Reporting Those That Treat You Inappropriately

Dainty

Senior Member
Messages
1,751
Likes
2,511
Location
Seattle
I thought I'd share with you my experience with a bad psychologist and getting the situation taken care of through reporting her.

I've been in the process of applying for SSDI for a while now, and a few months ago had my psychology evaluation. Being incredibly naive, I had posive expectations despite some of the stories I'd heard, because I had also heard many positive stories from people as well. I even told one friend that i was looking forward to it! So when the psychologist called to discuss the logistics of the meeting and treated me very inappropriately, her behavior was a shock to my system.

The evaluation was called off, and with the help of my caretaker I reported her, giving a list of examples of how she acted unprofessionally, negligently, and even possibly being intentionally abusive. As a result a different psychologist was put on my case, who turned out to be perfect for it. He made no assumptions, treated me with kindness, respected my limitations, made positive comments throughout, and at one point said something like "I don't even know why I'm here." :D It was actually a pleasant experience! I dare say that having this psychologist evaluate me as opposed to the first probably made a considerable difference in my case.

So I want to encourage anyone going through the process to report disrespectful, inappropriate, and unprofessional behavior by those evaluating them. It could really make a difference, not only for you but also for anyone else that person evaluates in the future...with enough complaints they'll have to stop doing it, and hopefully a nicer person would be asked instead.

Here's a copy of the report that I wrote:

Problems with the psychologist:

When she left me a voicemail earlier, she had requested “would you please call me sometime or have your mother call me” in order to work out details about the meeting, yet when she called back later and I informed her that I had delegated that task to my mom she insisted that she had to get the information from me. I find that behavior considerably disingenuous.

When she persisted even though I informed her it would be stressful for me, I reached the logical conclusion that there must be a good reason that I could not pass this task onto my mom, and thus I felt like I had no choice but to go through with the conversation myself. Later when I remembered the voicemail and listened to it again I realized there was no such reason, since she had clearly given me the option of having my mom take care of it. Thus she knowingly caused me unnecessary stress.

Sometime in the conversation she informed me that she, too, has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. As such she should be well informed of the established fact that stress universally exacerbates the symptoms of CFS. Since I have been diagnosed with severe CFS, her firsthand knowledge of CFS should have caused her to be overly careful about causing me undue stress; she has no excuse for not acting accordingly. In fact, it hard to not draw the conclusion she was being intentionally abusive.

When I said that I’ve passed that task on to my mom because it would be stressful for me at this time, she said, “I need to talk to you about your mom.” And went on to inform me that I was an adult (as if I were not aware of that fact) and that “this evaluation has nothing to do with your mom.” We repeated this dance multiple times throughout the conversation, since every time I requested she speak with my mom about something she would say these sorts of things. I find those statements from her completely inappropriate because:

o We were not doing an evaluation at the time
o The information she was requesting had nothing to do with psychology
o She was communicating the notion that me being either unwilling or unable to discuss these details with her was a maturity issue. Her words strongly indicate she had decided before even speaking with me that there was a problem of too much dependence on my primary caregiver, who happens to be my mother. It is extremely unprofessional, if not downright negligent to reach any conclusion in the field of psychology without first evaluating the person.

Her attitude and tone of voice throughout the conversation, though not definitively impolite, was forceful, dismissive, and devoid of respect. I felt like she was mentally attempting to overpower me, which was the thing that was most traumatizing because I don’t have much cognitive stamina. As an example, when I told her the meeting would be outside and she said she could not do it outside, I informed her that if it cannot be outside then there isn’t a way for the meeting to work. Her response was something to the effect of “you’ll just have to find a way to make it work.” That is what I mean by forceful, dismissive, and devoid of respect.

It should be noted that previous to this encounter I had positive expectations of the psychology evaluation and of whoever my psychologist might be. Her behavior took me completely by surprise. In fact, throughout the phone call and even afterwards I was earnestly working to give her the benefit of the doubt. I thought that the forceful tone must simply be her personality, I thought that she didn’t understand how badly stress affects me, I thought that having to talk to me must be a legal issue of not hearing that I had given permission for my mom to answer for me. So throughout the conversation I couldn’t put my finger on any outright mistreatment and I didn’t try to because I assumed the best of her, that it was an innocent misunderstanding.

Immediately after the conversation was over I called my mom, intending only to inform her that there was a problem with the logistics of how I was going to be able to meet with the psychologist and that I needed her to sort it out for me. But when she answered and I started to speak I completely broke down, too upset to even finish my sentence. My mom came out immediately, concerned that there was a physical emergency. I was shaking and crying uncontrollably. It took a while before I could calm myself down enough to explain to her what happened.

For a time I was perplexed at my response because I had consciously made so many excuses for her that I couldn’t define exactly why the conversation was so traumatic for me. It was only after I was able to think back over what happened that I could pinpoint exactly how her behavior was inappropriate, and that is what I have written down here.

The stress of the encounter caused vomiting as well, about half an hour or so after the phone call.

I have written this document out of extreme concern for anyone else under the care of or being evaluated by this psychologist. I was not asked to write this by anyone, nor did I consult with anyone while writing it. I have done so at considerable cost to myself only because I am determined to do my part to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else. Even now, a day after the incident, I’m involuntarily trembling as I recall the ordeal. Please do not take this report lightly.
 

