June 24, 2008

Health System Break-Down

I'm looking for a counselor.  Because even with a good job, interesting friends, a nice apartment that I share with easy roommates, and excellent health… well, I still sometimes wake up with a feeling of emptiness in my throat.


It's hard to make the initial decision to see a counselor.  It's not a stigma issue - I'm not embarrassed to ask for help.  This issue instead is: do my measly problems really justify wasting a professional's time?  I don't have post-traumatic stress disorder, I'm not recovering from abuse, and I'm not going through a unbearable divorce.  I'm just a 30 year-old girl who works too hard, tries to have meaningful relationships, and is looking for guidance in making the right choices.


I called a counselor recommended by a friend of a friend.  The receptionist was very calm and soothing, but immediately told me that the initial visit was $400 and subsequent visits would be $220…oh, and the doctor doesn't honor health insurance.


I looked for a few other providers listed on my health insurance's website, but:


1-a lot of them were male, and I would prefer to talk with a female;


2-the few that work in my area are HIV counselors, combined with a specialty in social work.  That comes with the territory I suppose. If you live in a depressed area, counselors cater to the neighborhood's audience.  I'm not really looking for someone who can help me come to terms with the fact that my no-good boyfriend left me homeless with three kids, and stole my stash.  I hope you'll forgive the oversimplification, but I volunteer in a shelter, and that's where social workers can really help.  My life is infinitely more boring and banal than that;


3-some of them don't take new patients.  This fact alone makes me loose confidence in their abilities. I mean, isn't the whole point of therapy to help patients with their issues?  In that case, why is the office so busy with old patients that it can't accept new patients?  Are their patients not getting better at all?


It's all pretty discouraging.  No wonder people don't seek help when they need it most.

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The Editor said...

Interesting post. This has been linked on The DC Feed.

congogirl said...

Any possibility of finding an MSW? I had good luck with that several years back, although it was not in DC, so maybe it´s different...

The Girl from Mozambique said...

MSW's are often highly qualified. Make sure you interview them first.