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Switch to Forum Live View Can I ask my therapist for my file?
6 years ago  ::  Jul 12, 2008 - 2:35PM #1
katieray
Posts: 22
I have been in and out of therapy most of my life but I have never found a therapist I really like.  Most of my therapists have taken notes during every session but I have no idea what they were writing (Does anyone know what they write?  The word "boring" a hundred times over, perhaps?!  Is it for their own benefit so they don't confuse me with all their other patients or is it deep insightful top secret information about my psyche that I should be vying to see?).  So can I ask to see those files?  How long do they keep those files in their records?  I would like to go back to the last couple therapists I've had and ask to see them but I don't know if I am allowed to and I don't want to make a fool of myself.

Please respond.  Thank you.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 13, 2008 - 6:31AM #2
Karma_yeshe_dorje
Posts: 12,406
G'day katieray:

[QUOTE]I have never found a therapist I really like.[/QUOTE]Maybe you don't have to like them. I expect that your inability to like people, may express something about your behavioural health.

[QUOTE]my therapists have taken notes during every session but I have no idea what they were writing[/QUOTE]Pluck up the courage to ask.

[QUOTE]what they write?[/QUOTE]I have occasionally seen my psychologist's scribbles, but I usually avoid looking!

[QUOTE]boring[/QUOTE]I expect this should principally be symptomatic.

[QUOTE]Is it for their own benefit[/QUOTE]My psychologist and physician have needed to summarise all their verbiage in medico-legal letters.

[QUOTE]so they don't confuse me with all their other patients[/QUOTE]Not so in my case. My psychologist's other psychological clients tend to have very different problems. Sometimes one of the officials who deals with me has to write to another one. They usually summarise progress and apparent effectiveness of treatments.

[QUOTE]is it deep insightful top secret information about my psyche[/QUOTE]"Secret doctors' business", I recall a patient-activist having described this approach to information!

Should you end up in court over any of this, your lawyer can ask for copies of files. I have in the past had loads of run-ins with authorities! But the nitty-gritty is often only useful in hindsight.

I encountered lots of stigma from employers back then. When I found documentary evidence of this at that time, I confronted my ex-head-of-department with it. He became irate, and I had to rush round to another official apologetically afterwards!

[QUOTE]I should be vying to see?[/QUOTE]If you are politically disadvantaged, yes. For example if your employer is trying to sack you because you have a mental illness, and you are protesting!

[QUOTE]can I ask to see those files?[/QUOTE]This is generally court business. If your new therapist advises your lawyer to sue your old therapist for incompetence....

[QUOTE]How long do they keep those files in their records?[/QUOTE]At my doctor's suggestion, I enquired of my late uncle's medical records--without success!

[QUOTE]I would like to go back to the last couple therapists I've had and ask to see them[/QUOTE]Because behavioural medicine is very emotional, I suggest only summary hand-over reports such as one official would give to the next.

[QUOTE]I don't know if I am allowed to[/QUOTE]You should be able to get general summary reports. For example did diagnostic opinions differ?

[QUOTE]I don't want to make a fool of myself.[/QUOTE]I suggest you visit a community advocate.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 13, 2008 - 6:24PM #3
katieray
Posts: 22
Hi Karma,

I'm new here.  How do you do that where you have portions of my text printed on lines that say "quote"?

I'm not sure I follow some of your answers, for example when I ask how long they keep my files, you respond "At my doctor's suggestion, I inquired of my late uncle's medical records--without success!"  I know nothing about your late uncle so I have no idea how long ago that was.  Also, when I said I don't want to make a fool of myself you said you suggest I visit a community advoate.  What's a community advocate?  Anyway, you didn't need to aswer every single line.  I was just explaining things, that's all.

Oh, and BTW, I suppose I phrased my opening statement incorrectly - I know I don't have to like my therapists.  What I meant to say was that I didn't find any of them to be of any benefit to helping me find solutions to any of my problems or to helping  me progress in any way or to make me feel any better at all.  I leave therapy not really knowing myself any better.  I want help but then when I go I sit there and tell my story and I go back week after week and I just get frustrated because nothing ever comes of it.  I spend money and I don't even get support.  I tell these therapists things that happen to me and they seem to act like they don't even believe what I'm saying or they tell me my perception is wrong but how can they make such a claim when they aren't even there to see what happens and how I am treated?  Anyway, I don't mean to bore you. 

Thank you for responding and I hope to hear from you again.
Katie
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 13, 2008 - 6:28PM #4
ManzanitaBear
Posts: 946
Generally, they're supposed to keep files for five years after therapy is terminated.  Or, if the patient is a minor, for a certain period of time after the patient turns 18, so they can access their files when they're an adult.

Although those requirements may vary a bit from country to country.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 13, 2008 - 7:39PM #5
Karma_yeshe_dorje
Posts: 12,406
G'day katieray:

[QUOTE]I'm new here.[/QUOTE]Visit the New Members Forum.

