Uncomfortable Psychologist: HIS WAY OR NO WAY.

by Sarah
(Amsterdam, NL)

Living in Amsterdam and originally coming from London, I found it rather difficult to find a fluent English speaking psychologist. I deal with severe anxiety so it takes a lot for me to go and speak to someone about my issues.

Now, after being referred to by my GP, I thought finally, someone who speaks fluent English. He had studied in New Mexico but was of Dutch origin. Now, everyone speaks English here, literally everyone to a pretty fluent level, but I wasn't going to speak to someone about the depths of the human psyche in a foreign language, so that was my decision, seemed reasonable enough. I was specifically told that this psychologist would have no issues with that, so I was really happy and incredibly hopeful.

So, on the day itself, I had a panic attack, was really uneasy, so I took a cab there instead of walking to meet my Dad there. My boyfriend came with me as well as a sign of support. Meeting the guy, we all introduced ourselves in Dutch, (just a natural instinct). However, I alone, went upstairs, and sat down.

It was very apparent that I was nervous. I was shaking and fiddling with my ring. Psychologists are also supposed to read body language, judging by his next actions, it was very clear he wasn't able to do so or was willing to react accordingly.

He began in Dutch. I quickly informed him that I preferred speaking in English and told him why. He carried on in Dutch anyway, saying that my Dad spoke dutch and my boyfriend spoke dutch, so why didn't I? My dutch is at a standard level. But, I'll go back to my point being, I didn't feel comfortable doing that since it's a foreign language. And, as if my family had anything to do with my therapy.

I told him it was completely irrelevant. In a rather polite but diplomatic way. He said that it's better for him to speak Dutch. I thought, but who's having the therapy here, you or me?
I said again and again, I don't want to speak Dutch. But, he wouldn't listen. He kept making assumptions and nervously laughing every time I tried to tell him something in English.

He also brought up medication. I am strictly against it. I don't judge anyone else who uses medication but I don't want it for myself, personally. And, that was the first thing he brought up. Legally, you're only allowed to bring up the methods of medication after 5 or 6 sessions once you know the individual well enough, it was just like a quick, easy option for him, it felt like he didn't care at all. I told him, I didn't wanna talk about it anymore and that it was just a no go for me, after having listened to him explain the pro's and the benefits, so I was being fair, I felt.

But, he proceeded to talk about the medication. He said: 'Okay, so what if the therapy doesn't work? Will you still not think about medication'. Yeah, thanks for the vote of confidence, Doc. To which I replied: 'Well, I'd like to think you can help me with that'. It's not even been 30 minutes and he's already trying to write me off! But, he looked at me, perplexed and let out a 'Hmmm...' very doubtfully. So, that scared me off if nothing else would.

Eventually, he asked me for my contact details, and I started reading my number out in English. He stopped me, interrupted me, to ask me: Sorry? What? And, I sighed and began reading the numbers out in Dutch. He interrupted me again and said: 'Ah, dat's beter' which in english translates: 'Ah, that's better'.

No one has made me feel more uncomfortable in my life and I've seen many therapists/psychologists. It was a disgusting display of so-called professionalism. It was like he was constantly trying to win one over on me.

Needless to say, I am still looking for a therapist. Had another AWFUL experience today, but you'll be hearing about that in another entry. :)

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