Clueless rich psychiatrists

Yesterday I met with my psychiatrist, Dr T. She told me she had sent off another referral to my psychologist, R, as we’ve reached twelve for the year. “So I can have another six sessions for the year…” I enquired. Dr T confirmed yes, after that Medicare doesn’t provide a rebate. “And then next year we only get ten sessions…” I stated. She again replied in the affirmative. I told her that there doesn’t seem much point in continuing therapy if I’m only going to get ten sessions out of it. She started describing to me the benefits of attending long term therapy as opposed to short term therapy. “My recommendation is that you continue to see R [after you’ve used up your Medicare rebated sessions] and that your parents pay for it.” Right. Easy for her to say. I told her I’d feel too guilty to do so and I can’t justify spending $165 per session when I’m only paying $10 now. She tried to reason that I haven’t even asked my parents so I can’t know how they’d react if I brought it up. Yeah…but no. “Who pays for your private health insurance?” she then asked me. “I do,” I replied pointedly.

She’s not the one who grew up with my father, being made to feel guilty and undeserving. Memories have stuck with me all this time. Being driven home by my father after a psychiatrist appointment two years ago and being told in an accusatory tone, “We’re already spending all this money on your psychologist and psychiatrist appointments.” Being scolded by him when my grandparents offered me pocket money and being instructed that I must decline instead. Being told that I was “being selfish” and to “think of mum, working hard to earn this money,” when I was attending dancing lessons for $10 a week which resulted in me quitting because I felt too guilty. Him getting angry at me as a little girl after a shopping trip with my grandparents, because I finally accepted their offer of buying me a $20 pair of pyjamas, after shaking my head “no” to many other offers. Is it any wonder I refuse to even contemplate asking my parents to pay $165 per hour session with R, especially when I don’t even see any real benefits of going?

Oh how clueless the rich can be. It’s no wonder Dr T doesn’t get why I’m so hesitant, why I’d feel too guilty to bring this up with my parents. She earns $305 per hour! And not only does she earn that much, but her husband’s a psychiatrist too. So of course her kid/s would have none of those financial problems I face. Gosh, imagine having both parents as shrinks though… *shudders*.

10 thoughts on “Clueless rich psychiatrists

  1. Oh yes, how clueless the rich can be. They have no idea what it’s like for ‘normal’ people. Her children won’t even understand if they were denied to buy a 300$ pyama! Sometimes I wish that these people were just pulled back to the earth, where the ‘average’ people live, if it’s only for a day. See how they survive.

    If you think about it, we have so much to be proud off. It’s one thing surviving in this world with its economy if you have an average paying job. It’s a whole other thing if you’ve got that, plus a whole bunch of shit on your shoulders that you have to carry around everywhere you go.

    We do that, and we keep going!


    – Prozacblogger

  2. How clueless! Not only the money, I think, but also sounds like your psychiatrist doesn’t understand what it’s like to have a dysfunctional family. The number of friends and MH professionals who seem to think I can just talk to my family…um…no. I would never ask my parents for money for anything, ever – much the same re: guilt.

  3. I know exactly what you mean. When I was seeing Dr D from the same hospital group as you, she would scoff at my saying I couldn’t pay for my lamictal which is $140 per 56 days. I can’t afford that and she would say stuff like, well if you can get your hair done, you could use that money instead or your mum can pay for it. I said NO. She wouldn’t listen. That’s why I went back to my old psychiatrist, where I only pay up to a max of $27 and he is taking me off lamictal because of me saying I can’t afford it and we have a plan in place. He has known me for 14 years and just knows me. He also listens to me, which is the most important thing for me. The fact that medicare is changing the 18 sessions to ten is bullshit. I mean geez, what happened to all that new funding for mental health that our government said it’s going to give us. Not happy!

  4. Ugh. I’m sorry Dr. T wasn’t understanding of your financial situation. I hate that there are barriers to healthcare. It just doesn’t feel fair that some people are able to get the help they need and others aren’t.

    Wishing you well,

  5. You should really consider seeing someone other than a psychologist. I gather it can’t be that much different in Australia than the US/Canada. Seriously, social workers are just as good or better, and it’s way cheaper.

    It sucks about how your dad reacts. Even without that though, it’s definitely a difficulty for most people to foot the bill for private help. Are there any public options open to you at all?

  6. trying to continue the optimistic angle by commentators- have you tried contacting mental health organisations for support on this one? Not that they’d have cash or anything, but you’ve presented a reasonable case for why the private sessions aren’t viable (whether or not it’s true) and many of the whitecoats -who will have studied before medicine got so thoroughly privatised in Aus- won’t have a framework to help patients negotiate this issue, so need to be told.

    Your other option is to go completely bonkers and end up long-term hospitalised. Cost to taxpayer of that? infinitely more than that of a bit of long-term therapy before things got that bad. grr, I wish I was a healthcare economist, except I couldn’t cope with the reality of decisions made in view of short term political gains. It’s only people’s lives at stake, after all. Good luck, hun!

  7. It is so frustrating and wrong that getting decent psych care can be such a challenge. Sometimes it seems like the only people with full access to the best psych care are bored upper-middle-class businessmen and trophy wives who go to therapy “because everyone’s doing it”, and celebrities making PR appearances in rehab.

    Are there sliding-scale clinics where you are? In the US, there are some that operate on a pay-as-you-can basis, and although the docs can be hit or miss, there are some GREAT ones, and you can pay as little as $5 per session for an unlimited amount of visits.

  8. How clueless. I still find it difficult to believe that mental health professionals have no idea about financial or family problems. It always makes me wonder why they wanted to become a psychiatrist/ psychologist/ social worker…

  9. Mental healthcare is crappy here in the US too. The cost is so prohibitive and there is no guarantee you will get a good therapist. I have paid for many, many awful therapists. And it sucks that if you get lucky enough to find a good one, you can only afford a few sessions anyways. It is so frustrating.

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