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Dr John B
Dr John B, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 557
Experience:  PhD in Clinical Psychology, registered clinical psychologist.
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I have been seeing a psychiatrist every week for an hour

Customer Question

Hello. I have been seeing a psychiatrist every week for an hour each session to help me work through some PTSD traumas. Each time I go in, he asks me questions about my childhood. Each time, I dissociate (have fLashbacks, "zone out") and decompensate in various ways after leaving his office ( numb out with rx meds, become extremely agitated, unable to focus, etc...) I have asked him not to continue to ask me about my past because I feel I am a potential danger to myself, yet somehow we always end up back there. My transference with him is that he is my father figure and I have trouble not answering his questions regarding my past because I want to please him...he now wants to explore inner child play therapy with this an area most psychiatrists are trained in? I am really worried about how I will react to his new recommendation in my treatment...
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr John B replied 5 years ago.

Hi Stephanie,

Play therapy is a relatively common from of Psychotherapy and while most Psychiatrists probably aren't trained to use deliver it there are certainly many who are.

My concern about your situation is that your Psychiatrist is not following your wishes and that you appear to be experiencing distress. No therapist should be causing a patient harm and it is inappropriate for your Psychiatrist to go against your wishes. If you are in a situation where you are complying with his direction due to a power imbalance then you may wish to consider changing therapist. Obviously I don't know the details of the therapeutic relationship but it certainly sounds like you are unhappy with what has developed.

Have you considered changing therapists?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Hi John,
Thank you for your history is that I was in a very power imbalanced relationship with my previous psychiatrist for four years. It was so bad that the state attorney generals office where I live found him guilty on three different counts. I have a pattern of erotic transference with males I perceive as powerful obviously, stemming from my childhood. Currently, this psychiatrist believes that by digging into my childhood, I can learn how to heal through my child self....does this make sense? What should I say to him or, how do I discuss my concerns with him at our next session?
Thank you... Stephanie
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I forgot to answer your question! I have not considered switching psychiatrists...I think because I rely on his power, self confidence...something
Like that.
I am really not sure why....
Expert:  Dr John B replied 5 years ago.

It sounds like his proposal is a reasonable strategy, whether it works or not would depend on a variety of factors. Regardless, the issue is still whether you are being forced into an experience you don't wish to have due to the present power imbalance. Regression type therapy certainly isn't the only treatment approach to trauma and it isn't even the one that has the most evidence for efficacy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a recommended trauma therapy and it may be something you find much more tolerable as a process.

The way to discuss all of this with him is to do just what you have done here - provide a concise and clear explanation of your concerns. It is actually the therapists responsibility to sort this out and if he knows you are dissatisfied then he is ethically obligated to remedy the situation. Given that you have difficulty with erotic transference with (perceived) powerful males then it may be a much better idea to be consulting with a female therapist so that this issue does not impede your trauma therapy.

Dr John B and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
You have been extremely helpful. Thank you very much John. Best wishes.
Expert:  Dr John B replied 5 years ago.
You are more than welcome!

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