Psychiatrists. Many of us need or want to see one, but let’s face it, we often find them intimidating. And for good reason- they are brilliant. As a professional and a consumer, I have had the privilege of working with neurologists, surgeons, oncologists, etc. Yet none have impressed me quite as much as the psychiatrist. They blend the art of psychiatry with the art of psychology most fluidly. They are strategists, comedians, and actors. They have the uncanny knack of keeping calm and straight-faced in the most bizarre of circumstances. They are contemplative yet straight-forward, involved yet detached, sophisticated yet humble. Though trained in the “objective” medical world, they work amidst a sea of subjectivity, calling for unmatched creativity. Some of us fear them because we think they can read our minds (ha!), we are afraid of what they will do with our darkest secrets, we perceive they have so much power. Yet ultimately, they are human, and not so hairy and scary after all.
In order to grasp and achieve recovery, a good doctor/practitioner is essential. But how do we go about finding a good one? A good place to start is to visit a trusted site like that of the American Psychological Association or Psychology Today (website info at the end of this blog). They have excellent practitioner bios and highlight areas of expertise and treatment philosophies. Honestly though, you may just have to contact the customer service number on the back of your insurance card. This is fine, you can still check out their record on your local state medical board site. You may be pleasantly surprised, I have had the same treatment team for 12 years and they were found this way. I thank God for them, for they have influenced me psychologically, medically, and spiritually.
Here are some qualities to look for when you meet your potential candidates:
- It’s in the eyes. Eye contact, eye contact, eye contact.
- Warmth. They will shake your hand, and smile. They will lean in toward you when you are conversing.
- A great sense of humor. If they can’t laugh with you, move on to the next candidate.
- The ability to quickly and succinctly sum up a problem, and make practical suggestions.
- Firm boundaries that will protect you from exploitation.
- A sense of respect for your confidentiality.
- An ability to listen well and set you at ease (remember, they have heard and seen it all, there is virtually nothing you can say to shock them, and they will let you know and feel this).
- A warm and friendly support staff.
- An emergency plan for after hours.
- Good resources.
So what does this have to do with shoes? The ultimate quality: the ability to put themselves in your shoes. Empathy. The Golden Rule. They will “get it”.
My Johns Hopkins-trained psychiatrist wears fabulous suits with colorful ties and shiny shoes. A colleague wears neutral GQ-like attire with funky, funny, colorful socks. And my nurse-practitioner, um…. fabulous!!!! Diane Von Furstenberg-style wrap dresses with the most marvelous pumps. They also give compliments freely, which relieves a great deal of anxiety. Says my doctor: “Look at you, your lipstick matches your coat: I am writing in your chart PATIENT IS ABSOLUTELY NORMAL”. LOL
If you are feeling less than confident about your appointment, in preparation, try a swipe of a brightly colored lipstick. It will help with confidence and convey hope. A great pair of funky, bright colored shoes mixed with your neutral outfit, or vice versa, will do wonders for your confidence as well. But most of all, whatever clothes or shoes you wear, walk yourself to that appointment, no matter what.
And if all else fails, there’s always polka dots. Polka dots always make things better.
Now get to that appointment!
xxx ooo~ Carol
The American Psychological Association- http://www.apa.org
Psychology Today- http://www.PsychologyToday.com
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention- afsp.org, 1-800-273-TALK