the user-led self-injury organisation.

  • UK
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Don’t be afraid to change medical professionals

If you see a GP or counsellor under the NHS – it is your NHS – owned by the country, working for you.

If you are seeing someone privately – it’s your money. You are the customer.

The first counsellor I saw via the NHS had me in tears after the first session, and not for the right reasons. For me, he was awful. We spent most of the session in silence as he waited for me to say something. For some people this method works – they want to fill the silence, or relish the time as their chance to speak. For me, I have no problem with silence. I needed someone to prompt me, to ask me questions, to encourage me to speak, even if it’s just about the weather.

The next day I went back to my GP, explained what had happened and asked if he could help me get a different one. He did, and she was fantastic. She had me in tears after some sessions too, but for the right reasons. Tears brought on from the natural process of partaking on a course of counselling.

My GP surgery has a policy where you register under a certain doctor, but you’re free to see anyone within the practice. I’ve seen several there when I haven’t been able to get an appointment with my preferred GP. There’s a few I would chose never to see again, and will opt to have an appointment and day or two later rather than have to. The others are okay as a second choice. But it’s my choice.

And it’s your choice. If your doctor or counsellor suggests you do something you don’t want to do, then don’t do it. Obviously there are often things we don’t really want to do, but are in our best interests to. I’m talking more about doing things before you are ready. For example, the GP I saw the other week suggested it might be time to start lowering my anti-depressant dose. I said I would think about it after my wedding. You don’t have to do everything they suggest.

Remember, these are all individual people. They bring their own methods, ideas, attitudes and personalities to the table. Find the one that works for you.


  • Wedge

    It’s great that you took control of the situation Elira, well done you!

    Maybe the psychiatrist has learnt a valuable lesson and you can forgive his / her blunder and see them again? After all, s/he’s bound to be more considerate from now on.

    Our guidance on talking to healthcare professionals is at:

  • Lady_Elira

    This is such a timely post for me! I saw a psychiatrist the other week and he asked to see my cuts. In the past I have always been afraid to say no to authority requests but for the first time I asked “why do you need to see them?”. He answered “so I can write I’ve seen them on your letter to your GP”. I was so angry and upset. That’s no reason to put me through that distress! So I said no and that was that. I am not seeing him again and that it just one of the reasons why!

  • BPDlasthouse

    Thanks for this. It is very much a topic on my mind at the moment. Good to read your thoughts on it.

  • Jules

    It’s great to hear you thoughts, experiences and knowledge Rachel, thank you for sharing. I’m sure your article will be interesting for our members, and hopefully it will help some people to realise that they have more choices than they might have previously been led to believe! :)


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