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Decisions: Preference vs. Convenience

Recently, I called the mental health center to reschedule my appointment with my psychiatric doctor whom I've been receiving services from for three years, and to my surprise he no longer works there. Because I really like receiving services from this doctor I sought him out online and found another practice where he works, and received his phone number. I spoke to him directly and learned where I could schedule another appointment to see him elsewhere. I called the new agency and asked about their process of becoming a new client and if they accept my type of insurance, which they do. Now I am considering switching centers to continue receiving mental health services from my doctor.

My experience with mental health doctors has either been okay or really good. During my recovery I've come across two doctors out of five who I think are passionate about their practice and who sincerely  listen to my concerns beyond asking me the routine questions about self-harm, and whether or not I am hearing voices. One of my favorite doctors waited after hours to have a meeting with my mother to discuss my treatment and any questions she had. This same doctor told me I could return to college after receiving my diagnosis of schizophrenia. My current doctor is awesome because he was flexible. When I wasn't able to maneuver to the center because of another medical issue that landed me in the hospital for a while my doctor increased the amount of pills in my order and even had a telephone session, which showed me really cared about my well being.

The obvious concerns I have about switching agencies include: wait time, frequency of doctor visits, and support groups with options to meet my needs, and location convenience. My current mental health agency is near public transit, but the agency where my doctor transferred to is not near public transportation routes. However, I do have access to another method of transportation which is my health insurance that offers rides to any medical appointment with advance notice, but I've never used it because I did not need it in the past.

What do you think are some other concerns I should take into consideration before transferring to another agency in order to keep a great doctor?

To learn more about schizophrenia visit NAMI, Embracing My Mind, Choices in Recovery, and Schizophrenia Society of Nova Scotia (Canada).


Chris said…
Hi Ashley,

Write your questions down on large ruled index cards and bring them to the first session.

You've worked with this psychiatrist before so you have an intuitive sense that he will help you again. Or so it seems from what you wrote.

In my estimation it's always a good idea to set treatment goals as well as life goals. The goals need to be S.M.A.R.T.: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-specific.

You can always extend the date that you want to achieve the goals by if you are unable to complete them on time.

Always bring up your goals with your psychiatrist to see how he or she responds.

I'm a big fan of this quote that I found in a book titled Imagine: It's not enough to be good when you can be great.

This is my personal motto as a person that strives to do better and achieve new things on an ongoing basis.

If you agree with me that it might benefit you to set goals in your recovery. I would recommend you write down your goals on paper or type them up and insert them in a binder or keep a journal of the goals.

Its helps for me to set weekly goals and seasonal goals and one or two 5-year goals and so on.

It's up to you whether you think the status quo in your life is perfectly fine. Then I would tell you that for most people good enough is good enough.

My approach is that I continually set the bar higher for the things I want to do.

Regardless of your own approach: I recommend goal-setting. It gets a person out of bed in the morning. It gives us joy and satisfaction to check off a victory.

If you choose to set a simple easy goal or go the no-goals route that's up to you.

I bring this up only because your psychiatrist can be your ally in getting you to where you want to be in your recovery and in your life.

Ask him or her your questions. Ask again and again when you want to understand the rationale for a type of treatment offered.

If you trust your psychiatrist, this trust will go a long way in enabling you to achieve your goals and live life well in recovery.

Trust is the most important component of a doctor-patient relationship.

I had to quit seeing a p-doc that I couldn't trust after 5 years of continuing sub-par treatment.

From what you've written, the doctor you're talking about seems to be a good professional.

As this might be true, that's why I urge you to continue to have an open, honest dialogue with this psychiatrist.

The best is yet to be. I firmly believe the best is yet to be for all of us.

Best wishes your own life journey.

Anonymous said…
I can't think of any concerns to consider, but I can tell you of an experience. Maybe it will trigger a response? The therapist I saw for a year, left the facility I saw her in, after she was finished with me?I tried to contact her to see her again with no response.

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