Posted by: TotallyShocked | 2008/05/29

Psychiatrist acting irresponsibly

I have a friend who was attacked (and thankfully not hurt physically) in Plett a few years ago, and the experience has really traumatised her. She is about to leave for a working holiday to the UK, however her panic attacks have started re-occuring frequently and she is constantly nervous and scared. Her parents booked her in to see a psychiatrist in Greenpoint/town area in Cape Town, which she did last night.
However, upon discussing how the session went, she informed me that she has been put on medication and told to come back in 3 weeks time. I was expecting some pretty intense counselling to take place over the next 2 months before she leaves the country, however it doesn't seem like this will be happening.
On top of this, upon informing the psychiatrist that she is pretty much petrified of African men, she was told that she should be, as 70% of then want to rape her!!! Add to that the suggestion from the psychiatrist that she purchase a gun and shoot to kill, as she will get off on self-defence......??!!!!! As someone lacking a psychiatric or psychology qualification, am I wrong to criticise and be shocked at these statements and suggestions to a highly traumatised and fragile woman?? And apparently she was told to leave the country, as she will be safe men in the UK (whether British, SA, Australian etc) not rape??? I have never heard such utter rubbish in my entire life. I am deeply concerned about her, and would dearly love some recommendations on alternative people to consult or give a second opinion on this matter. Surely professional psychiatrists should keep their personal beliefs and feelings out of any advice or comments given to patients? Will my friend ever again feel safe and happy in her beautiful country of birth? Well with so many people out to rape you....would you????
TotallyShocked, Cape Town.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Well, what you're describing sounds like an emotionally irresponsible set of comments from an inexperienced, maybe not well trained psychiatrist, legally and generally alarmingly naive, and perhaps somewhat personally disturbed as well. The extra personal and inexpert comments quoted would be unlikely to gelp a woman in her state.
Its not easy to be sure what the shrink was thinking. If he/she consider your friend to be suffering from PTSD as a result of the earlier trauma, the decision might have been to give some medication that can help that condition, and that perhaps the time available was not considered enough for necessary psychotherapy as well ( though I think at least some counselling could have helped, even in a short period ).
Maybe she should consider seeing another, better, local psychiatrist before she leaves, hopefully having a better experience.

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