As anyone acquainted with me and this blog knows, I see a psychiatrist regularly for my mood disorder. We started seeing each other in 1991.
He’s an unusual psychiatrist…
“A very, very, very difficult child,” I’ve been told time and again all my life. “There was something wrong with you.”
You hear that long enough and often enough and you begin to believe it, Dr. Bob reflected this week.
His orientation to psychotherapy is eclectic. We talk. I sit facing him and he sits behind his desk facing me. There’s a couch in his office, but I doubt anyone uses it. And an intriguing piece of art that says, I need you which I’ve written about here.
Dr. Bob wants his patients to “feel they are being heard”…
He was trained by a psychiatrist who treated me back in the 1960s, Dr. Emmanual Persad. Both men are dedicated to helping their patients feel that they are “being heard.”
They are the antithesis of anything remotely resembling the no-doubt and I hope mythic-image of the “15 minutes and a prescription” kind of psychiatrist I’ve heard about. PsychCentral World of Psychology frequent contributor, psychiatrist, professor and prolific writer Dr. Ronald Pies explored and contextualized that notion very well here.
Dr. Bob fervently believes in “talk therapy” and more…
Dr. Bob and Dr. Pies remind me of each other. Both fervently believe in “talk therapy” in addition to other forms of therapy including the judicious use of monitored medication.
Dr. Bob sees his patients for 60 minutes, sometimes more. As often as they wish. He is gentle, thoughtful, insightful, empathetic and intensely intelligent. He has helped me in numerous ways.
If I have to give a keynote to a group of medical and/or psychiatric caregivers or patients or families of psychiatric patients, he happily vets them for me. He does the same for any major story I am researching and writing about anything remotely psychiatric or that touches of my passion of mental health advocacy.
He returns my phone calls if I am in distress between appointments and spends an average of 20 minutes with me ~ time for which he cannot bill.
He is more than my shrink. He’s my life coach…
For me, he is a life-coach cum psychotherapist, and his help has been life changing and affirming. I have worked with other psychiatrists and one for almost as long ~ 16 years. When I chose to see Dr. Bob after another psychiatrist moved out of town, I was given two names. I knew both psychiatrists and when I chose Dr; Bob, my psychiatrist at the time said, “Good choice. I’d send my grandmother to him.”
In January, Dr. Bob took a temporary teaching post with a university abroad ~ part of a University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine exchange program.
For the first time, I was working with him…
The last time I saw him was Thursday, January 19. I was starting to work with Dr. Kimberly Watson, a psychologist, who was treating me after I completed a six-week outpatient eating disorders program.
I wasn’t working without a net. But it was a very different kind of net. Psychiatry and Psychology are worlds apart, as you know and as I’ve discovered. Kim is my first psychologist.
On Thursday, I saw Dr. Bob for the first time since January 19. For the first time in our 21 year relationship, we had been apart for 10 weeks.
The first thing he said to me was, “You look so well. So healthy.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
To be continued…