Stone

Senior Member
Messages
371
Likes
12
Location
NC
Good for you to take up for yourself and others who may not be able. I'm sure it did take a lot out of you to do so but you did the right thing. I'm glad you had a better experience with a decent psychologist. It makes all the difference. Way to go!
 

Esther12

Senior Member
Messages
13,774
Likes
28,348
Great work. A lot of us have been treated badly so many times that the idea of complaining about it seems absurd.

I'd expect a GMC reply of : "Of course you're treated with disdain, you're a CFS patient."

It's good to stop your expectations getting that low.
 

zoe.a.m.

Senior Member
Messages
368
Likes
28
Location
Olympic Peninsula, Washington
Kudos! I reported a "licensed counselor" in WA state and the person assigned to investigate was very interested and helpful and made me realize just how fully I'd been taken advantage of, abused and mistreated. Oddly, some time went by and I heard nothing again. Months later I received a letter saying the complaint had been dropped! I called the state and asked for info and was told that, although her conduct was worthy of a serious consequence, with the laws changing this year for counselors, they couldn't "punish" her before the changes went into effect and therefore it was dropped. She said I had a good case to go to a civil case--as though I have that kind of time and money! So, bizarrely, she got away with her record unmarked because of a technicality and I still wonder how many people have gotten away with similar things?!
 

muffin

Senior Member
Messages
940
Likes
15
Agree with GlenP. If she is out on the doctors' review sites, then make it a point to nail her for her horrible behavior.
I am so sorry you went through this. I know that when we are so sick that we feel terribly vulnerable and the littlest thing can cause a collapse. I cried at the SSA office BECAUSE they were NICE TO ME!!!! I was ready to be beaten up and attacked as usual. But those people were so kind that I just started crying. Odd, but I was so sick I could barely sit up and my poor husband was frantic over me and the whole proceeding.
I would nail this women so badly everywhere I could. You did the right thing in reporting her. You saved many others from her and maybe other nasty, sick people like her. What gives with these people? Aren't they supposed to be kind, caring and professional???
 

Sean

Senior Member
Messages
7,378
Likes
18,042
What gives with these people? Aren't they supposed to be kind, caring and professional???
They like to call it 'tough love'. Which is really just a pathetic excuse to cover their ignorance and incompetence, and their lack of basic ethics.
 

Dainty

Senior Member
Messages
1,751
Likes
2,511
Location
Seattle
Thanks for the support, everyone!

I'm glad you were able to get this bully off your tail. Who did you report her to? (No name, just a position or office or something so we know how to do it ourselves).
My mother (caretaker) reported her to my case worker at disability, and sent in the portion I had written. I don't know if the report got passed on any further than that. The case worker, who had been very accommodating up until that point, started to become a bit frustrated....apparently this psychologist had flown out to see me, so it was a big inconvenience. And when my caseworker saw what I had written, she said, "Oh, she's so eloquent, a short conversation over the phone should have been no problem for her!" :p

Due to my severe MCS the meeting had to take place just outside my house, and knowing how difficult it is to get doctors to do house calls I could understand how hard it must be to find a psychologist to come visit. However, apparently my case worker neglected to inform her of the necessity of it being outdoors, and after we reported the first psychologist and canceled the meeting, I guess that was hte last straw. "You can't expect someone to be outside in the wind and pollen and everything!"

Thankfully, my excellent caretaker stood her ground and politely informed her that we are not going to risk my well-being in order get disability income, because my health isn't worth that (which I fully and completely agree with). At one point in the conversation my caseworker said, "I can't ask someone to do that." And my caretaker said something like, "Okay, then we can't move forward with this application." The caseworker: "Wait! I didn't mean that...." :rolleyes:

I do feel badly for requiring such accommodations, but I require them nevertheless. I wish it were optional; it isn't.

I'm sharing this, again, to encourage you all to fight for it. It wasn't like I reported the psychologist and they immediately apologized and offered to send another one...I (and my caretaker) had to make it clear that sending a different psycholoist was not optional. Honestly, I'm not sure that the report was made to the right person as far as official complaints go, and if someone wants to comment on that I'd welcome it.

I do hope I'll have the mental stamina to report her on the website mentioned here, but at the time I just wanted someone official to have a written record of complaint pertaining to that psychologist, and to never have to speak with that psychologist again.

It's actually been months of silence on their end since my psychological evaluation with the good psychologist, so I hope everything's good with my case.

Sounds like your ex-psychologist needs to go see a psychologist to cure her false illness beliefs. ;)
Hahahahahaha. :D
 

glenp

"and this too shall pass"
Messages
776
Likes
17
Location
Vancouver Canada suburbs
I wanted to post something possitive. Its very difficult to find a psychiatrist who can help us.

I have had CFS symptoms progressing from childhood. I wasnt diagnosed until in my 50's when sent to a wonderful psychiatrist. He left to pursue his specialty in geriatrics, dementia, alzheimers etc in those over 65. I saw his replacement who knew nothing of CFS and then another psychiatrist who said that I didn't need a psychiatrist. I persued it and went to the man who sets the criteria for geriatric psychiatry here, saying that I am only 60 but my brain is that of a much older person with dementia. I am so happy I got a call Friday and am going to be able to see him again. He is top rated on the psychiatrists at www.ratemds.com. I check that out when getting referred. We don't need the stress of ones that will not help us. Many geriatric patients get help from psychiatrists with their chronic conditions.

glenp