Dec 10, 2010
1
0
Status
Psychology Student
I'm a doctoral-level graduate student in clinical psychology. I've been having a rough go of things lately and have been having a lot of passive thoughts of self-harm. I don't know where to get help confidentially as most private practices in my city have at least one associate who is an adjunct clinical supervisor at my school. I"m also very acitve in the research community so I am also worried that if I seek help from someone, they may know (or know of) me or I will run into them at a conference. Suggestions would be helpful.
 

DrGachet

Removed
Nov 12, 2010
231
0
Status
I'm a doctoral-level graduate student in clinical psychology. I've been having a rough go of things lately and have been having a lot of passive thoughts of self-harm. I don't know where to get help confidentially as most private practices in my city have at least one associate who is an adjunct clinical supervisor at my school. I"m also very acitve in the research community so I am also worried that if I seek help from someone, they may know (or know of) me or I will run into them at a conference. Suggestions would be helpful.
Why don't you ask the program admin? Grad school is tough for EVERYONE and seeking help for mental health issues does not mean that you are not a good fit for the program or should not become a therapist. Not seeking help, however, may affect your work with clients and there are all kinds of ethical concerns there, as you know I'm sure.

People are more open-minded these days and some programs do anticipate such issues, so have particular therapists dedicated to such work with students. Don't let this develop into something unmanageable. There is also the medical leave option, as you know.
 

sunlioness

Fierce. Proud. Strong
10+ Year Member
Feb 23, 2007
1,535
766
Status
Attending Physician
Could you discuss it with your PCP? S/he might know of someone outside of your school's network.
 

Born2rumble1st

7+ Year Member
Jul 2, 2010
114
4
New York, NY
Status
Psychology Student
I'm a doctoral-level graduate student in clinical psychology. I've been having a rough go of things lately and have been having a lot of passive thoughts of self-harm. I don't know where to get help confidentially as most private practices in my city have at least one associate who is an adjunct clinical supervisor at my school. I"m also very acitve in the research community so I am also worried that if I seek help from someone, they may know (or know of) me or I will run into them at a conference. Suggestions would be helpful.
Having dealt with similar issues, I can understand why you might feel hesitant to approach someone in your program (or someone who you might encounter in a professional setting). As much as we would like to think otherwise, people have very strong opinions about those they perceive to be mentally ill, particularly in the area of self-harm. Knowledge inevitably affects the way a person judges you, and I would not want a person who could potentially have a say in my schooling, employment, or professional reputation in possession of this type of information.

Having said that, I'm don't have much in the way of suggestions for you. If you work in such an insular community as you are describing, it's going to be incredibly difficult to find someone who is not connected to you in some way. One way to do so, would be to contact a provider's office and specifically request someone who has no association to your university. However, that's not going to solve the general professional circles issue. Have you considered setting up a distance therapy relationship? I have no experience with that type of arrangement, but I have heard that it is helpful, particularly for situations like yours. I'm sure there's an online listing for therapists willing to set up phone or IM sessions. Or you could just call any therapist you are interested in and ask if that is something they'd be willing to do. If you have an old therapist, maybe that person would be the best one to try first?

Whatever you do decide to do, please get help in some way. Aside from ethical considerations, your personal mental health is something that should be your number one priority. Good luck and stay safe.
 
Sep 23, 2009
189
1
Status
Psychology Student
I don't think your circumstances are necessarily as unique as you would think. Lots of clinical psychologist trainees end up needing to seek out a therapist at some point in their training (or beyond, for that matter). As therapists, we are not immune to mental health issues--and therefore this issue comes up a lot. As a matter of fact, my program required first years to see a therapist at least for one session. There are, however, additional challenges with confidentiality and/or paths crossing like you mentioned. Keep in mind that mental health professionals seek services from other practitioners more often than you would think--any experienced therapist should be able to provide services to you ethically and confidentially, as they would with any client! That being said, as you mentioned, I would be careful about anyone who may end up being your professor. Not sure how you feel about master's level clinicians, but maybe you could consider seeking services through an LPC or LCSW, which should decrease the likelihood of you crossing paths with them and/or boundary issues...

I'm a doctoral-level graduate student in clinical psychology. I've been having a rough go of things lately and have been having a lot of passive thoughts of self-harm. I don't know where to get help confidentially as most private practices in my city have at least one associate who is an adjunct clinical supervisor at my school. I"m also very acitve in the research community so I am also worried that if I seek help from someone, they may know (or know of) me or I will run into them at a conference. Suggestions would be helpful.
 
Last edited:

futureapppsy2

Assistant professor
Moderator
Gold Donor
10+ Year Member
Dec 25, 2008
5,243
1,125
I have no experience with that type of arrangement, but I have heard that it is helpful, particularly for situations like yours. I'm sure there's an online listing for therapists willing to set up phone or IM sessions.
From what I understand, online therapy and, to a lesser extent, phone-based therapy can be on pretty thin ice ethically and in terms of best practices (due to inability to observe the client's physical behavior--and in the case of online therapy, their tone-- and issues of confidentiality, among other things). I know it is practiced, esp. in extremely rural areas, but I've heard mixed things about the ethics and best practices of such modalities.

