Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Therapy - Part II - Finding a Therapist in a Small Town

Now, we've all given and received the advice about therapists.  You may have to try several out, there are a lot of duds in the pool, and keep trying until you find a good fit.  My friend Robin has an excellent therapist, and frankly, if she lived a little bit closer, I might even horn in on the action and see if she'd fit me in. 

About a month and a half before I completely left the state where my ex-wife and I lived together, I found the PERFECT therapist.  I was so upset - she was one of the hardest things to leave behind!! First of all, she helped me to realize that I wasn't crazy.  Because after the last few months with my ex-wife, it was hard to know. 

I really miss her and wish I could clone her and have her come out here.  Because finding a therapist when I first came out here was not easy.  In fact I know that the one I'm going to go see is not the best therapist for me by a long shot.  But she'll have to do for the moment.

See the problem in a small town is that everyone often knows everyone.  And fortunately we live near a few other small towns, too, so we're not alone, and there's a "big city" (really a medium-sized city, if that) somewhat near by, and then a real big city (although still not "big" compared to what I've been used to) nearly two hours away.  I'm not traveling four hours for therapy, although I am more likely to find the anonymity I search for.

The first therapist I went to wanted to rediagnose everything.  At some level, I understand wanting to focus on the specific behaviors and issues I was dealing with to find out how to address them, but at some level, I want to short-cut it and have it accepted that I have ADD.  I'd been living with the diagnosis for eleven years by then, and had tried a whole host of various types of therapies with varying success.  I didn't need her to take several sessions to determine, yes, indeeed, look at that, you do have ADD. 

But that wasn't really the problem with her.  While I understand the code of confidentiality and all that in therapy, and the ability, in theory, for therapists to behave professionally and responsibly, they are also human.  And the disclosure documents I signed (which I actually read, because I'm geeky that way) indicated that she would discuss my case with her supervisor, who happened to be the therapist of another person I was living with at the time.  Sweet wonderful guy who let a virtual stranger move in with him.  But issues were already arising from the living situation, and I didn't think having what was going on with me shared with his therapist was necessarily the best idea.  A little too close to home, thanks.

And, frankly, I really thought finding someone who could help me with my ADD (then) would be the solution to all my problems.  So I was really surprised to learn that in the small town just a few miles away from me, there was a guy advertising that he was an ADD specialist, and also worked with adults (a lot harder to find).  Terrific! Wonderful!  But I had just started working on a new project for a friend of a friend, that eventually turned into a job, and it turned out that this therapist was the brother of one of the guys I was working with.  Well, that would be awkward.  Particularly as time went on and the person I was working with became harder to deal with.  In hindsight, I understand that the brothers don't talk and don't have much of a relationship, so maybe he would have agreed with me that his brother was an asshole, but still, that didn't seem too promising.

I found the third one on the internet, and she's the one I'm going back to now.  Early on I described the journey to find her, and we quickly determined we knew no-one in common.  She also reassured me that my concerns weren't unreasonable regarding the others, and that it is a problem, sometimes, in a small town to avoid those kinds of conflicts.  She's from a small city about thirty minutes away.  She's not perfect, and when I go back, I  am sure I'll be reminded why, but I feel comfortable enough, and at this point, two things are quite clear: 1) it is hard to find someone who doesn't have conflicts and 2) someone is better than no-one, at the moment.


  1. FInding a good therapist is priceless. Funny you mention wanting to horn in on mine (let's call her "Dawn") - a friend asked for Dawn's information recently and Dawn said she could not see her since we are close friends. Good movie, I thought. So I know that my secrets are safe with Dawn.

  2. I almost ran over my therapist. He was riding his bike through the intersection of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue and I was behind the wheel of my car. Oh yes, I thought about it. It cost me three sessions to work through that particular fantasy.