I am a clinical psychologist with 13 years in the field. I have worked with brilliant children, thieves, couples, Transgender, abuse victims and more. I am thinking about writing a book about my experiences. AMA

Anderson Garcia
Jun 27, 2017

As a psychologist with 13 years of experience, I´ve had a lot of experiences with wonderfull people that has come to share their lives, sufferings, joys and many other things with me. I think that all these stories need to be told, and I think this is a great way to start sharing them. I have a book in mind about the whole experience of being a psychologist and those stories, and how all that people has changed my way of seeing things, even the way I see psychology, and therapy

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Good luck with your book. 

What do you advice if we have a neighbor who has a gay and mentally challenged brother? Being gay doesn't bother me but the way he distracts and annoys other neighbors is somehow also affecting me because I chose to live in an exclusive neighborhood to avoid crimes, distracting people, etc. But now, it has escalated a bit but it is still tolerable for me. 

What advice can you give? 

Jun 28, 6:02AM EDT0

First I would ask you: what do you talk about when you say "mentally chellenged"? Was he diagnosed by a professional? Do you know if that´s a neurological condition? a medical condition? What kind of trouble is he causing?The second question I will do is: have you tried talking to any of them?

In general terms, The first thing should be totalk with the brother. Can he talk, right? If he can´t, then you could try your neighbor. Negotiating, talking with people should always be the first option, when possible. If that doen´t help, may be you could ignore them, may be he is just trying to get some attention and when he stops getting it he will stop?

Is he screaming, running around in the neighborhood? May be if several neighbors come together and talk to them in  a calmly manner he will undertand

Jun 28, 7:58AM EDT0

How much do you charge per hour session?

Jun 24, 2:42PM EDT0

I have a public office, where people doesn´t pay anything, and I have a private one. In the private one, I charge about 10000 Bs, which is half a week of minimun wage in my country (Venezuela). Putting it in dollars would be a complicated thing, because there are like 3 exchange rates... And that´s another story

Jun 26, 11:59PM EDT0

Have you ever gone on a date with a client?

Jun 24, 1:57PM EDT0

The closest I have been to that is dating the sister of a former client. She used to go with my client to my office, and after some months we dated like 3 or 4 times.

Jun 24, 11:57PM EDT0

What is the most common mental illness that you deal with?

Jun 24, 11:05AM EDT0

I dont like using that categories with every patient (DSM or CIE), using a particular label wont help the patient, unless he has the tools to deal with the stuff he is passing through. And you can give them the same tools, the same advice, withouth telling them that they are depressed or something like that. But if you want a label, I could come with two: in adults Anxiety Disorder; in Children, Attention Disorder.

Jun 27, 7:16PM EDT0

Is helping abuse victims get back on their feet especially rewarding?

Jun 24, 9:04AM EDT0

It is one of the most rewardings things of my work. Those persons have been mistreated without a reason, and have deep scars. Helping them to heal or at least start healing (some scars stay with you for the rest of your life) feels really good. A close second is helping teenagers to understand themselves and keep always questioning what they think, what they do.. But not "closing" their questions, their searches.

Jun 26, 2:17PM EDT0

Have you ever needed to see a psychologist yourself?

Jun 24, 3:10AM EDT1

Indeed. A few years ago I went to see a colleague of mine, I was severely depressed. About a year ago, I started going to a psychoanalist, and I still go to see her, on a weekly basis. I also check certain cases with colleagues from time to time.

Jun 24, 11:59PM EDT0

Did you do any research while getting your degree?

Jun 24, 2:55AM EDT0

I ve done two big researches during my academic life. To get my degree and to get my PhD.

The first one was about life stories of cocoa farmers and fishermans in a very small town in the north east of my country. We learned a lot about the culture of my country, and the way that values and stereotypes work in those conditions. It was done in a small and beautifull beach town called "San Juan de Las Galdonas".

The second one, that I just finished this year, was about the discourse of psychology as a hole, done by interviewing around 50 of my colleagues about a lot of topics like objectivity, differences between a psychologist and the rest of people, ways to work with patients, the scientific character of psychology, relationships between psychology and other sciences, etc.

I think I enjoyed doing both, but the first one was easier to do, in terms of being on the beach during the interview process.

Jun 27, 6:38PM EDT0

Do you have any regrets about becoming a psychologist?

Jun 23, 4:03PM EDT0

Not at all. I love all the experiences that I´ve had, all the learning that listening to people has given me, i love helping people to know themselves. May be I regret not being able to work full time as a psychologist, but that is a different story, linked to social and economical conditions in my country.

Jun 23, 9:57PM EDT0

What is your opinion on the prevalence of antidepressant prescription?

Jun 23, 1:27PM EDT1

Im not prone at all to medication of any kind. In my country it is not so common to prescribe antidepressive medication (in fact, it is not easy to even find it, I live in Venezuela). But my opinion is that talk is the key to healing. All the questions, and doubts that you can make yourself about your life, your relationships with others and with yourself.. all that is kinda closed when you give people medication. I think that sooner or later, the simbolic stuff that was making you suffer will return, so I preffer the talking part, and it reflects on my style as a therapist. im closer to psychoanalysis than to behaviourist psychology.

