marie337

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I have been seriously considering psychiatry, but I do have a weird setback. I have been in and out of therapy for several years for OCD and depression. I keep thinking that I won't be effective as a therapist since I can't even help myself. But, I think that I am better at helping other people than I am at helping myself. I was just wondering how many other psychiatrists and psychologists have been in the other chair, so to speak.
 

OldPsychDoc

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marie337 said:
I have been seriously considering psychiatry, but I do have a weird setback. I have been in and out of therapy for several years for OCD and depression. I keep thinking that I won't be effective as a therapist since I can't even help myself. But, I think that I am better at helping other people than I am at helping myself. I was just wondering how many other psychiatrists and psychologists have been in the other chair, so to speak.
I think it could make you a much better therapist, actually, than one who has never experienced the pain of this kind of "setback". You will need to make certain, however, that you have a good sense of professional boundaries so that any natural pull you have to identify and empathize with your patients doesn't warp into enmeshment, caretaking, and inappropriate personal disclosure.

I've been in the other chair twice--for help with relatively minor life adjustments--and I probably wouldn't be in the chair I'm in now if I hadn't sought help.
 

ahsa

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I second that - can definately make you more "in tune" with your patients. I have been in the other chair - basically for minor adjustment issues throughout life. But, I was diagnosed with an eating disorder during med school and have done much more psychodynamic work. I think you do need to be careful to not become enmeshed with your patients. I do think that it has been very helpful for me to recognize my own countertransference - any process to help you know and understand yourself better will make you a stronger physician and psychiatrist in the long run. Good luck with your treatment.
 
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marie337

marie337

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ahsa said:
Good luck with your treatment.

Thanks for the encourgement. It can sometimes be very frustrating to think that I have to work on myself daily yet I'm pursing a career where I'm expecting to be able to help other people. But, actually I am very good at putting my issues aside when I need to. I'm a natural caretaker.
 

OldPsychDoc

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marie337 said:
Thanks for the encourgement. It can sometimes be very frustrating to think that I have to work on myself daily yet I'm pursing a career where I'm expecting to be able to help other people. But, actually I am very good at putting my issues aside when I need to. I'm a natural caretaker.
I'm far more worried about my colleagues who *don't* know that they have to work on themselves daily. Living is hard work.
 
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marie337

marie337

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You are very right. I have definitely accepted the fact that living is hard work. I do believe that my experiences will help me in my career as long as I don't let things get too personal.
 

posternutbag

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OldPsychDoc said:
I'm far more worried about my colleagues who *don't* know that they have to work on themselves daily. Living is hard work.
Couldn't agree with you more PsychDoc. It is so incredibly important for us to work on ourselves and take care of our selves even as we are surrounded by other people's energies and torubles daily as psych residents.
 

meisteckhart

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marie337 said:
I have been seriously considering psychiatry, but I do have a weird setback. I have been in and out of therapy for several years for OCD and depression. I keep thinking that I won't be effective as a therapist since I can't even help myself. But, I think that I am better at helping other people than I am at helping myself. I was just wondering how many other psychiatrists and psychologists have been in the other chair, so to speak.
I just wanted to second everything that's been said, and add that I think many psychiatrists have a personal motivation for going into psych, whether it be family or friends who have suffered from mental illness or their own experience with mental health problems. My grandmother was actually committed and ended up dying in a psychiatric hospital, and it has been an important motivation for me. So has my own experience with depression and anxiety. You don't necessarily need to have such an experience, but I do think it makes you a better advocate for your patients and more empathetic towards what they are going through.
 

delusion88

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Is having a psychiatric diagnosis or fairly significant traumatic life event prerequisite to undergoing therapy? Do people undergo therapy to better their lives, which may not be terribly pathologic to begin with? :confused:
 
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marie337

marie337

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delusion88 said:
Is having a psychiatric diagnosis or fairly significant traumatic life event prerequisite to undergoing therapy? Do people undergo therapy to better their lives, which may not be terribly pathologic to begin with? :confused:

I absolutely don't think that's a prerequisite for therapy. I think the only prerequisite should be one's own feeling that they need another person to help them get through life for a while. In my experience, just having an unbiased third party to help make decisions can be extremely helpful. I think anyone who is in a stressful period of life could benefit from therapy of some sort. Personally, I don't like to talk about most of my problems with other people, so having an outlet that is confidential allows me to get things off my chest that would otherwise build up.
 

drzhivago1092

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You need not have psychopathology per se to benefit from therapy. Therapy on the other hand isn't just for the worried well, but it can be a growth experience. I had an attending who told me he would ask a program how many of their residents were in therapy. To me seeking help and seeking growth is a sign of good judgement, one shouldn't advertise it, but OTOH, one shouldn't feel shame, or stigmatize, esp since we're in the mental health field.
 

scienceguy

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GO for it !!!!

You will make an amazing Psychiatrist and physician, given you know how it feels, which will make a huge impact on some of your patierts