Saturday, August 05, 2006

Patience Patients, a Rant by T.D.

Today something happened that has NEVER happened before.
I'm throwing it out there for comments.

I've been real busy. New patients call every few hours. Usually, if I can see them, I'll schedule them. If I can't get them in relatively soon, I'll refer them out.

Today I got a call from a woman who sounded shy. She said she might be a new patient. I really did have time to talk to her (about five minutes, but that's TIME). At that moment someone knocked on the door. When that happens it means a new patient is early, or confused, what-ev. Established patients only knock when it's THEIR TURN. I told the woman on the phone to please hold.

It was something different, something I had to attend to for several minutes, something I can't go into now. I completely forgot about the phone. When I returned to my desk, I continued doing what I do between patients, billing, writing, entering patient data, filing. The usual.

Suddenly I heard her trying to get my attention. I picked up, realized what had happened and apologized profusely.

That wasn't good enough. "Well, DOCTOR (snide). That isn't good enough. I'm calling the health insurance to complain about YOU."

Well, Okay, I said, thinking, Do what'cha' gotta do. I heard her click off and I hung up.

She called back while I was with the next patient, about a minute later and left this voice mail. DOCTOR F. . .YOU HUNG UP ON ME. (actually, I thought she hung up first). I'M STILL CALLING THE HEALTH INSURANCE ON YOU!

Readers, I can't tell you how grateful I am that I learned about her BEFORE I saw her as a patient. She's probably litigious and difficult. There's much to teach about borderlines, and I'm going to get to that real soon.

By the way, I started another blog, When Therapists Blog. I want to keep posts on that a little shorter. Like this one belongs there, too. To get there, click on that link. The new posts need editing, I know, but be patient.

Copyright 2006, Therapy Doc


Kelly DeVere said...


Thank you for sharing your experience! I am a new Professional Counselor to the industry and knowing what I will encounter in private practice is exciting and overwhelming.

I have the privilege of interning at a location that houses low-level functioning mentally ill clients. I have not meet a client with borderline yet, however, I am told that the hair on the back of my neck will stand up and I should refer out! I have also been informed that if you do not "piss off" your borderline clients they are not making progress. Her lack of patience is "her issue". Way to go!

I look forward to hearing your comments on this client and others.

All the best,

Kelly DeVere

Therapy Doc said...

Hi Kelly, Welcome to the club. There's so much to say about this particular disorder. There's a difference between labeling their behavior, confronting them, and pissing them off. I try to avoid the latter at all costs. It's not worth aggravating anyone. Stay tuned for a story that illustrates just this type of client soon. And good luck! T.D.