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The Patient/Doctor Relationship



ball_with_halo   The GOOD!. . .

    little_devil_ball   The BAD!. . .

               demon_image   The UGLY!. . .

                               . . . .AND. . . .    

                                    . . . . . The TERRIFIED!


ball The Good!

Ask anybody who has had need of psychiatric care of one sort or the other what it is they find most disconcerting and it's likely they'll say it's the inability to find that one good doctor. Below are some clues and tips about what kind of qualities a good doctor ought to have.

Now That's A GOOD Doctor!

ball Some signs of a good doctor are:

  1. Returns calls according to need (emergencies first; routine calls last).
  2. Admits when he/she is perplexed by a symptom, but offers to get back with you on it and does.
  3. While always the expert, he/she treats you as though you too may know something about this illness and your own body and mind.
  4. Doesn't rush you and isn't quick to write out a prescription without due caution.
  5. Never crosses professional boundaries of personal space unless warranted.
  6. Never uses the threat of institutionalisation to achieve compliance with drug or psychotherapy.
  7. Is eager to have significant others form part of the treatment team.
  8. Is willing to go the extra mile for you when it's important.

This last is difficult to quantify, but the best example I can give is one from my own doctor. I had to leave Australia quickly (12 hour notice) and didn't have time to refill my prescriptions before going. When I arrived in the states I immediately tried to get a refill, but ran into a multitude of difficulties since US chemists/pharmacists wouldn't accept the script from my Australian pdoc without a FAXed authorisation. Since there was a 12 hour time difference, it took my doctor doing an early, early FAX (and doing it twice because the US pharmacy gave him the wrong requirements) to get me sorted out and once again with drugs. Now that REALLY is a GOOD doctor!


ball The BAD!

Fortunately for us, this section and the UGLY one will be rather short. There aren't that many really bad doctors, but there are some troublesome characteristics that, depending on your personality, may be more or less tolerable. Here's a few:

  1. Makes a habit of not returning calls.
  2. Gives no, or poor, feedback.
  3. Is unwilling to listen or discounts what you have to say.
  4. Consistently launches into tales of his/her own personal woes while ignoring yours.



ball The UGLY!

There are precious few UGLY doctors, something for which we can all be thankful. But despite their rarity, the topic does warrant our attention because of the sheer amount of damage one of these bad actors can do. Here are some truly crucifiable offenses:

ball The Terrified!

No matter how tough you think you are, your first visit with your psychiatrist(s) will be excruciatingly uncomfortable and anxiety-ridden. Following are some tips on how to prepare for that visit (assuming you had a choice that is), and things you can do to get you and your doc off to the best possible start.

How *Not* To Be Terrified...



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