Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I santorumed Dr. Incompetent

Dr. Incompetent's office is a block from my apartment. Despite that, we've rarely run across each other, until I saw her at shul on the second day of Rosh Hashana. I went to shul at the end of services so I could hear shofar. She was there and approached me and asked why I was there; I indicated I wanted to hear shofar and sat down and ignored her.

Usually that's all I'll see of her in five years, but then she turned up at a different shul on Simchat Torah. Again, I ignored her.

Apparently you don't ignore Dr. Incompetent. She wrote me a letter.

Dear Ayelet,

It's been many years since we've met, and I'm writing to you now for several reasons. Your blog entry about me as an incompetent, callous and hypocritical therapist pops up right under my name as an online permanent indictment.

In other words, I've Google-bombed her. Just like people who search for Senator Rick Santorum will encounter a naughtily nasty neologism, people who Google Dr. Incompetent's real name have seen my blog post about her (I included her real name in some of the comments to the post).

As the first result. Which I take a little pride in.

Although I don't challenge your assertion that I was not helpful to you (the treatment ended badly, after all)


as well as your perception that I was uncomprehending and even obtuse about what was going on with you and how to deal with it,  

I ended up in the hospital in a coma. You told my mother not to hospitalize me. Do the math.

I do have some different memories about our relationship.

Perhaps because you don't remember being tied to a bed with a ventilator down your throat. Oh wait -- that was me.

You were under the care of a psychiatrist, to whom I had referred you, who made his own diagnosis on the basis of which he prescribed medication -- on which you then overdosed. He presumably did not get it right either.

Damn right he didn't get it right either, but that doesn't absolve Dr. I of responsibility. As a clinical social worker, I am in frequent communication with my patients' psychiatrists. I spoke with one today and I'll probably call another tomorrow. I am academically as well as practically trained in medication management (practically because I've tried most antidepressants and mood stabilizers and my fair share of antipsychotics). I make it my business to know what they're taking, if they're having side effects, and if the meds are helping them. You don't have to be a psychiatrist to recognize when someone has decompensated.

I also made many attempts to reach your mother and sister because I was aware that things were not good or even dangerous, and we met several times, including on a Sunday or two.

Yes, we did meet several times, and I did not get better. And then you told my mother, "Ayelet's out of control" after I missed five or six appointments with you. Which you did not fail to bill me for, and I, like an idiot, paid the bill. You blamed me and not the illness. Certainly not yourself.

You may not have liked my style, or me but I was taken with your spirit and intelligence and very much wanted to help you -- although obviously that did not happen.

Flattery will get you nowhere. And the therapy probably went nowhere because the psychodynamic therapy you practice is 100% ineffective without a good therapeutic alliance. Even with a good alliance it's not that effective. (I think I've mentioned that Dr. Incompetence got her doctorate at The Bad Place, although I don't know if she studied under Drs. Dragon and Octopussy; I'm pretty sure Drs. A and Stone were there.)

Your suicide attempt came as a great shock to me, not only because of the action itself, but because I (and the psychiatrist as well) had no clue that this was where you were heading.

Such a shock that when I asked you for help in the hospital -- how do I explain this episode to my employer? -- you completely blew me off and had no suggestions for me.

I would like to ask you to consider removing the online posting about me, and if that requires expert technical intervention, I would be willing to pay for it.

Of course you would. You have family money and your husband is loaded. Which is why I just removed all references to Dr. Incompetent's real name from this blog. I can't afford to defend a libel suit. I've Google-bombed her since about 2009 -- that's enough. Unfortunately, even after I deleted the comments, the results are still coming up in the Google search. I guess I will have to contact Google for help with this.

But I will not take down the original post, or any discussion of her incompetent and ineffective treatment of me. People need to know that effective therapy requires a good alliance, and a good fit -- and that if you're not comfortable early on, you should try a different therapist. I felt an immediate bond and rapport with my individual therapist during my first hospitalization, and with other therapists as well. And I pride myself on establishing rapport with my patients, but I'm not always able to do that. (When I'm not, I try to find an employee that the patient actually does like and have them be the good cop when I meet with the patient again.)

It's clear that you felt/feel very angry at me, and if you are convinced that this online condemnation is my "just desserts," then there may be nothing that will allow you to look at things differently.

Still making it all my fault. If only Ayelet could see things differently, I wouldn't be angry at Dr. Incompetent for taking so much of my money and almost killing me. I don't like being manipulated.

Separate and apart from my request, and especially as we still seem to be neighbors, I would be interested in  meeting with you and trying to understand and learn from you what went so wrong. Perhaps these many years later, we might both get something from it.

Drat. She is appealing to my curious and vengeful side, offering me a chance to confront her and say all the saved-up zingers I've been collecting for more than a decade. Especially now that I'm an educated and (somewhat) experienced mental health professional.

I was inclined to consider meeting with her. Then she called and left a voicemail.

"Um, hi, Ayelet? It's Ida Incompetent calling. I sent you a letter on Friday, and um, I would really appreciate it if you could give me a call. My number is"

Don't push me. I just got the letter yesterday, and I got home too late to blog about it. I'm always curious to know what my readers think. Should I meet with her, or should I let sleeping dogs lie?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. ugh. what a horrible experience. my evil twin would write a very specific letter explaining the above and publish it somewhere she would be likely to see it, along with your professional mutual contacts. ( minus the names, of course)
    the normal me says its just too damn stressful to hate, go for a walk and have a glass of wine.
    hugs, dear!

  2. I think you need to leave it alone. Seeing her and engaging with her is going to make you angry and stressed. I think it's awesome that you were the top Google result (and you're protected from libel the same as any commenter on Yelp would be protected), and it's equally admirable that you made a point of expunging the record. Now you and she should part ways and she should not contact you again. In my opinion.

  3. She has NO business badgering you. She's being unprofessional. It is unethical for her to put her own interests above those of a patient, which also goes for former patients. She's certainly not contacting you for your benefit.
    She has NO idea what your stability is like now and whether her bringing up your previous suicide attempt might release dangerous feelings.
    If I didn't think it would be toxic to you, I would suggest you report her to a licensing authority for this unethical activity on her part. I do think it would be toxic to re-enmesh with her, so I advise against it.
    Remember, living well is the best revenge. Live as well as you can.

    1. Well put, anonymous. I hope she reads your comment :)

    2. I too hope she reads my comment to see what an unethical action she's pursuing here in contacting you. If I knew her name, I would have no problem adding to your Google-bombing. Her action is a massive boundary violation.

  4. Thanks for the post. I had been looking for something related and found your web site in the process.. I will definitely be back for more.

  5. Sorry to be late, just catching up. My son said that google updates its data pretty often and the deleted stuff will disappear by themselves, it may take a couple of weeks but probably not more.
    Agreed that asking to meet with you is a boundary violation. Hope you didn't go through with it.

  6. Did not meet with her. I didn't think it would accomplish anything for me, and yeah, it just shows how unprofessional she is. But if I'm not getting a refund, I'm not getting dressed to meet with her.