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Psychiatrist Suggested Prayer....


wanderinstar
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Many of you already know I have PTSD & Major Depression and was in hospital for a week a few weeks back. Anyway, I went to my follow-up appointment today and had the usual discussions. I am going pretty well considering how unwell I was but my doctor still suggested another mood-stabilizer as I seem to have bipolar-like features with my mood, although do not meet the criteria for bipolar.

 

So I am happy to give the med a try and thought the appointment was going well when he said, 'there is another thing that may help' I nod, interested, 'Prayer' I try to hold in my reaction, 'I have personally seen it help many people but I cannot do this for you as I am only a psychiatrist. I would need to refer you to someone else'

 

Somehow I managed to politely REMIND him that I have been prayed with thoroughly, by many people, in many different ways, over hundred of hours in fifteen years. He knows I have been deeply wounded by people praying for me, telling me I have demons and sin in my heart. Gosh, I've ranted for many-a-post here about this so I won't go into detail again. I am just shocked he would step over that boundary with me. I know he meant well, and he is a damn good psychiatrist, but it pisses me off no end that he thinks I would be doing better if I had prayer. He is not talking the comfort type of prayer, he meant going into the wounds in my heart kind of prayer. He is my fucking psychiatrist and he knows that along with being seriously traumatized I also have some severe chemical imbalances so going into my issues forever and ever will not fix them. It felt like he was telling me my issues are spiritual - like if I return to god my mental illness will be cured, or at least lessened in severity. 

 

Am I over-reacting? Anyone else had issues with otherwise great christian doctors that secretly want them to 'return to christ'?

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Guest r3alchild

Did he say who to pray to, If he wants you to return to your old faith, find out why first then if you have to, go rocky style on his arse.

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Can't say i've had a similar experience. I'm on the hunt for a therapist again, since i've come to the conclusion that it's something that needs to be done, there's no other way around it. I've been in therapy in the past, but that was when i was in high school. I don't remember the therapist i saw at the time broaching anything that had to do with xtianity. On the other hand, xtianity wasn't a part of my life back then, so it wasn't something i would have paid attention to either way.

 

It doesn't sound like you're overreacting to me. Whether this was part of a pattern or an isolated incident, it doesn't matter. You're going through some tough times right now, and he obviously knows this. That said, if the psychiatrist you were seeing was well aware that you've basically been there done that with prayer and all that other nonsense, then maybe it's time to look into someone whose worldview isn't so slanted and move on. I'm sure he did mean well, far be it for me to argue on that, but good intentions are moot if one oversteps their boundaries. Actions speak louder than words, especially if you get the feeling he's trying to get you to "go back". I'd be done with him if i were you.

 

By all means mention this to the medical board where he's licensed. I'd also bring this up with the people in charge of the facility you're seeing him at as well. I'm not sure what the healthcare system's like in Australia, so i'm afraid i'm not much help in that department as i'm from the States. :/

 

For what it's worth, prayer amounts to placebo. It only works by power of suggestion.

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Hell!  This is Australia!  Definitly out of order for someone in your situation and he doesn't even have the excuse of cultural brainwashing to fall back on!

 

If you think he is competant and helpful in all other respects, you should call him on it and tell him you think it is inappropriate.

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     So this shrink is saying he's out of ideas and you may as well give magic a try.

 

     You'd be better off taking his advice and trying pretty much anything that's not him.

 

          mwc

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No, you're not over-reacting. I'm with the "dump the shrink" bandwagon. Don't forget to trust yourself, too.

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Get rid of that guy! I am extremely lucky in that mine is also an ex-Christian and so shares similar views, and hopefully in Australia there must be someone similar. Is it illegal over there to try and influence your religion? I think it is here

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Thanks everyone!! I'm not sure about the laws over here but I would assume he is close to breaking one. I have considered ditching him, and will continue to keep it in mind, but it is soo hard to find a good psychiatrist. I should know, I have been through a few. Not because I am particularly choosy but because of one moving interstate, one retiring and two being totally incompetent. This guy actually gets what is going on for me EXCEPT the spiritual issue - which is a big issue for me. He is South African and a fundamentalist christian, unfortunately. It can be damn hard to find a psychiatrist that gets PTSD from childhood, plus adult, traumas. It often creates a very complicated situation both chemically and psychologically and he has been helpful with both. Sadly, it seems he is under the impression I left christianity because I was hurt. Perhaps if I explain to him next appointment that I left christianity because it is both morally bankrupt and scientifically unsound he will at least see I am a lost cause spiritually. I may also re-enforce the fact that I am much happier now spiritually than I ever was as a christian (and I was pretty happy at times). Meditation actually helps psychological health, it is scientifically documented, yet according to scientific studies prayer fails.

