Yesterday a monster, today a shrink.

If you have a mental illness or you have experienced other heavy problems that affected your mental health, you’ve probably met a psychiatrist. But what the heck is a psychiatrist?

They were a kind of monster to me before I first met one in person, meaning that I was scared. Why? Perhaps because he/she would notice something is wrong with me. Where I come from, a psychiatrist goes through a medical training and then, later on, accomplishes a degree in one or more psychotherapeutic methods. They work long hours in mental hospitals where they occupy positions with different ranks over the years. Typically, they will choose to go out into the jungle of mental and social confusions later on. That means setting up a doctor’s office and treating outpatients.

After a few scary moments with shrinks, I mostly established a good relationship with those I encountered.


Indeed, it takes a lot of effort from both, patient and psychiatrist, to establish a supportive relationship. Apparently, it’s proven that it’s not a precise method of psychotherapy applied that contributes best to a positive and progressive development, rather it’s the quality of the relationship between patient and psychotherapist.

I think this is easier done when, after a possible clinical stay an outpatient treatment is established, providing that the possibility of choosing the therapeutic setting is given. According to my experience, this is not often the case in a mental hospital since things are pretty much determined. You’ve got to deal with the doctors in your ward.

Another question is how the one in the role of the patient meets the one in the role of the psychotherapist. Is it rather traditional and there’s a hierarchy between the psychotherapist and the patient? Or is the patient well self-aware and dares to state what he/she wants to include in the course of the therapy. Does the psychotherapist encourage this approach? It also could mean, that not only the psychotherapist is taking notes but the patient too. It would be a reasonable thing to do since one often, and this is including myself, just forgets what was talked about in the session or at least has a hard time remembering it. If you’re in a psychotherapy: What stance does your shrink take? Do you think you can place your needs sufficiently.

For me, it’s important to go to my regular sessions. It’s an essential that helps to cement the stability I’m currently enjoying. In fact, I consider it to be as effective as my medication. Unfortunately, nowadays there are too few people qualified to work as psychotherapists. And even worse, there’s a high number of folks with untreated mental illnesses. It’s surely not wrong to consult a shrink when troubles in life occur. One doesn’t have to suffer from mental illness to do so.

I’d like to encourage you to think about the relationship to your shrink. To venture to talk about misunderstandings and wishes regarding the psychotherapy. I also want to make clear to you that there’s no reason to be ashamed of being a service user. If you need help, you should seek it. I’m well aware that many in a state of mental confusion don’t ask for any help because they don’t feel there’s reason for it. However, I guess that I should cover this in a different blog entry.

I hope this was helpful!