Can I Go to Another Counselor?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I spoke with a Clinical Pyschologist around 2 yrs ago when I having trouble with what I felt was mild pyschosis from pot withdrawal. I was told that my issues were not pyschotic and more likely that I had an anxiety disorder. I nearly laughed in her face, and consquently never returned.

The question is do I need to go back to discuss the possibility of a personality disorder, or can I go straight to a counseller? Obviously I’m still having issues… and my partner has pretty much told me to get better or get out…

A: Of course you can go to a different counselor. However, your letter doesn’t tell me whether you and Counselor No. 1 had an in-depth discussion about her assessment. I’m curious why she thought you had an anxiety disorder and not what you expected. Aren’t you? Was she wrong or was she unable to explain things to your satisfaction?

I hope you will go into your next interview with a counselor with an open mind. If you get a diagnosis that is surprising, take the time to talk about it. Did the counselor not understand something? Did you not think to give her or him a piece of information? Usually it takes a few sessions for a complete picture to emerge. Have patience. Give as much information as you can. And approach the conversations with curiosity, not a foregone conclusion. Coming to a mutual understanding of the diagnosis is the first step toward good treatment.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 17 Mar 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Can I Go to Another Counselor?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 31, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/03/17/can-i-go-to-another-counselor/