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I think you should've let us know that in the beginning (him being a fundy xtian) because it would've explained everything. Without that knowledge I was going to say he was probably thinking about some vague statistics which allegedly show that sometime prayer helps in some unexplainable way. However, since he's in the cult, I gotta go with the ones over here who said 'dump' him if you can.

Thanks everyone!! I'm not sure about the laws over here but I would assume he is close to breaking one. I have considered ditching him, and will continue to keep it in mind, but it is soo hard to find a good psychiatrist. I should know, I have been through a few. Not because I am particularly choosy but because of one moving interstate, one retiring and two being totally incompetent. This guy actually gets what is going on for me EXCEPT the spiritual issue - which is a big issue for me. He is South African and a fundamentalist christian, unfortunately. It can be damn hard to find a psychiatrist that gets PTSD from childhood, plus adult, traumas. It often creates a very complicated situation both chemically and psychologically and he has been helpful with both. Sadly, it seems he is under the impression I left christianity because I was hurt. Perhaps if I explain to him next appointment that I left christianity because it is both morally bankrupt and scientifically unsound he will at least see I am a lost cause spiritually. I may also re-enforce the fact that I am much happier now spiritually than I ever was as a christian (and I was pretty happy at times). Meditation actually helps psychological health, it is scientifically documented, yet according to scientific studies prayer fails.

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Not only do you need to dump the shrink, I think this warrants a complaint to whatever governing/oversight agency exists in Australia.  

 

If I'm remembering correctly...have you not had this same problem with this particular doctor before?

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*sigh*, what nonsense.  That is totally inappropriate.  Unfortunately, no matter how great a doctor is, or how great a scientist is, or how great a social worker, teacher, prime minister, or president somebody is.  If they believe, ...truly believe, in an abramahamic scriptural deity they will always have THAT belief influencing their thoughts, opinions, and actions. 

 

So in your Psychiatrist's case, you might come to him and describe all of your problems, and your past trauma with religion.  He will recognize your symptoms and condition..but the in the back of his mind, he could very possibly be thinking, "I know this is just because she has separated herself from Christ."  He may do his very best to be professional and stop himself from spewing his magical mumbo jumbo at work. But to be honest with himself, he may feel a need to give you that magical piece of advice that he really thinks will work.  He probably feels like he is doing himself, and you, a disservice by not bringing it up.  As he may honestly feel that prayer will help the most.

 

However even if he feels justified because he really feels it is the best advice he can give, it is still extremely inappropriate.  If I ever needed services that had to do with my mental health, I would not accept services from somebody who would dare bring religion into it.  Too much of a red flag for me.  If their religion is influencing how they are examining patients or how they diagnose, or how they prescribe treatment...then NO.  just NO.

 

No thanks.  Never.

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Guest Babylonian Dream

My advice? Get a new psychiatrist. My psychiatrist gets frustrated with me because nothing she does helps medwise, but she's never suggested I pray as a solution. She's too down to earth for that.

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I'm in the dump the shrink bandwagon as well. If he KNOWS about your history of religious abuse and stepped that boundary, he has seriously violated your patient/doctor trust and you are definitely NOT over-reacting. 

 

However, if you really ultimately wish to keep him, tell him plainly and directly, "What you said crossed a major boundary line again and seriously made me consider severing our treatment relationship. However, as I have found the rest of your work to be very thorough and beneficial, I do believe I would like to continue on in agreement that you NEVER say something like that to me ever again." 