[QUOTE]your late uncle so I have no idea how long ago[/QUOTE]Such an enquiry may be unsuccessful.

[QUOTE]community advocate?[/QUOTE]A disability support agency paralegal.

[QUOTE]you didn't need to aswer every single line. I was just explaining[/QUOTE]To prevent receiving solutions, refrain from presenting problems.

[QUOTE]benefit to helping me find solutions[/QUOTE]Some problems are insoluble!

[QUOTE]helping me progress in any way or to make me feel any better[/QUOTE]You seek feel-good.

[QUOTE]not really knowing myself[/QUOTE]Practise meditation, guided in a group.

[QUOTE]I want help[/QUOTE]Your personality is dependent!

[QUOTE]nothing ever comes of it.[/QUOTE]Nihilism.

[QUOTE]I spend money[/QUOTE]You are not indigent.

[QUOTE]they seem to act like they don't even believe what I'm saying or they tell me my perception is wrong[/QUOTE]Freud refused to believe his upper-class female patients' descriptions of having been molested as children.

[QUOTE]they aren't even there to see what happens and how I am treated?[/QUOTE]You are unwilling to leave a situation despite considering it unsatisfactory. Perhaps your behaviour is passive.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 13, 2008 - 9:35PM #6
MarleneEmmett5
Posts: 1,704
[QUOTE=katieray;620387]I have been in and out of therapy most of my life but I have never found a therapist I really like.  Most of my therapists have taken notes during every session but I have no idea what they were writing (Does anyone know what they write?  The word "boring" a hundred times over, perhaps?!  Is it for their own benefit so they don't confuse me with all their other patients or is it deep insightful top secret information about my psyche that I should be vying to see?).  So can I ask to see those files?  How long do they keep those files in their records?  I would like to go back to the last couple therapists I've had and ask to see them but I don't know if I am allowed to and I don't want to make a fool of myself.

Please respond.  Thank you.[/QUOTE]
Katieray:
I wouldn't see why you can't ask your therapist for your files??? If they won't give you the "original" then say that
you would like to have a copy.Check under "the patient's bill of rights" it should tell you if you can ask for your
files,photos and other things pertaining to your treatment.
Ask your therapist if you can see the file if you can??? The worst he can say is "no" ~ but then he may say "yes".
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 15, 2008 - 8:23AM #7
Karma_yeshe_dorje
Posts: 12,406
My worker's compensation insurer's files for me are [COLOR="Red"]huge[/COLOR]!

As a health care consumer representative, I have commented on hospital psychiatric nursing policy. Unfortunately those paraprofessionals wrote in jargon! Like you need a hospitalese dictionary to comprehend it.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 16, 2008 - 7:19PM #8
PuddleGlums
Posts: 2
Hi katieray,
You have a right to your records.  I guess there might be a situation where the therapist thought that to release them to you might be harmful, but that would be for someone else to decide (a judge).  I believe that this has to be provided at no cost to you as well.  If you "google" under "protected health information" you will probably be able to find the information you need regarding this.
PG
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 16, 2008 - 9:21PM #9
Karma_yeshe_dorje
Posts: 12,406
Welcome, PuddleGlums:

[QUOTE]the therapist thought that to release them to you might be harmful[/QUOTE]The officials who made obstacles for me, were trying to protect [COLOR="Red"]themselves[/COLOR]!
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 22, 2008 - 5:09AM #10
katieray
Posts: 22
Thank you to everyone who responded.  I am glad to hear I have a right to my file.  That's what I wanted to know because if I didn't have a right and I asked and then was told I had no right, I would really feel stupid and embarrassed.  But I don't know if I really have the courage to ask for my files anyway.  For starters, I can't just show up at the door - well, I guess I could but it would be rude.  So I would probably have to put in a phone call and wait and wait for a response and during that time, the psychologist could easily alter my file.  Or if I did show up at the door and really did get my file on the spot, I don't know if I could handle all the insults that would be written in the file about me.

Karma,
I'm still not understanding the support agency paralegal thing you speak of.  How do I find one and how does it work?
You say my personality is dependent.  I have to agree.  One of the things my therapist said was that I have no support.  I never have my entire life.  I have no friends and I don't get along with my family.  So I think when my therapist told me I needed to find someone who can be a source of support for me, it made me even more dependent because ever since I have been trying to find someone and can't.  I even try to be support for other people first but no one ever wants anything to do with me.  Anyway, so I guess it's a bad thing to have a dependent personality so now how am I supposed to get rid of the idea that I need support?  Or do you think my dependent personality is innate?  And the same thing with my passive behavior - although I'm not sure my inability to leave a situation despite it being unsatisfactory is passive.  It may actually stem from the opposite.  Anyway, do you think that is something that is innate?  How can I change being that way?
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