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therapist from hell!! points to watch out

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ok guys.

thought I`d share as briefly as i can the surreal experience with a so-called reputable naturopath i had the other day.


I`ve had depression, and have been taking supplements for the last 4 months. I wanted a naturopath to listen to the supplements that i was already taking, check out my diet and my general state of being, and tell me whether I was on track, and if not, explain where I was lacking and how to fix it.


He was going to be $120/1.5 hours, plus additional `product` expenses. The follwing are what showed me what an incompetant, unprofessional, money-making, disorganised guy he was.


1. As most naturopaths do, he had asked me to send him a filled questionnaire of my health and medication before our appointment. HOWEVER, when I got there, he lied about having read it. (You could tell he had no idea from the questions he was asking, and the reactions to those questions. Plus he lied about not reading it until I proved him wrong whereupon he went silent)


2. So he spent at least 20 minutes ($30 for me) asking me lots of questions including many that I had already answered in the questionnaire. He completely ommitted many questions which should have been relevant (eg. what has your diet been like these last few days, what has your mood been like lately, how do you compare feeling in the morning with at night etc. absolute standard questions from any decent pro on depression)


3. When I mentioned that I thought the cause of my depression had something to do with a breakup, he immediately went into counselling me for about 20 minutes. Very badly, too. Basically, he asked me if I had many friends, then told me I should join a social club. That was it. Another $30 for me.


4. At teh last 15 minutes, he did a blood analysis, bringing a slide of my blood up on screen and pointing out what each cell meant, and what was deficient. He went through it really quickly, didn`t explain then went straight on rushing around the office picking up about 4 bottles of supplements which he printed out an invoice for, and booked me in for two sessions for a thing called microcurrent treatment, which he barely explained. I explained to him twice that I needed to be well-informed before I could justify trying something, but he again would not explain properly, and I was rushed out, being told that he had a phonecall he had to take.


5. I called him the next day and told him simply: I`m sorry but after researching and talking to a few people about my session with you yesterday, I don`t feel like you diagnosed me properly, and I don`T think I need at least 2 of the 4 supplements you sold me. I would like my money back please. Immediately, he responded by saying: `certainly not!` Then proceeded, in an extremely defensive manner, how it was all because of my condition that I thought he wasn`T good, that I had such bad memory and concentration and I didn`t remember half the things that happened in the consultation..OMG Then, he said that I had no right discussing things that he had said to anyone else, and that I needed to trust him (?!?!). Bloody hell. ](*,) Then he said that I had to trust him, and that unless I trusted someone I would end up going around in circles and never be better. What the . Manipulation is an understatement.


Geez. If that was even 1 month ago I think I would have been persuaded, but at this point I can see the swindler for what he is. I am trying to get my money back, though he did ring back and offered just to give me $150 back for the products. He tells me the rest I can`t have back because it was time that I contracted. . I contracted his service. Which was severely under par. He better be scared because I`ve got 3 avenues of action I`m going to take against him.


So beware everyone. This guy uses the right professional grade supplement products, he claims to have been practising for 20 years, and have dealt with and cured hundreds of depressed people, has a degree, and is part of a naturopath society thing. I thought I had asked the right questions, but he has also set himself up pretty well. My advice on finding a good therapist:


1. Ring a naturopathic education centre, ask a lecturer for several recommendations. Do this for several schools.


2. Check out naturopath societies via citizens advice bureau, and check out their websites for lists of people. Or call the president of the society for recommendations.



3. Ask the naturopath:

-how many people with depression have you treated in the last year? How many have you completely cured? Would anyone of them be willing to talk to me?

If they give a definite number (say, 6) then it`s good. Even better if they can describe briefly the kinds of patients they`ve had (manic depressive, now they check in every 2 years). If they are iffy, then hang up right there.

-what can I expect in a first session? Should be at least a health check and listening to history of condition. Come away with some initial things that may help, but check in in 2-3 weeks time again. education and explanation of the mechanics of the symptoms, and tips on how to improve them.

