trauma are the same but the circumstances are different for everyone. Trauma treatment in therapy should be a part of every therapists training because it is so common. So Linda's trouble with helping you does not make any sense. A Ph.D. should also not be a factor. It does not necessarily guarantee a therapist will be a good one, but it should not affect your treatment regardless.

 

Finding another therapist is something I can help you with. There are signs about what to look for and questions to ask before you agree to therapy. It does not guarantee a wonderful experience but it makes it a whole lot more likely. You can also get referrals from others like Dr. M or your regular family doctor. Friends can also be a resource.

 

A male therapist might be a consideration. The only concern I would have is transference. You were traumatized by two men and your feelings about that might be transferred onto the therapist. If you did decide to see a male therapist, he would have to be experienced in trauma and transference so he recognizes the signs.

 

Kate

 

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5250
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Kate:

First, I have a few questions:

1. If I give Linda a letter (before next Thursday), should I still go to my appointment on Thursday?

2. What all do I need to include in the letter?

3. What if she wants to discuss it?

4. Do you think it is worthwhile trying to rebuild some therapy relationship with Linda even though that would be opening me up to more potential hurt?

5. About a male therapist - is the transference concern that I wouldn't trust him and assume he will hurt me? How would a male therapist handle that, then? Or is it just that it might be I can't go to a male therapist?

6. Is there a way that I can make sure I avoid any transference - whether it be male or female?

I don't have Linda's email address, but I can ask her for it. I'm sure if I tell her I am sending her a letter, she will be curious and want to receive it sooner rather than later. I don't think she uses email regularly, but she said she does have it.

You confirmed my thought - that a whole lot of therapy would necessarily involve trauma work. I know she has done trauma work before, but she has mentioned a number of times that I don't react like other clients she has had. I don't know what she is used to or how recently she has done trauma work. I know she works with kids and families as well. I figure trauma work would be something every therapist would be trained in. I do feel like she generally knows what she's doing - and she knows to where we need to get, but I'm not always sure she knows how to get there or is willing to wait out the time it might take to get there.

Do you think I should just give up on her? Can the confidence/trust/feeling of safety be rebuilt?

Uggh.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hey - what about going to Dr. M for therapy? Do psychiatrists usually act as therapists, too? If I went every other week, even though she doesn't accept my insurance and I have to pay out of pocket, it would cost the same as my copays for seeing Linda 2x per week.

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Shay,

 

If you can, it might be a good idea to still see Linda on Thursday. You need some type of closure if you do decide to find a new therapist. This will give you that chance.

 

What you include in the letter depends on your goal. If your goal is to end therapy with Linda, then you can talk about how much therapy helped but you feel the need to move on because of a, b, c issues. Say a goodbye and end the letter. If you want to stay with her, then you need to express some of your concerns, particularly the trust issue. Also, you may want to bring up her experience with trauma and ask why she feels your case is different than other people she sees.

 

If she wants to talk about it, that is ok. Just go in knowing what you want and use that as your common denominator. In other words, if you go in decided that you want to quit therapy with her, and she tries to convince you otherwise, let her know you appreciate all she has done but you decided you are moving on.

 

If you decide to try to rebuild your relationship with Linda, you need to address your concerns first. The issues you have brought up are real and therapy will not be effective if they are still unresolved. Then you might need to move very slowly at first to rebuild trust.

 

If you decide on a male therapist, the transference may be your anger or other feelings towards the men from the attack. And it also could be from your father, but that is to be expected. It's not that it is bad you would transfer your feelings from the attack (it is actually very good), but being aware that having a male therapist might make these feelings stronger is something that you might want to think about. And being aware of it can help you identify the transference and maybe even reduce it a lot. But your therapist should catch it in any case, if he is trained correctly, and help you resolve it.

 

Transference is a natural part of therapy and to avoid it would be like you skipping a step in your legal process. It is important to allow all your feelings out so you can deal with them. Because Linda did not catch your transference onto her, she missed a step that could have helped you work some of your issues through. It doesn't prevent you from getting better, but missing it does slow it down and may leave some feelings unresolved.

 

I don't know if comparing your responses in therapy to other clients is very helpful. There is nothing you can do about that and it only serves to make you feel odd or out of place or even question how normal you are. Your therapy should be about you and not anyone else. Your trauma is not the same as anyone else's nor should your response to it be. You are an individual with your own responses to what happened to you based on your personality, background and supports. And that is how each person should be treated.

 

You can rebuild trust but it will take a while. And unless Linda gains a lot of insight or is willing to go back and re evaluate the situation, there is a chance she might not make the right choices and hurt you again. But if you talk with her, are as open as you can be about your concerns and you feel she addresses them to your satisfaction, then trying again is feasible.

 

Dr. M is a psychiatrist and most of them are ok at therapy. But their focus is medications so therapy is not all they do. A Master's level or Ph.D. level therapist is your best bet to get what you need because their training is more specific. But if you feel Dr. M would be a good person and she is comfortable with seeing you, it's certainly worth a try.

 

Kate

Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5250
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So -- what do you think? Is it worth the riskof getting hurt or her making further mistakes or having to pass me off to someone else to try to salvage it so I don't have to start over?
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Good question! There are things to consider on both sides. It's a difficult decision and depends on if you feel the risk is worth it. And a lot of it depends on whether or not you and Linda have a good session next week. You could wait to talk with Linda first before you decide. This will give you more information to go on.