Jun 23, 9:48PM EDT0

What would you say your success rate with clients is?

Jun 23, 1:15PM EDT0

It is a difficult question, but I would say that around 70 or 80%. I dont have that kind of register. In my public office people comes and goes several times. Some times because they can´t even afford transportation, or jumping from their jobs to go to my office.

Jun 27, 8:01PM EDT0

Do you ever work with stupid children?

Jun 23, 12:20PM EDT0

If by stupid you mean people with a very low IQ, Im actually spending part of my time in an institution that works with children and teenagers that perform just below the normal level, and from time to time you find there some that belong to the Special Education System, as it is called in my country. I would say that, in this place, 20 or 15 % of the patients i have belong to that category. My work there is to diagnose and produce the papers needed to the change of System, and give the parents the propper guidance for acceptance and work with those children or teenagers.

Jun 27, 7:19PM EDT0

Do you think the field of psychology will change a lot from technology?

Jun 23, 5:18AM EDT1

I see two fields where psychology will be and is being impacted by technology: the first one is, of course, the therapy. Many people is offering on-line therapy, and the number is so big that APA has a department thar rules that field (on-line therapy). The other is data processing: with the availability of bigger and faster computers, the amount of data that you can gather and process will increase many fields and have a big impact on those fields.

I could name a third effect of technology and it is availability of results, magazines, investigations. The spread of the internet is helping a lot of third world countries to improve the way in which many sciences and professions are being done.

Jun 23, 9:34PM EDT0

How many years of schooling did it take to become a clinical psychologist?

Jun 23, 1:34AM EDT0

In my country, it takes only 5. You can do a Master in clinical psychology after your degree, but with only 5 years you can perfectly work as a psychologist in any field. I did those 5 years, then studied for several years with some Lacanian group, then did some research and study groups to learn more about tests and that kind of examination in children, because most of my work is done with young people.

If the question was about the "legal" needs, it only takes those 5 years in Venezuela to become a psychologist, and then you can work as a clinical, industrial, etc.

Jun 27, 7:23PM EDT0

Do you and a client’s psychiatrist ever have conflicting views?

Jun 21, 10:26PM EDT0

Most of my clients dont go to a psychiatrist. Those that go, usually go because i send them; usually when they can´t sleep or have certain symptoms that are obstructing their daily life. In those cases I´ve never had any conflicts with psychiatrist´ view. I´ve had my disagreements with a lot of neurologists, mostly because they diagnose patients without taking enought time; I mean they can send me a Attention dissorder diagnose after seeing a child once.

Jun 22, 8:40AM EDT0

Have you ever been intimidated by any of your clients?

Jun 21, 7:17PM EDT0

If you mean fear, only once I have felt that. The aggressiveness of one client was so big, that, even when it wasn´t directed to me, or anyone around me, that I knew he could do anything, a few things could stop him. He did a lot of jobs, one of them was to kill people.

Jun 22, 5:38PM EDT0

How many times per week does the average client see you?

Jun 21, 5:36PM EDT0

The average client comes to see me once, certain clients can come twice, for instance if they need a quick evaluation, or if they are in a really bad situation, but over 90% come once a week

Jun 21, 11:52PM EDT0

How long do you retain the average client for?

Jun 21, 4:49PM EDT0

I have two different answers for that question. I have a public (absolutely free) office, and a private one. I want to start by saying that I dont "retain" them, they choose to go and to stop going.

In the private one, I would say that the average will be about 2 to 3 months, with certain people going for a short period of time, for instance if they want an evaluation for their child (which will take 3 to 4 visits), and some other, going for 6 months or 8 months.

In the free one, I´ve had people going for a year, or people that comes and goes but had gone for 2 or 3 years. The average here, if you exclude those wanting an evaluation, will be like 4 or 5 months.

Jun 23, 10:23PM EDT0

Did any of your friends from high school also become psychologists?

Jun 21, 3:05PM EDT0

No. One of my friends from high school is now a psychiatrist, but no psychologists on that list.

Jun 22, 12:32AM EDT0

At what age did you know you wanted to work in the medical field?

Jun 21, 2:04PM EDT0

First, I dont consider myself as working in a medical field. A social field perhaps, but not medical. Psychology has fought (at least parts of it) to have an independent way of making things and to separate from that ideas where a doctor has all the solutions (and the knowledge), and the patient only has to let the doctor work. Psychology as I see it is supposed to work closely with patient´s ideas, feelings, values, etc. And the psychologist should abandon the role of the one that knows it all.

I decided that i wanted to be a psychologist just before the age I needed to start the university, around 16 years old.

Jun 27, 7:38PM EDT0

What illnesses or conditions do you specialize in?

Jun 21, 11:53AM EDT0

If you are asking me about a degree, mine is a PhD in social sciences. I could answer that I work best with teenagers, and with women. The most common troubles (illnesses is a way of medicalizing human stuff, I think psychology has an independent way to see, conceptualize and work with human issues) I have to deal with are depression, anxiety, social difficulties, and attention disorder in children.

Jun 27, 7:40PM EDT0
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