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Thanks everyone!! I'm not sure about the laws over here but I would assume he is close to breaking one. I have considered ditching him, and will continue to keep it in mind, but it is soo hard to find a good psychiatrist. I should know, I have been through a few. Not because I am particularly choosy but because of one moving interstate, one retiring and two being totally incompetent. This guy actually gets what is going on for me EXCEPT the spiritual issue - which is a big issue for me. He is South African and a fundamentalist christian, unfortunately. It can be damn hard to find a psychiatrist that gets PTSD from childhood, plus adult, traumas. It often creates a very complicated situation both chemically and psychologically and he has been helpful with both. Sadly, it seems he is under the impression I left christianity because I was hurt. Perhaps if I explain to him next appointment that I left christianity because it is both morally bankrupt and scientifically unsound he will at least see I am a lost cause spiritually. I may also re-enforce the fact that I am much happier now spiritually than I ever was as a christian (and I was pretty happy at times). Meditation actually helps psychological health, it is scientifically documented, yet according to scientific studies prayer fails.

 

I've highlighted the red flags i'm seeing here. The fact that he's a fundamentalist xtian doesn't look good by itself, but i'd approach with care. That has an effect on his professional life, whether he knows it or not. If he's behaved in ways that led you to believe that he thinks you left xtianity for the hell of it despite knowing what's going on with you, that by itself is grounds for moving on and finding someone else imo. No need to justify yourself to him. Your history of religious abuse has probably come through in your past sessions with him, and he probably picked up on it, assuming he was astute enough to do so (any psychiatrist worth their salt would do so). You don't have to take what you can get, nor should you have to. This isn't better than nothing. If i'm picturing this right, this is probably only the beginning. Like Kurari said, if you choose to stay for whatever reason, tell him what she suggested, and stand your ground. You don't deserve this kind of behavior from someone who really should know better. Your well being is at stake here.

 

The fact that you're happier now than you ever were as an xtian speaks volumes. I know that feeling for sure. I'd say it's yet another reason for finding someone else. If whoever you find can't help with a certain aspect of your treatment, then they'd know of someone who can. Still doesn't hurt to do some homework on anyone they refer you to, though.

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Most of you have suggested I ditch him, and provided good reasons for me to do so. When I wrote this post I didn't think it was a big deal, I just wanted to rant as it had annoyed me. Now I am taking it more seriously. It is quite upsetting because I actually get on with him well and have benefited from the treatment he has provided. He also knows about the religious abuse so I am shocked he would bring this up. Religion certainly makes intelligent people stupid. My head is spinning. I have already had a shit of a week so this is the last thing I need. Thankfully my therapist is not only aware of the religious abuse, he has a great deal of experience working with people damaged by it. I think I will talk to him about it next week. He also understands the health system and what would be involved to change. Now I have to go and try and get some study done...

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Wanderinstar, I think your decision to talk is a good solid one, given the help you have received. See Kurari's post. As for the laws in Australia, see Blue Elephant's advice in Post 5. I have in mind Blue Elephant, who is from Australia, is a lawyer.

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Wanderinstar, I think your decision to talk is a good solid one, given the help you have received. See Kurari's post. As for the laws in Australia, see Blue Elephant's advice in Post 5. I have in mind Blue Elephant, who is from Australia, is a lawyer.

 

Did you think I was talking to my psychiatrist next week? Was my post confusing? Sorry. My therapist is not my psychiatrist he is a Phd Social Worker. If he could prescribe me meds all would be well but alas he is not licensed to in Aus (he actually worked in the USA for five years and was able to there but Aus laws are stricter)  Anyway, he should be able to help me make the right decision. I am really tired and stressed at the moment, and in the middle of my first semester at University, so I am not up to a big fight over this. 

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No, I am not a lawyer!  But I am from Australia and I know a bit about health and welfare issues. I work for a government research agency that specialises in health and welfare research.

 

A good psychiatrist can be hard to find.  So if this is the only sticking point, it is probably wothwhile to try and sort that one issue out by being firm with the practitioner. 

 

I think you are right about meditation being benficial.  And when prayer is advocated in its very loosest sense (ie as a similar, variant on meditation) it may be beneficial.  But, coming from a history of religius abuse, the mere mention of the word "prayer" is harmful!