 

Kate

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Okay. I left her a voice mail message telling her that I wanted to write her another letter, but I wanted her to have it before our session next Thursday, so to please call me and either give me her email address or a physical address to mail it or drop it off. I told her she could just leave the info on my VM if I didn't answer which I won't, if it's her #, because I'm not prepared to talk to her yet). She hasn't called back yet, which is odd, but I'm sure she will.

By the way, Dr. M called me yesterday and said it's good I went off he other sleeping meds when I went on the clonazepam and mirapex, and that she doesn't want me to take any of those anymore, which is good. She explained that Clonazapam was in the same family as xanax and ativan, but has a longer half life, and stays in my system for like 20 hours. She told me what to watch for, after I've taken it a while, to tell if I am developing a tolerance. But she said that's pretty much the only thing I can take for the REM behavior disorder. She said that she realizes that antidepressants and stimulants may aggravate the REM behavior disorder and the RLS/PLMD, but it is what it is. She said I'm already off the sleeping meds that could have some effect, and she does not think it's a good idea to take me off the wellbutrin or the zoloft. She also said that I have had a lot of major medication changes in a short period of time, and so she doesn't want to change a single thing more. She said that she believes my weight gain is from the medication, and that doxpin, amitriptilyne and seroquel can all cause it. She said also that since my sleep issues have been aggravated by everything, that could contribute as well. She said to wait until I get the bipap and have used it for 3-5 weeks. She thinks that, in addition to the meds I've stopped taking and those I have started, will make the weight start to come off, and after 3-5 weeks, we can try changing from wellbutrin to a stimulant, if I am still having weight or concentration issues (she said the concentration issues should get a lot better with the pap treatment, too).

Also, if I stop going to Linda, I will either have to go to someone else, or will have to go see Dr. M every few weeks, because it occurred to me that she said, when we started, that one of the reasons she was willing to do a lot over the phone was that she knew I was working with and being monitored by Linda. So .....

Hey - maybe I could find 2 male counselors in their early 20s, encourage the transference, and beat the crap out of both of them. Maybe that's all I need!

 

 

Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

I had to laugh at your last comment. How therapeutic that would be! (I can't believe I just endorsed that....)

 

Keep me up to date on what happens with Linda getting back to you.

 

It sounds like Dr. M has all your medication issues under control. I like the way she is thinking this through. What she is doing makes a lot of sense to me. And I do think that your weight gain could be a combination of the medication and the lack of sleep. When you don't sleep your body tries to make up the loss of energy through food. And anti depressants are notorious for causing weight gain. I have heard it many times from people I've worked with.

 

Good night, Shay. I hope you have a peaceful sleep. I'll say a prayer that you do.

 

Kate

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you. :)
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.
You're welcome! Talk to you soon.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hey Kate. Not sure what's up, but there seems to be something wrong with my unlimited subscription. I am trying to get it figured out, but they haven't responded. So currently, JA will not let me "ask another question" (start a new thread) unless I pay separately, and as I'm sure you can imagine, I can't afford to pay $20-$30 every time I post. Do you think they've locked me off because I've been talking to you so much? I just wanted to let you know in case I "disappear.". Let me know if you have any ideas.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hey Kate. Figured it out - I was going to switch my account to another card, but hanged I back, and didn't change the expiration date (duh). So I had the wrong exp date on it and this, my April payment didn't go through. So I corrected the date and emailed them back and should get it resolved sometime soon. I couldn't figure out what the issue might be, unless they thought I violated their "excessive use" policy. So glad it was just a mistake. Talk to you later. :)
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

I have had people tell me they had this problem as well, especially if they post consistently and for a long time. Sometimes they open new accounts under another name. Eventually it gets worked out though. But you are allowed to use JA as much as you want. As far as I know there is not a restriction. I have talked to people a lot longer than you and I have talked so you should be ok.

 

Kate

 

 

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
See my post from this morning - I has the expiration date wrong on my credit card, so they should fix it soon, I think :) I was only 3 years and 3 months off. What's the problem ?? :)
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

That's funny!

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
By the way, Linda called me back last night and Left me a vm message she doesn't want me to send my letter in an email and doesn't want me to mail it, because it's personal. I apparently gave the impression that I had the letter done, because she wants me to drop it off at the church to her and told me where she would be. I will leave her another message and let her know it won't be until Monday or so. I don't want to see her or talk to her today anyway, until I get things figured out.
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the update.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Kate -- they are having difficulty changing credit card info (so I didn't forget to change the expiration date, it just didn't save all the changes) .... anyway, they are having issues, so we just switched it over to a new account (to avoid it taking the several days for them to try to fix it). So - I will have a new (but similar) username -- this account will still be open, but the subscription will be moved to the new account. So.... I am going to use that account :) I'll ask you a question and let you know it's me when i log onto the new account.. JA's site is a mess :/ but i did get a free month out of it :)
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Ughh, very frustrating. It's hard when this happens. Hopefully they will get this worked out soon.

 

Kate

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
So -- I asked you a question with my new account .... but I just had to start it with "Kate McCoy," since I couldn't directly respond or post to you on the new account yet. So .... you should get it at some point. :) As I said, it's all worked out now ...
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 2 years ago.

Ok, I'll take a look for the new thread. I'm glad it's about worked out.

 

Just a reminder, I'll be on the road tomorrow and for the weekend. I hope to be able to check in at least twice each day, if possible.

 

Good night Shay! Sleep well.

 

Kate

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