-how much it will cost? Well, another naturopath I rang later cost $50 for 1 hour.


that`s not everything; just what i`ve learned from my nice experience. jeez, it`s one thing to sell a bad car or something, but to take advantage of someone with bad mental health is totally rotten. I hope nobody else has had a bad experience, or is having one. People in the healing profession should be the most moral people in society, and they should embody that when they decide on this profession.

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Perhaps I'm biased because I'm a traditional brain scientist who happens to know something about the neural mechanisms of depression, but what qualifications to these people actually have?


There's nothing wrong with natural remedies for many things (and St John's Wort, for example, has at least some clinical evidence supporting it's use in treating mild depression), and I understand people are sometimes reluctant to take more standard A/Ds, but really, if you go to a naturopath, aren't you asking to be ripped off? You might as well go to a Witch-Doctor, or Uri Geller.


P.S. I'd be fascinated to know what he said about the blood cells, bearing in mind that there are no reliable blood tests available for diagnosing depression....

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There were a couple of sickle shaped ones which he said was due to lack of iron and B12. Then there were a couple with bumpy perimeters which he said were damaged by radicals (he gave someterm for it which i can`t remember). Then he showed a cluster of dry blood(have no idea what that means) and said the white gaps in the centre of the round cluster showed adrenal fatigue. That`s pretty much most of what he said.


Regarding naturopaths, there are good ones out there. Good naturopaths are like a cross between a doctor and a nutritionist. If you`re sick they look at your symptoms but also your diet and lifestyle, then give you advice, prescriptions or referrals, which usually includes - supplements, food, exericise, meditation or counselling. Any athelete will know the direct impact that food has on their health - it`s the same with a regluar person. There are many conditions that are much more easily and safely fixed just by identifying what nutrition your body is lacking. As you say, St Johns is one of the more widely accepted. Check this article out by a good naturopath -


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There are schools which specialise in alternative therapies and massages where people get their degrees usually. Unfotunately, naturopaths are part of what`s termed alternatie therapy, and as such, there`s no standard or law to keep them in check. So yes, it`s a big risk getting a useless person.


As for the diagnosis and treatment of depression, this is a tricky topic. Even conventional medication is still hit and miss, and as far as I understand, noone still knows exactly how depression is caused... Studies have found that both medical and psychological therapy together produces the best results, but there are still many that are worse off because of these. Well, you would know! Actually, I would be interested to hear how you would describe depression from a neuroscientist/psychologist`s point of view.

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well, like you mentioned, some practioners are more competent than others. It is definitely good to ask around, get recommendations, and ask your friends if they are seeing someone and they recommend him/her. Something else to think about.... many natural products interfere with prescription medication, so just because it's "natural" doesn't mean it's safe. I would talk with your doctor or pharmacist about potential drug interactions.

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Well I know a horror story too.

In my country, in my city worked, until recently, very respected psychiatrist.

He finished psychiatry and psycology. He was a lecturer on the university.

Of course he had his Phd in psychaitry and so on.

He was also very famous on his work with drug addicts.

Also he was very expencive (it was acctually rude how expencive he was).


I went twice in his office because I was falling a year at my university. I couldn't force myself to study.

Well he was really good - but I sensed something really weird about him.

I told my mom back than (I was 19) that I think he's trying to seduce me.

She knew him personally, and she was really surprised, but also she didn't react the way she should.


I stopped seing him - I made that decision alone.


Long story short several months ago he was put in a jail for a month and half till police finish they reasarch ( to be shure he can't influence potenital witnesess. Also there is a rumor they were tracking him down for the past year and a half) and several days ago they raised that thing against him (I don't know the word) and soon he'll be on court.

Apparently he was doing something sexual (they didn't precisly say what) in his office with 3 girls - 2 of them being under aged.



Also he has a wife (neurotic sick b****) and a son who's 19 (he's also weird).




So if you're female always go to female therapist.

