Dinah, ClinkShrink, & Roy produce Shrink Rap: a blog by Psychiatrists for Psychiatrists, interested bystanders are also welcome. A place to talk; no one has to listen.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
It Was Nice Meeting You
So Dinah, Roy and I ventured down to Washington DC to the American Psychiatric Association conference to talk about the use of computers in psychiatry. I was hoping to get a picture of our feet under the panel table, but that didn't happen. What did happen was that various Shrink Rappers met a couple Shrink Rap readers, and we appreciated the feedback you gave us. I hope our fellow psychiatrists enjoyed all the presentations at that session as much as we did. I personally enjoyed hearing patients talk about how online discussion boards helped them get better. That was pretty cool, and not something you hear every day. I thought it was pretty brave of them to put their histories out there in public, and I appreciated their willingness to do this for the education of psychiatrists.
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Sounds very neat. I must say that back in high school, when I wasn't allowed to see a psychiatrist or therapist, I had found an online depression support group chat on AOL, and it probably saved my life. I think Roy and I have discussed before how he was occasionally a guest on that chat, but I hardly ever attended guested chats. I learned a lot from that back then, even though I was too young to be really participating and it while it helped me, some of it was probably also a little bad for me! I was too young to really understand all the dynamics going on between adults with mental illness. However, I must say that while I couldn't get professional help, that chat group helped me get through some of the tougher times! Once I was allowed to see a psychologist my senior year, I still participated in the chat group on and off.
For headaches, being a part of an online community has really been beneficial. It has helped me to learn a lot, and enabled me to help other people. I've been involved in a couple of different online communities over the years of having the headaches, and have even gone to a convention for the one site where I got to meet over 100 people who either had cluster headaches or supported someone with CH. In the cluster world, those people have become my family. It really helps knowing there are others out there who are going through the same struggles that you are!
Take care and have fun!
It was nice meeting you too.
Sounds like a great time. I always wonder what an event like that would be like. So many shrinks in one place...
Anyways, what were the responses like from the other psychiatrists in your session when they heard about the experiences of the patients who participated in on-line chats/forums, etc? And in general, how comfortable were other professionals with using internet? I know my shrink has on many occasion suggested that I check out a website or research or article that he's seen or that's been passed on to him if he think's it's relevant to the situation or task at hand. It's the networking of the new millenium, no?
But is that the norm, or not?
I'm glad that was talked about at the conference. I know that for me, and online discussion board was a huge part of my support system and recovery. Some of the friends I made there are still a big part of my life now, and I anticipate keeping in contact with them in the years to come as well.
I am glad you had a such a rewarding experience.
I have tried online discussion groups but never found people in my situation so did not find them useful. Perhpas I don't know where to look. This site has been the most interesting in the psych arena for me.
I think it's sort of hit and miss finding them. It's almost more about the people then what you're actual problem is. I know I really didn't have a lot of people in the "same" situation as me on the board I was a part of, but we had a enough similar experiences to build relationships. That being said, I don't think that online support necessarily works for everything or everyone at everytime.
Rach: The response of the psychiatrists to the patients using the Internet and online forums (fora??) was uniformly positive. I particularly appreciated the patient who listed all the therapeutic things about the online support group but also acknowledged it could be used for procrastination too---kind of like blogging for me :)
TP (unfortunate abbreviation, sorry): Thanks
I went to the meeting and enjoyed meeting you all too! Thank you for the positive feedback you gave our presentation. Me and the others appreciated your support. I found out about My 3 Shrinks from attending the workshop, and I will be tuning in to your podcast as soon as I unpack my iPod.
Did you get the free laser pointer at the Lexapro booth?
I'm glad to hear the presentation went well. And I'm glad to hear you liked the presentation of the forum participants. I knew they'd do a great job. They worked hard on those presentations. I'm just bummed that I didn't get to meet you Clink. Meeting Roy and Dinah was both a treat and a shock. Definitely wasn't expecting it!
Green Tea: Welcome to the blog. Knowing you, I know you're going to like it here. You'll fit right in. ;-)
Oh Three Wise Shrinks, I crave a boon.
In the light of previous posts about inhuman psychiatry, could you please have a look at NPR's 'Two Families' story.
Then give me your reaction to the APA appointing Dr Zucker as chair of the DSM-V revision panel on Gender and Sexuality.
Bradley has been in therapy now for eight months, and Carol says still, on the rare occasions when she cannot avoid having him exposed to girl toys, like when they visit family, it doesn't go well.
"It's really hard for him. He'll disappear and close a door, and we'll find him playing with dolls and Polly Pockets and ... the stuff that he's drawn to," she says.
In particular, there is one typically girl thing — now banned — that her son absolutely cannot resist.
"He really struggles with the color pink. He really struggles with the color pink. He can't even really look at pink," Carol says. "He's like an addict. He's like, 'Mommy, don't take me there! Close my eyes! Cover my eyes! I can't see that stuff; it's all pink!' "
Still, Carol says, Bradley has made some progress. Today, he is able to play with boys. He has a few male friends, and has said that he now enjoys boy things. And there are other signs of change.
"I mean, he tells us now that he doesn't dream anymore that he's a girl. So, we're happy with that. He's still a bit defensive if we ask him, 'Do you want to be a girl?' He's like 'No, NO! I'm happy being a boy. ...' He gives us that sort of stock answer. ... I still think we're at the stage where he feels he's leading a double life," she says. "... I'm still quite certain that he is with the girls all the time at school, and so he knows to behave one way at school, and then when he comes home, there's a different set of expectations."
I confess I am too emotionally disturbed by this, too many really bad memories to be objective about it.
If I didn't know any better, I'd call this torture, child abuse, that will likely instill all sorts of nasty little neuroses in later life.
In my own situation, I can blame neither parents, nor therapists. I did it to myself, unable to wear even the palest of pastel shirts because "boys didn't do that". I was investing so very much of my psychic energy into trying to be a boy because I looked like one.
For forty-seven years.
I don't want other kids to be put through that. It's heart-wrenching to me, and I'm crying as I type, a sign my objectivity us hopelessly compromised.
Please, is there something that can be done? I know you're very small cogs in the very large machine that is the APA, but please look at the situation for yourself, and do what you can, if you come to the same opinion I did.
It does seem to be the case that, at least in the short term, Carol's son Bradley is struggling in some ways with Zucker's therapy. Carol says it was particularly hard at the beginning.
"He was much more emotional. ... He could be very clingy. He didn't want to go to school anymore," she says. "Just the smallest thing could, you know, send him into a major crying fit. And ... he seemed to feel really heavy and really emotional."
It doesn't go away. You just learn to hide it better. From others, and from yourself. I had a mild case compared to this child, too.
Projection, right? How do I know that what I felt 45 years or so ago is what this child is feeling? Every case is different.
I know Dr Zucker is acting out of the highest motives, and has far more knowledge than I do.
I know the parents are doing the responsible thing, getting the best professional advice, and sometimes you really do have to be cruel to be kind.
I of all people should know the price to be paid, the surgery, the sterility.
As a right-winger, I consider NPR to be only slightly more reliable than Baghdad Bob. We're not getting the whole story, only carefully selected parts that fit the predetermined narrative.
Nonetheless... how can anyone do something like this to a child, regardless of circumstances?
Mommy, don't take me there! Close my eyes! Cover my eyes!
Objectively, the child is becoming less functional, not more so, at least in the short term. Perhaps that will change.
I just can't get those words out of my mind though.
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