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Get yourself a nice cup of tea and some rest, it sounds like you could use some. I find peppermint tea to be soothing when I'm feeling stressed, but whatever you decide to do you need a clear head to think about what to do next.

 

Since you are in school, you might want to take a look at what services your university offers for mental wellness. For example, my school offers ~10 free visits to counselling and there are little centers for people to go to find support or to simply hang out. You might be surprised at what your school may offer, it never hurts to ask.

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Thanks again everyone!

 

Even though I feel extremely tired and my body aches from head to toe (Fibromyalgia flare up from stress) I think I need to head down to the beach at the end of my street. Often a swim in the ocean really helps me when I'm maxing out with stress. Peppermint tea is a good idea too. My head is mush so I am not getting any study done today anyway, or I could take my underwater camera and call it 'research' as I am studying Photography amongst other things. 

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Wanderinstar, I think your decision to talk is a good solid one, given the help you have received. See Kurari's post. As for the laws in Australia, see Blue Elephant's advice in Post 5. I have in mind Blue Elephant, who is from Australia, is a lawyer.

 

Did you think I was talking to my psychiatrist next week? Was my post confusing? Sorry. My therapist is not my psychiatrist he is a Phd Social Worker. If he could prescribe me meds all would be well but alas he is not licensed to in Aus (he actually worked in the USA for five years and was able to there but Aus laws are stricter)  Anyway, he should be able to help me make the right decision. I am really tired and stressed at the moment, and in the middle of my first semester at University, so I am not up to a big fight over this. 

 

Sorry, no intention on my part to fight or disagree with you. I understand you're tired and stressed out. I thought I was merely supporting what you said you wanted to do. I guess there's some confusion and I'm willing to let it go. I do wish you the best.

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No, I am not a lawyer!  But I am from Australia and I know a bit about health and welfare issues. I work for a government research agency that specialises in health and welfare research.

 

Oops! Okay. Guess I really messed up in that post. Hope to do better in the future.silverpenny013Hmmm.gif

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Wanderinstar, I think your decision to talk is a good solid one, given the help you have received. See Kurari's post. As for the laws in Australia, see Blue Elephant's advice in Post 5. I have in mind Blue Elephant, who is from Australia, is a lawyer.

 

Did you think I was talking to my psychiatrist next week? Was my post confusing? Sorry. My therapist is not my psychiatrist he is a Phd Social Worker. If he could prescribe me meds all would be well but alas he is not licensed to in Aus (he actually worked in the USA for five years and was able to there but Aus laws are stricter)  Anyway, he should be able to help me make the right decision. I am really tired and stressed at the moment, and in the middle of my first semester at University, so I am not up to a big fight over this. 

 

Sorry, no intention on my part to fight or disagree with you. I understand you're tired and stressed out. I thought I was merely supporting what you said you wanted to do. I guess there's some confusion and I'm willing to let it go. I do wish you the best.

 

No, no! The 'big fight' is to be with my psychiatrist, not you. You have not upset me in the slightest with your posts so don't panic. Perhaps it is my fault, being a bit careless with words by not editing before I post. I can see now how you could get a totally annoyed tone out of the above post of mine but it was not intended. My apologies. :)

 

I am aware posts have to be carefully worded to ensure the message is received correctly but I guess today I am pretty overwhelmed so I am a bit sloppy. 

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Most of you have suggested I ditch him, and provided good reasons for me to do so. When I wrote this post I didn't think it was a big deal, I just wanted to rant as it had annoyed me. Now I am taking it more seriously. It is quite upsetting because I actually get on with him well and have benefited from the treatment he has provided. He also knows about the religious abuse so I am shocked he would bring this up. Religion certainly makes intelligent people stupid. My head is spinning. I have already had a shit of a week so this is the last thing I need. Thankfully my therapist is not only aware of the religious abuse, he has a great deal of experience working with people damaged by it. I think I will talk to him about it next week. He also understands the health system and what would be involved to change. Now I have to go and try and get some study done...

 

It sounds like talking to him about it is a good idea. If the guy has generally been good for you, he can be forgiven for a slip up as long as he doesn't continue to insist on it after you explain your concerns. 

 

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