If you're male choose a male one.

That's my moto today.


BTW I finished university without the help from this sick b*****.

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when you enter the arena of alternative therapies, there are tons of people with absolutely no medical training at all, no education, nothing except a desire to make money off of people.


some may be licensed doctors, but most are not. other can have licensed degrees in nutrition, and others do not... so the odds are very high when choosing one that you will get nothing for your money, and hopefully they won't harm you with herbs/chemicals that can have serious side effects, just like other controlled drugs do...


so please be very careful when selecting one, since many many of them are basically con artists after your money...

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Bestrongbehappy, do you know if anyone`s succeeded in winning a hearing against them? I`m pretty sure he would try and blame my depression for forgetfulness etc, and it`s true, part of my condition causes forgetfulness, but not everything! The guy also told me I just had unrealistic expectations...but it`s like hearing my ex telling me that when I thought he was cheating on me it was all in my head. Geez. A head * * * * is the last thing i need.

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Yeah, I`ve seen a mainstream doctor. He told me it was either medication or therapy. I investigated both and wasn`t impressed - medication is still very unreliable in this area as depression itself isn`t completely understood, and therapy only works if you can find a great therapist, and get the timing right. If those two conditions aren`t fulfilled there are many examples of people who have found themselves feeling much worse (including me).


The truth is, nutrition is a powerful healing option. It`s just that many doctors, therapists and alternative therapists don`t know about the depression and its related conditions well enough to be able to offer that as an option. So yeah, unless there are nutritionists who understand the biology of illnesses, the next best chance (where I live, anyway) is a naturopath. It`s just a matter of finding one that is actually a proper one.


As for suing, it`s more that I`d like to give him the message that it`s not OK to dupe people and take advantage of the fact that they`re ill. It`s just so unethical - it makes me so mad thinking about how many others he`ll swindle money from the same way...

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usually, medication AND therapy together are the best option. I have done this and found it immesely helpful. And no, the medication isn't 100% understood, but they aren't clueless either. There is a lot known about the mechanism of action of antidepressants. Therapy is more than finding the right therapist - it is being the right patient, and being willing to do the work to make yourself better. A therapist will not heal you, they will only help you on your journey.


Quite honestly, i don't think suing him will get you anywhere. it will just waste more of your money. Afterall, he did have an interview with you and did diagnose you, even if you were uphappy with the course of the meeting and diagnosis, he DID perform the service for you. I hate to say it, but I would almost compare him with going to an astrologer. I have gone to some astrologers that are quite good and given me some very valuable information about myself and some of the best things for me to do, but overall, I know it is all just for fun, they are not therapists or psychiatrists. if I tried to sue an astrologer just because the things they said didn't come true, well, that would be silly, wouldn't it?


Quite frankly, I don't even really think you can sue a regular doctor if they give you medication and it doesn't work. Imagine if you sued a normal doctor everytime an antibiotic or painkiller didn't work? As long as the doctor isn't doing anything grossly negligent, it is just known that it can take a doctor several tries to get the right diganosis and right treatment.


Besides, you haven't tried his method of treatment for several months, so how do you know it doesn't work? That is what he would say in the courts. "She didn't use the supplements and didn't make the changes I recommended, they would have worked, but she didn't try."

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Yeah, I`ve seen a mainstream doctor. He told me it was either medication or therapy. I investigated both and wasn`t impressed - medication is still very unreliable in this area as depression itself isn`t completely understood, and therapy only works if you can find a great therapist, and get the timing right. If those two conditions aren`t fulfilled there are many examples of people who have found themselves feeling much worse (including me).


Well according to you, the only thing left is a shaman!

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Hey everyone,

thanks for responding so tolerantly to my ranting.


