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Psychotherapist - standard practice(21 Posts)
I'm sorry to hear this has upset you, but yes, it is standard practice. Psychotherapy is very hard work but it's so, so worth it.
I think you should call and discuss. The info will be confidential in the same way anything else in therapy is.
I have had long-term psychotherapy on the NHS and the way it worked was that I had an assessment with a senior therapist, who asked those sorts of questions in a face-to-face interview and wrote up a report about it. After a waiting period, I was then allocated a therapist who had access to those notes, but I never discussed those issues directly with her.
I can understand your discomfort and your reasons for backing off. But I come from an experience where I don't feel that psychotherapy was actually appropriate for me, and I feel that some of the answers I gave (when I was very naive and wanted 'the experts' to work out what was wrong with me) were leapt on as reasons for my behaviour, to the exclusion of other factors in my life/health (which I now understand to be far more relevant).
I think that whatever you write in that sort of questionnaire, a psychotherapist will end up focusing on aspects of it and decide that they are the reasons for your mental health issues/behaviour. Obviously those who have had positive experiences of psychotherapy will find that's a revelation. Psychotherapy isn't for everyone, and if you choose to seek other forms of treatment, that's perfectly valid. It sounds like you have some doubts, and I'd urge you to listen to your instincts.
I didn't get asked about how and when I'd die though!
There has no standard form as far as I'm aware. I had a years psychotherapy through the nhs minus the forms.
I did have a 1.5hr consult which went through the type if child I was etc and I did complete a family history form.
I would call and discuss it before ruling it out all together.
I have had psychotherapy both on the NHS and privately and in neither case was I asked to provide anything in writing beforehand. In the case of the NHS I had already had some interviews with psychiatrists who obviously asked some of those sort of questions but the psychotherapist was open minded in following those things up.
The private psychotherapist only asked for basic contact details before meeting me. I had an initial session (at a reduced price) in which we explored some of my burning issues and he then asked if I thought we could work together.
If anyone had asked me to fill in a questionnaire like you described, I would have run away screaming.
I would say don't give up if you think psychotherapy could help. Try someone else who may well have a completely different approach. A lot of psychotherapy's effectiveness is down to how well you gel with the therapist.
Not every psychotherapist will ask for this - mine wouldnt have dreamt of it, I'm sure! All that stuff you discover as the sessions go along, surely. It sounds kind of clumsy. But saying that, I wouldn't necessarily let it put you off - pt can be extremely helpful even if it begins rather awkwardly.
You sound a little as though you are looking for reasons not to go into psychotherapy. Could that be true? It is very scary, and I felt similarly as though I was looking for a get out clause before I started (so glad I stuck with it though).
If you do want to do it, perhaps don't complete the form but go along anyway and take the form with you. You could then talk about why you didn't feel comfortable answering the very personal questions. I'm sure you won't be the first client to do this.
just curious - is this a private or nhs psychotherapist? How did you find him - was he recommended by a friend, etc.
My first thought is that it will save time to give him this information up front, but maybe you want to meet first and see if he is someone you think you could/would like to work with.
BTW, nothing wrong with saying you are uncomfortable with the forms/questions and would prefer to wait to answer until after you've met.
I had psychotherapy - and I revealed these things along the way. But I can understand why you don't want to just fill them out as bald facts on a form. I would want to be there to 'check' that their reactions to the facts were correct. I know my psychotherapist over reacted to the fact that my brothers had gone to public schools and I had not. There were sensible practical reasons for this and I assured that this was NOT the root of my self -esteem issues, so, although I don't think she fully believed me, I was glad I was able to at least pipe up and say 'no, let that bone go' ykwim?! If it had been on a form, she might have run too far and too fast with that little 'gem'.
Have you asked to actually hand the forms over? Is it possible that he is just getting you to think things over before you go?
I wouldn't want to do it in writing either and have had 25 sessions of NHS therapy this year so no fears about psychotherapy per se. It is a lot to put in writing without it being face to face and could be very distressing without a supportive person to demonstrate their unconditional acceptance. I'd question the relevance of the bald information. It is often more about how we tell our story rather than the story itself that brings us to therapy and I would have thought it is part of building rapport to discuss these things. I don't write as I speak. Odd it is considered standard practice.
I agree Jenny505. It is hardly an exact science and everyone brings their own prejudices.
I'm not so sure this is standard practice. It's more important for a therapist to ask you these questions and observe how you answer them than to get a load of stuff in writing ahead of time. I see a private therapist and, before the first appointment, we only discussed when and where I would see him.
I would find these questions very upsetting and triggering, and would not want to answer them. I would expect a therapist to meet me and build up some trust first.
PLEASE don't let this put you off all therapy! I've never heard anything like it! If you are going private, I suggest having a look on the UKCP site - and if you're keen to build up trust first I'd look for someone with a humanistic/relational approach.
If you're not happy with returning them, then don't. Simple. Take them with you. Or not. Don't make a decision based on this- have a session, then decide.
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