Are You Afraid of Your Doctor or Therapist?


The following article is from a wonderful newsgroup moderated by Dr Sam Vaknin I subscribe to, which offers so many informative articles its hard for me to choose which to re-post.

I have spent my fair share of  time in the hospital due to a rare genetic blood disorder I inherited from my fathers side if the family. My condition puts me at high risk of developing blood  clots, and so each time I’ve had clots move into my lungs, it couldve been fatal.

That being said, admittedly, I have also developed a fear of hospitals. I’m not necessarily afraid of the doctors, after all, their expertise saved my life each time. But my fears cause me to feel anxious when I talk to my doctors. So this article really caught my attention.


It seems many people are afraid of their doctors. After all, the doctor is an authoritarian figure. A recent study published in the May 2012 issue of Health Affairs reveals people don’t want to appear as “difficult patients.” Appearing stupid in front of the doctor is also another concern. Patients are also afraid that if they challenge the doctor, the doctor will enact some form of retribution. (See the discussion on being afraid of your doctor on our Google+ page.)

None of this is good because in dealing with a mental illness, you need to be educated and able to ask questions of your doctor or therapist. You also have the right to not only discuss the doctor’s treatment recommendations, but you should feel free to say “this is not right for me. Here’s what I’m thinking.”

Talking to Your Doctor or Therapist

So how do you get to that point where you feel comfortable dealing with your doctor?

Dr. Patricia Salber, author of “The Doctor Weighs In” blog, suggests you research your illness prior to your doctor visit via the internet, talking to other patients, even getting second opinions. Then write down a list of questions or concerns, so you’re prepared.

Remember, the doctor’s time is limited.

If you feel the meeting is important, bring a friend or loved one who can advocate for you and/or take notes as needed.
I’m going to pass on a fourth suggestion offered up by our social media manager, Amanda Collins:

“I think the important thing is to change the way you look at your doctor. If you see your doctor as a god, then where does that put you? On the other hand, if you view him/her as a respected member of your treatment team and a person you pay for advice, then you have all the rights that go along with that.

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