1. anne24, thanks you`ve put things into a more objective light - you`re right it wouldn`t be worth spending even more energy on this guy. I`ll just leave it. As for the healing side of things, yeah, I do understand all that you`ve pointed out too. After checking out lots of info over the months, (for me, at least) a natural approach monitered carefully outweighs a conventional approach:



-medication eg SRRIs + therapy

-takes 3 weeks to kick in

-must take for 3 months min

-may take several tries to get right

-some people are cured, others get side-effects



-supplements, diet,lifestyle ex,meditation,therapy

-takes 30 mins to kick in

-must take for 3 months min

-lifestyle+diet analysis should show what underlying cause must be treated for each individual

-hardly any side effects or addiction.


both recommend therapy to prevent reoccurrence, ideally once the depression is brought to a reasonably good level (otherwise it can have the opposite effect).


The easiest example i can think of to illustrate the differences is, 8hat with a conventional approach, SRRIs help depression by intervening neurotransmitter signals in the frontal cortex of the brain. There`s not enough seratonin (I think that`s the right one) in the brain to carry messages when someone`s depressed, and teh SRRI blocks the little seratonin there is from escaping and recycles these to get the signals transmitting again. But the amount of seratonin still remains lower than the average person, (though this builds up over time) and you still don`t know what caused the lowering levels in the first place. I have read many cases of people who try 1-5 different medications, some have gotten better, others have continued to struggle for years, still others have gotten worse. Side effects include addiction, nausea, insomnia etc.


From a naturopathic view, it`s the seratonin levels that need to be increased. Your body isn`t producing enough, so you look at what you`re not eating/exercising enough of to produce it, or what stress that may be decreasing the amount of seratonin. You do this by looking at the symptoms of the body and figure out which body systems aren`t functioning right, then follow a diet/supplement/exercise treatment plan to bring these back to normal. Once the systems are functioning normally, then any exhausted organs can recover and can produce teh normal amounts of serotonin again. No side effects unless you`re allergic to a substance, plus some supplements can overload organs if taken in excess. Which is why they say you need a naturopath to keep an eye on you and adjust the dosage as you get better.


2.syrix, well actually, yes, I have looked into shamans too.


3. After calling many more naturopaths, it seems that they have their areas of expertise - some in cancer, others in nutrition etc. I found one and met up with her today, and I was quite impressed. Not only did she have a ton of knowledge, but she listened carefully to all my symptoms and history, then explained in detail what I was lacking, what I should continue taking, what I needed, and strict adjustments I needed to make to my diet. It turns out my depression is rooted in adrenal fatigue after all, and that I just have to control my blood-sugar levels, and sugar intake diligently if I want to stop feeling tired and anxious.


So, well this has just turned into quite a rambly email...and the reading value isn`t even that great because I`m no medical practitioner so I can`t stand 100% by what I`ve described...in fact there are so many different kinds of depression, and people respond differntly so take it for what you will. Today`s naturopath told me that my mood should stabilise and I should have more energy within the week, so I`ll keep you posted.

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I think you should just keep trying whatever gets you better. I went to a shaman also, it was an interesting experience. what's more interesting is that she told me the exact same stuff the psychatrist i went to told me!!


i used to take ssris, there are up sides and downsides to them. i definitely had nasty side effects, along with some pleasant effects, but they served their purpose while i was going through a rough patch. i would not get on them again unless there was a very serious need to.


Depression is hard because it doesn't usually have just one cause. it can be chemical or emotional (ie, caused by an event in your life). or both! I think if someone is taking an SSRI because they are sad about losing their job or their lover, i don't think it can make them so much better, because it is a situational issue, not necessarily a chemical one.


I think you should just do whatever feels right for you, i hope your new naturopath works out. If it doesn't, you might consider a mainstream psychiatrist. they don't MAKE you take the drugs unless they think you are a risk to yourself or others, you most definitely have a choice to say no. but they might have some ideas or techniques to try out. just stuff to think about.


i hope you work through this and get to the bottom of whatever is causing it!

