"I feel very disappointed and unhappy with the service I received"
About: Inclusion Matters Liverpool Inclusion Matters Liverpool Liverpool L13 1EH
Posted by catty22 (as ),
My G. P referred me for counselling in Aug 2013 I received a phone assessment in September. Due to a high demand for the service I waited until March 2014 to start my sessions.
My first session I was very nervous and apprehensive, my reason for counselling still being very raw coming to terms with a diagnosis of premature menopause (pof) causing infertility. I knew I would find talking about this difficult. I was fully aware that it would not be a fun process to resolve the grief and make sense of the situation.
My first session I was late. This was fine my therapist understood. I had gotten lost on my way. I cried a lot of tears on my first session and my therapist was empathetic, understanding and genuinely interested and attentive. She explained I would have six sessions, with a possibility of more if it was felt it would be beneficial to me or required. I enquired about CBT which was suggested on my initial phone assessment after the counselling sessions should I require them. The timing of my sessions was a bit awkward for me juggling childcare university and work. My therapist agreed to look into the possibility of arranging an appointment which would suit me, which she kindly did for me.
My second app I was late again. I did not make excuses. I was honest in my reasons explaining I do not like coming to sessions, I find it all very painful, questioning myself as to is this why I am late. My session was fine in the sense my therapist was understanding and empathetic towards me, although there were silences where I felt unsure. It felt uncomfortable for me. I understood this possibly to be part of the counselling process, where I can reflect. I explained to my therapist emphasising it was no disrespect to her, what I felt I needed, and have felt this way since being diagnosed, that I needed to talk to someone who has been through this, or is going through an early menopause to talk to who understands it and all the implications I am trying to come to term with: the infertility side, the symptoms, the hrt etc. Along with how alone and isolated I feel in all of it. My therapist kindly agreed to look into support groups available for me to discuss at our next session.
My third appointment I had to cancel due to study commitments, in university the following day after my session I was informed I had a week to plan and present a power point presentation to a group. Something I have never done before so I called to rearrange my session within the 24 hrs notice timeframe. Unfortunately my therapist was unable to reschedule. We agreed to meet the following week my usual day and time.
The following week school decided to have a strike on the day of my appointment. I had no alternative childcare, so again I called to cancel my session and possibly rearrange again giving plenty of notice, more than 24hrs.
The day before my next session my therapist called to remind me I had an appointment and make me aware if I again cancelled I would be discharged. I assured her I would attend.
I attended the session although I was 10 mins late again. I explained it wasn’t deliberate I had left in plenty of time it was due to public transport. All was fine and before we started my therapist informed me that she should have discharged me back to my G. P as I had cancelled twice. I explained again why and how I had called to cancel or rearrange giving more than 24 hrs notice on both occasions. To which she apologised she said I had, it was her mistake. I then explained to her how I was concerned as I needed to rearrange all of Aprils appointments if possible as I have a problem with continuing to see her on a Wednesdays during this month due to my manager putting me a on shift every wed which is usually my only day off due to changes in the service where I work. Her reply to this was that she was going to suggest that this was our final session anyway, and how did I feel about that?
I must have looked confused or bewildered at this question. She then asked me have I felt any benefit from our sessions. I replied I don’t know, I am not sure how I should be feeling, or how do I know if it is working? She told me everyone is different and there isn’t an answer, she explained she is aware how difficult I find it and did not want me to continue with something that made me feel uncomfortable. I explained that I knew it would be hard, uncomfortable for me to address issues I find painful, that I expect this is a part of the process. We agreed to have my final session the following week.
I then shared with her how I had felt previously before my appointment, the weeks I had not attended. I told her it was a good job I hadn’t been the previous weeks as she would have probably referred me for a mental health assessment. I told her how I had been feeling extremely low. I told her I had stopped my HRT (hormone replacement therapy) as I felt this had caused me to feel this way, I emphasised that it was after stopping them I felt like a blackness had lifted from me, I told her I could feel the difference in my emotions and ability to function since stopping them. I explained that looking back I had felt like I was slowly drowning day by day in blackness. I told her I hadn’t been back to my G. P as she may say I should have persevered with them for another month, and I know my own body. I went on to say I know it is a possibility that it is stress or depression due to all the commitments and pressure I am under as well as dealing with menopause symptoms, I told her that is what I am struggling with discerning which it is:- stress, hormones or depression. To which she went and got me a leaflet about worry.
By this point I felt uncomfortable not because I did not wish to engage or utilise my session. I did not feel listened to, in all honesty things just did not feel right. I just wanted to get out of there. I am sure my body language expressed this. I finally found the courage to say I think it is ok for this to be my last session.
My therapist seemed relieved at this, she informed me that should I feel I needed more sessions in the future to go back to my G. P to be re-referred. To which she added I shouldn’t wait as long as I had previously for a new referral, as a lot more counsellors have been recruited. I proceeded to fill out the form that is required each session to asses how I have been feeling. I don’t know why I asked, but I asked should I answer how I feel today or how I have felt in the last two weeks as I feel better today than I have in the last two weeks. She said to fill it in how I feel now. It was only as I was filling it in I questioned myself. The form asks for this information for a reason I felt I was being dishonest with myself, I am also aware of how vulnerable I felt previously and how detrimental this could be to the help I would receive if I am not honest regarding how am feeling and my mental health so I proceeded to answer the rest truthfully.
Before I left I referred back to the possibility of trying CBT and did she think this may benefit me, she told me she wasn’t sure if she could she refer me and to see my G. P I reminded her it was mentioned in my initial assesment and at our first session. I asked could she refer me internally. We ended our session and she agreed she would look into referring me for CBT telling me she will write to me to inform me.
It is only on reflection I feel I need to share my experience. Not because I wish to paint a bad picture of my therapist. I feel it is important this information is shared with her also, to allow her to reflect on her practice.
I do not feel I have gained anything positive from my session, I feel disappointed. I embarked on something I found difficult, which I knew would be painful. I am left questioning myself feeling even more isolated in my situation.
Furthermore the one thing from all of this that most concerns me is the fact I expressed how low I had felt. Although on the day of my session I was not as low compared to how I had been previously feeling. The fact remains my sessions were concluded on a note where I had expressed my vulnerability, it remains unknown if in fact the hrt was the cause or not. In light of this and my expressing I was not sure if I felt positive outcomes from my sessions, I do not feel it was in my best interest to end my sessions. I do take responsibility for my part in their ending. However I am the user of the service not the professional.
I am well aware reading this back it may seem I was not fully committed to my sessions. I assure you this was not the case. I genuinely wished to utilise the service I was offered. I am sure it is understood in the kind of therapy also how hard it is for some people using this service to engage in something they find painful, along with managing other commitments.
I have since received a letter from my therapist informing I will not at this time be able to have CBT as three months has to take place between therapies. I feel very disappointed and unhappy with the service I received.