Quick Diagnosis Given

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. My girlfriend and I have had a lot of trouble over the past 5 years or so… No cheating, beating, stealing or the like, just “little things” that cause big problems. I’ve suggested couples counseling for years but she has turned it down every time until her son was in need of rehab in a place across the country. She agreed then and we began to go for our issues… we went a total of 5 times before she quit. She said it’s not working and isn’t going anymore. I’ve been told (after she goes to individual counseling) that I’m abusive… mentally abusive… I think that we have couple problems that need to be worked out to get rid of some of the “control issues” that I have. She told me to get an evaluation by a psychiatrist so I did… in about 10 minutes, with no real history, he told me I am depressed, gave me anti-depressants and I was out the door…. he told me to check in with him in about a month. I am a bit wary of this type of diagnosis. I think we have issues that need to be worked out… after 10 min. Can you give an accurate diagnosis? This seems to be all too common (giving drugs as opposed to communication & “work”) these days. I spoke with other professionals in the area and all of them seem to do business the same way… 30 min initial consult; 10-15 min. follow up in a month for management. Can this diagnosis be accurate if you don’t truly know the person? I’m all for drugs that help people, it just seems like they are handed out like candy and I’m not too sure if that’s the best solution either.

A. Unfortunately, you have experienced what many Americans face when they seek psychological help. It is far too common that an individual goes into to see their doctor, usually a PCP, stays for 10 minutes and leaves with a prescription. The main reason for this is that insurance companies generally do not like paying for individual counseling if they do not have to. Medication is much cheaper than hours of individual counseling. It is much more complicated than that of course but for many Americans, your experience is typical of what it is like trying to get psychological help. It is a sad state of affairs.

As an online therapist, I cannot give you a diagnosis. Just as it is unlikely that someone could accurately diagnose you after seeing you for 10 minutes, I could not diagnosis you from a short e-mail. What you need is to find a therapist who believes in talk therapy and who is willing to spend time with you, get to know you and work through your issues. There are still plenty of good therapists out there that believe in talk therapy. You have to call around, talk to them on the phone, ask about they way they conduct therapy. Choose the one you are most comfortable with. Don’t give up looking, just be patient and keep looking until you find a therapist you like. I hope this helps. Take care and good luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Nov 2006

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2006). Quick Diagnosis Given. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 11, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2006/11/12/quick-diagnosis-given/