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The description of the conventional approach given above is popular, but highly inaccurate. In fact, there are a variety of (relatively poorly understood) neuological causes of depression, of which a specific serotonin deficit is only one, relatively uncommon, one. The conventional picture of a serotonin deficit fixed by blocking reuptake is popular because it's easy to understand, but in fact this is clearly only the case for depressive patients who find their symptoms significantly relieved within 24hrs of taking them (and there is a sizable minority for whom this is the case). Those for whom the effects of medication don't start for a number of weeks are more likely to be suffering from a structural problem; a mismatch between the number of serotonin pumps and serotonin receptors is one such problem that has recently been identified. An increase in serotonin levels actually reduces this mismatch, which is a permanent effect that goes beyond the taking of the medication, and is one explanation as to why most individuals don't suffer a relapse as soon as they come off medication. There are many, many other factors that come into play, and possible causes of depression, including problems with other neurotransmitters (dopamine and norepinephrine are two favourite candidates), neurotrophic factors, secondary messenger deficits (which also seem to be adjusted by SSRIs, though nobody is quite sure how at present), the role of nitric oxide distribution etc.. I won't bore you with any more, but it's a highly complex and constantly evolving picture, and certainly the old picture of specific serontonin deficits fixed by SSRIs is really outdated now, and clearly not true for the majority of depressives.


The other thing that is missing from the two descriptions above (conventional and natural) is rather crucial: EVIDENCE. There are well controlled clinical studies citing the effectiveness of ADs. With the exception of St John's Wort, and arguably the benefits of exercise (though such evidence for that suffers from a variety of confounds) I'm not aware of any clearcut evidence that supports other natural remedies. That is my principal caution: just because it's "natural" doesn't mean it works, and in most cases when natural remedies are put to the test, they are in fact found not to work. When it's your mental health at stake, I'd prefer an evidence-based approach than a faith/anecdote-based one.

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I think you should just keep trying whatever gets you better. I went to a shaman also, it was an interesting experience. what's more interesting is that she told me the exact same stuff the psychatrist i went to told me!!
huh, interesting! thanks for the encouragement too, I will keep you updated.


heehe, karvala, I`m not going to argue; you`re obviously a strongly evidence-oriented person! I appreciate what you wrote about neurotransmitters etc - OK I gave very simplified examples or it would`ve turned into a book, but I understand what you`re on about I did find what you wrote about the mismatch in pumps and receptors interesting though - that`s the first time I have heard of that. I have read as much as I can about my physical condition as is accessible, and would be keen to read about this further. As for SSRIs etc affecting the levels of serotonin etc, and the outdatedness of the serotonin uptake theory, that`s interesting; I wonder if New Zealand is slow.



I agree that with your health you want to be especially careful how you go about fixing it. There are old wives` tales which don`T do anything, and there are century-old cures that work. Science works by building strings of Hows, and deducing Why, so I think it provides a good indicator of which is which. However, the big drawback (which is so often overlooked) is that it is only ever progressive to the point that it has gotten to (eg. CFCs, asbestos), which is often not the whole way. So even evidence is not truth, and has to be taken with caution.


This example sort of illustrates my view: it has been known for centuries, probably via watching people and experience etc (ie. not scientific evidence, but experiential) that laughter is good for health. Studies came up with scientific evidence of this fact only in the last 3 decades (less, I think); now we know specifically why and how it`s good, but it doesn`t change the fact that it has been good all along.


So regarding depression at least, I think science is still taking baby steps, albeit fast ones. Like cancer maybe. So while I do appreciate and heed scientific findings and explanations found thus far, I don`t know if I would necessarily put my trust in it over more methods which have actually cured people. Yes, there are less controlled studies or hard scientific evidence in this area, and I`m sure there are people who haven`t healed this way, but there are visibly more and more people (thanks to blogs and internet) who have been cured following a specific natural treatment, without side effects, steadily and naturally - they themselves are living (if not scientific) evidence.


But yeah, I`m all for neuroscience and it discovering more in its own terms, definitely. It would be great to understand what goes on in that obscure grey mass.

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