Seeking Support, Answers

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

As it turns out I have social anxiety and don’t know who I am. I’ve lived a sheltered life, homeschool and had my Mom who is not divorced from my Dad follow me cross country to undergrad who I felt I had to constantly support.

I’ve had my head down for the last 5 years in a depressed relationship trying to get into medical school. I dropped out recently and am realizing all my shortcomings that I have felt since I was 7 not being normal but being convinced otherwise. I don’t have experience or interest in my undergrad degree and my life is in transition and depression. Med school had made me consider jumping off bridges to avoid the stress.

My question is while working through all this personal growth my PsyD says “you have to trust this process and that you’ll get through it with hope, otherwise is there is no hope, suicide is always an options”. Is this an appropriate thing to say in a counseling session?

A. I am glad you are receiving help. It is the right way to approach this situation. You recognized that you were depressed and appropriately sought help.

However, if you are correct in quoting your therapist, there may be a problem. No mental health professional should ever suggest suicide as a potential option, especially to a client who has considered “jumping off bridges.” Therapists in the United States are legally bound to report the suicidal behavior of their clients. It would be both unethical and illegal for a therapist to suggest suicide to their clients.

Perhaps there was a misunderstanding or a miscommunication. I would recommend asking your therapist directly if that is what she said. If you’re certain that is what she said, then it would be in your best interest to seek treatment from a different therapist.

Not all therapists with the same degree are equally skilled. Some are better than others. That should be common sense. Not all surgeons are equally skilled. When people look for a surgeon, they look for the best or the one who is recommended the most. Also, not all surgeons are best for every type of surgery. A heart surgeon would likely not be the best for knee surgery. All that is true for the surgeon is true for the therapist.

Therapy is effective. Don’t hesitate to try another therapist and keep trying until you find the one that is best for you.

A good therapist will help to make the proper adjustments in your life to bring you happiness. You need to find who you are and what is right for you. This is not abnormal. Perhaps you have lived your life so far attempting to achieve the goals and accept the behaviors and thoughts of your parents. What is right for them is unlikely to be right for you. What is right for your brother or sister is not likely to be right for you. You are unique. Your path is unique.

I hope this problem is resolved expeditiously so that you can receive the happiness that you deserve. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 14 Mar 2013

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2013). Seeking Support, Answers. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/03/14/seeking-support-answers/

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