Thursday, June 18, 2015

Meeting Ranjana.

After an ongoing attempt to access free mental-health services (specifically therapy) I've had to settle for the sliding-scale services offered by The Argyle. If you're unfamiliar with my journey attempting to access mental health services, just check out the "access" label to the right of the page.

I called the Argyle several weeks ago and was told I would be called back by an in-take professional. A week or two later they contacted me (they basically ask why you need the services) and I was asked to e-mail them my tax return for last year, which would establish my income and thus the hourly rate they'd charge me.

They're charging me 50$ a session. I can't swing that weekly, but I should be able to bi-weekly for now. Some of that 50$ will be reimbursed by my private insurance. Since our first session last week, I also saw her yesterday. She asked to see me next week and I told her I can't afford it, that our sessions would have to be bi-weekly. She seemed surprised by that, but she accepted it.

I wasn't sure at first if Ranjana and I would hit it off. The last two therapists I've seen were roughly my age. In my previous intakes, I mentioned wanting a young-woman who was atheist identified (or at least had an understanding of an atheist/non-religious mindset). That might seem like an odd stipulation, but if you're a non-believer and your therapist uses underlining themes of faith or divinity it can be patronizing and completely dismissive.

My request for female-identified, atheist-friendly therapists with an understanding of eating disorders, sexuality, gender and depression resulted in both of my therapists (over the last decade) being young jewish women.

This time, I just stipulated a woman. I think gender is a significant part of my experience, and an understanding of being a woman, a girl, sexualized, and feminism is an important fundamental starting point for shame, identity and body-awareness.

The only other request I made was that it be permanent staff. I saw Alexa for ten session last year and I thought the world of her. But, she had to go back to school and I wasn't able to keep seeing her. I don't want that to happen here. I want long-term, on-going therapy. Even if I lapse for a while, I want follow-through. I want to be able to go back and see the same person, or for there to at least be a file on me.

I'm tired of starting over. At some point you're "telling your story" in a way that seems completely impersonal because you feel as though it's lost its value in repetition.

Ranjana is an older (than me) Indian woman, her website describes her work with the local Indian and Hindi communities. Our first session went well, I think it'll be good for me to move outside of my comfort zone and to have conversations with someone who is outside of my realm of reference, and who can see things in a different way.

My goal in this round of therapy is to be more of an active participant in it. With Putterman I was a mess. With Alexa I was also in crisis. Now, I've plateaued, and I think it'll be helpful to move through certain things, with help.

We'll see how things go.


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