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What if I disagree with my husband's therapist?
Oct 28, 2005

My husband is a firefighter and started having anxiety attacks at work. Since this is a high stress place of employment, I thought it would be best for him to talk with a therapist. He took some leave of abscence from the fire department and started seeing a therapist. Right away, she advised him to go to his GP and get on medication. This bothered me some, but I thought that if he needed it, then ok. Well, after about 5 sessions with the therapist, she felt the need to call me at work and tell me that my husband is severely depressed and she wanted him to go for an evaluation at a local mental hospital. Of course I was very disturbed and this caused a lot of emotional outburst on my part. When I started to ask the therapist why she thought this, she invited me to sit in one of my husbands sessions. After doing so, I noticed right away that she would add comments while he was telling her something. I also found this very disturbing. I felt she was putting words in my husbands mouth. Depression was never an issue and ever since his leave of absence from the fire department, he was back to his happy go lucky, up beat self. As a matter of fact, the only time he felt blue was after talking with his therapist. He doesn't want to stop seeing her because she told him that he has a lot of issues that they need to work out together. She repeatedly tells him that they need to get to the root of his depression. However, when I sat with his last session, I noticed that she didn't let him finish his complete sentences. She would diagnois him too soon. When I brought this to her attention, she made me feel like I was the bad unsupportive wife. I made it very clear that I didn't want him to stay on the meds (Lexapro, which I feel hasn't done anything for him). I also told his therapist that I wanted him to stop seeing her. I'm starting to feel like she just wants him to keep coming back so she can collect a check from our insurance company. I have explained my feelings to my husband. But his therapist has convinced him that he has an extreme mental illness and will need her assistance for and "undetermined" amount of time. My question is, is it the job of the therapist to diagnois a patient or to just listen and help the patient understand. These are two very different things in my mind. Also another thing which leads me to believe that she is misdiagnoising my husband is during his session, twice she called him by another patients name. I had to correct her. Could she be confusing my husband with other patients?

Response from Dr. Horwath

You mentioned some behaviors of the therapist that I would be very concerned about. You can solve the problem by having your husband get a second opinion from an experienced psychiatrist. Most therapists and GPs don't have extensive training in psychiatric diagnosis, so a psychiatrist can give you a better idea of what the problem is, and he can also evaluate whether this therapy is appropriate for him.



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