wickedkatze (wickedkatze) wrote in bad_service,
wickedkatze
wickedkatze
bad_service

This is not therapeutic.

While I'm grateful for the free counseling services at my school, I don't appreciate the way this situation has been handled.



I called the counseling center at the beginning of the school year - mid-August - to see about getting an appointment; without going into too much detail, I've been fighting some social anxiety for the past year or so, and although it's getting better I still feel like I need help with it. I also have a number of other stressors that I have a hard time handling and cause me sleep problems on a fairly regular basis. None of these were adversely interfering with my life at the time, but I wanted to get in to see someone before they started to.

Anyway, when I called, I found out two things: 1) Although I had been a patient last fall before going off to study abroad, they apparently close out records over the summer, so I will have to start again as a new patient, complete with intake screening. Weird policy, I feel, but whatever, I can deal, it's a mild annoyance. 2) The first appointment they have available is September 14, almost a month later. I asked them if there was any way they could get me in sooner, and they said no, the first part of the school year is a busy time. I was a little skeptical about this, since if all the records were closed out, I find it hard to believe that only a few days after school had started, the appointments were all booked up for the next month, but I decided to take their word for it.

Fast forward to intake appointment day. I get in there, they hand me the paperwork I have to fill out, including a schedule form where I list all the times I'm unavailable, and a little booklet that tells about the counseling services. One of the first things I see - which I don't recall seeing last year - is a little piece about how if you feel you are waiting too long for an appointment, they will assign you an "interim therapist", a person you can talk with temporarily until they assign you to your permanent therapist.

Okay, so maybe that's my fault for not pushing the time issue further when I first called, but when someone's asking about a sooner appointment, wouldn't you think that's the kind of thing you should mention to them as an alternative? Just because I can survive being constantly sleep-deprived doesn't mean I want to. So that's the first b_s.

After I meet with my intake therapist, who I will call G, he asks if I would be willing to work with him as a permanent therapist. I'm comfortable with him, so I say yes, I think that would work. We talk scheduling, and it turns out all the times I'm available are the times he has scheduled for intake therapy. So it's not going to work. Oh, well. He tells me I should get a call by "Wednesday, for sure" telling me who I'll be working with permanently.

Today (Friday), not having gotten a call from the counseling center yet but giving them a little slack, I go ahead and call to check on the situation. The receptionist takes my information and tells me they're sorry for not calling, and that I will be working with...G.

I am confused, and start to say so, but the receptionist keeps going, trying to schedule an appointment. She lists the times that G is available, and sure enough, I am in class all of those times. I explain to her that when I last saw G, we had established our schedules wouldn't work.

Receptionist now seems very confused, and asks if she can put me on hold to find a supervisor to talk to about the problem. I tell her yes, and she gets back on the line about a minute or so later, saying the supervisor isn't in, but if she's back before the office closes at 5 she will talk to her and call me back right away. It's now about 4:15.

I get a call back just before 5, telling me that the supervisor hasn't come in, but if I'm not working with G, he will have to find someone else for me to work with, and she's not sure how long that's going to take. I'm supposed to call next Wednesday if I haven't heard from them by then.

Number one, G and I already decided we couldn't work together, so why did he write me down as working with him? Number two, why did I write my schedule down for you if the office isn't actually going to use that information?

Normally, I would not be too bothered about this situation, even though it is annoying, but by this point my sleep problem is definitely becoming disruptive - I've missed a couple of classes due to oversleeping and don't feel very alert or involved during the day - and I would really like to be able to talk to someone to work out what the source of the problem might be. (In retrospect, I should have asked the receptionist about one of those interim therapists; I don't know why I didn't think of that while I was on the phone.)

I've had less-than-optimum service with the counseling center before - the last intake therapist I had was oozing judgment when I told her about my problems - but since I'm on a student budget, the free counseling is really my only option.

(By the way, I blame G for this problem, or another unknown staff member who might have messed things up; not the receptionist who I spoke with. She seemed to be doing everything she could and was very apologetic.)



tl;dr: Counseling center therapist books me to work with him even after we've established I can't work with his schedule, making me wait even longer than I already have for a proper counseling session. Meanwhile, I can't sleep.

ETA: Thank you for all the suggestions about possible sleep aids! I think probably I'll just have to do some trial and error to see what works for me, and this gives me a good place to start.
Tags: first do no harm?, uncaring service
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