This is a really tough situation, OP, and I really wish I had good suggestions for you! :( I agree that perhaps your school/program has a list of unaffiliated therapists. Maybe you could ask someone (faculty, staff) at your program if such a list exists or if they have other suggestions via a "dummy" email account, if you don't feel comfortable asking in person or having your inquiry linked to your name or email?
 

psychmama

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Aug 14, 2008
1,179
2
NYC Area
Status
Psychologist
Just to add to what others have suggested...While I wouldn't personally want to be a client of a therapist who worked in my program or was very involved with it, there are lots of us who wind up with therapists who overlap professionally or personally with people we know/have worked for/been supervised by. Most therapists I've met are sensitive to this reality and take great pains to maintain confidentiality.
 

Doctor Eliza

7+ Year Member
Jul 30, 2010
898
144
Status
Psychologist
Don't let these obstacles get in the way of you taking care of yourself. In my grad program, almost everyone was in therapy. The reasons were two-fold: 1. it was considered an important part of professional development and 2. my program could be described as hell on earth.

Some of my friends had therapists who were supervisors in our program, but they always found a descrete way to avoid having that supervisor/therapist matched up with the student. Some of my friends also were involved in professional organizations, went to conferences, and ran into their therapists. It was awkward, but ultimately not a big deal because they both had good ethics and boundaries.

I do think that the suggestion given by a previous poster to see an MSW has merit. I would think it would be unlikely for an MSW to be involved in your training. The only downside would be that they wouldn't have experienced first-hand the hell that is a PhD program (do you get that my program was pretty awful? :))

Honestly, therapy during grad school helped me deal with the stress and taught me more about myself. And it made me a better therapist myself. It was well worth the time and financial investment.

Lots of luck to you. Take good care of yourself.

:luck: Dr. Eliza
 
Dec 6, 2010
140
1
Status
Psychologist
Many clinical psych students seek therapy for their own personal and professional development. In fact, this is often encouraged. Even if someone related to your program is an associate at a practice where you're seeking therapy, that doesn't mean they're going to know anything about your case (other than perhaps the fact that they saw you in the waiting room) if you haven't consented for that info to be shared. Don't let this stop you from getting the help that you need. If you're really concerned, you could think about seeing someone a little further away or a clinical social worker (I agree about the downside, though).
 

Existenz

Clinical Neuropsychologist
5+ Year Member
Nov 6, 2010
248
10
I wish people would be more creative in user names, i'm not sure who is having SI; is it cilnicalpsychstud101, clinicalapppsych, clinicianpsych, or clinicalpsychgal?

In any case, look for a local sliding scale clinic outside of your school. It can definitely hurt you to have others know you were seen for SI.
 

Markp

Clinical Psychologist
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Nov 19, 2007
2,262
20
Status
Psychologist
I'm a doctoral-level graduate student in clinical psychology. I've been having a rough go of things lately and have been having a lot of passive thoughts of self-harm. I don't know where to get help confidentially as most private practices in my city have at least one associate who is an adjunct clinical supervisor at my school. I"m also very acitve in the research community so I am also worried that if I seek help from someone, they may know (or know of) me or I will run into them at a conference. Suggestions would be helpful.
1. Get some help.

You don't have to seek help from a psychologist, you have OTHER options, while a psychologist might be the most appropriate for your problems other professionals might be suitable for this as well. The one thing that comes to mind is pastoral counselors, these people are usually outside of the professional circle you normally float in and take their commitment to confidentiality seriously.

Good luck, whatever you do, don't ignore the situation, find a way to get the help and support you need. Put yourself first.

Mark
 

StudentBsMs11

5+ Year Member
Dec 12, 2010
46
0
Status
Post Doc
Many clinical psych students seek therapy for their own personal and professional development. In fact, this is often encouraged. Even if someone related to your program is an associate at a practice where you're seeking therapy, that doesn't mean they're going to know anything about your case (other than perhaps the fact that they saw you in the waiting room) if you haven't consented for that info to be shared. Don't let this stop you from getting the help that you need. If you're really concerned, you could think about seeing someone a little further away or a clinical social worker (I agree about the downside, though).
I would second this and state that in my own program and at my practicum site, myself and other students have been encouraged to try therapy ourselves purely for professional development purposes. It might be easier to frame it in this kind of context to those outside the therapy room, particularly for the purposes of finding a therapist with whom a dual relationship will not be an issue, than to say that you're genuinely having a difficult time.

Also, I would hazard a guess that many of your supervisors have themselves sought therapy at one time or another, particularly given that personal therapy was encouraged even more in the past than it is now. Have you ever read any of Yalom's books? He's very open about his (many) experiences in therapy.

Just my two cents. Good luck! :)
 
Dec 8, 2010
17
0
Status
Are there are any psychologists in your area that are not affiliated with the school? If there are, I would just call and ask to speak with them, then just let them know you are a student and any concerns you have about confidentiality due to it being a small community/city/whatever. If they give you a good feeling, then go in for a consult. If they don't give you a good feeling, try the next psychologist in the phone book.

Your confidentiality should not be an issue unless you consent for any of your personal information to be shared with a 3rd party.