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Va Therapist Forced To Resign... Don't Know Why :(



Hi, everyone. I hope this isn't something that many people have experience because it's been hell, but maybe someone can say something that will help.

I had been seeing the same VA therapist for years. I was among the first patients they had when they came to the VA, so we sort of "grew up" together - I mean a lot of our sessions were full of "isn't the VA crazy the way they do things?" Went every week and very rarely missed an appointment.

So a couple of months ago I went to a session, all was as usual. Then I called scheduling the next day to change the next appointment because spouse had a conflicting appointment. Was told that my Therapist was on Admninstrative Leave.

After weeks of asking questions and getting no answers, I was finally told at the beginning of the month that Therapist had resigned (been forced!). My VA psychiatrist can only say that she doesn't know anything about what happened, only that Therapist surely would not have left patients high and dry if there had been any alternative. Privacy & confidentiality prevent the VA from saying anything about the circumstances.

So WTF. I was such a fool, wasn't I? I actually allowed myself to open up to someone, to reveal a lot of myself to someone, and the VA just steps in and they're gone.

Yes, I know that this must be the same thing regardless of whether it's the VA or a private provider. I'm just lost and so damned depressed.

I have a C&P next week and I don't give a flying fish about it. Do for a minute, get mad at the VA and want to rail and gnash my teeth and jump up and down. Then deflate and just don't care.

The VA is supposed to fix me up with another therapist, but in this area they're severely short-staffed (good time to fire a provider - oops, I mean accept the resignation of a provider) and it will be weeks before I can see someone, unless I want to travel to the VAMC. Not.

Sorry. I'm rambling. Thanks for reading. I'd say I'll be okay, but I'm starting to think that maybe I won't.

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Yep - none of us like when we loose a therapist that we have developed a good relationship

with over the years.

Sorry - but it happens on a regular basis.

I had the same one - top of the line for eight years - she left the Vet Center to go to DOD

in Germany - to help the newbies coming back from Iraq/Afghanistan.

As already posted - DO NOT MISS YOUR C&P.

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< The VA is supposed to fix me up with another therapist, but in this area they're severely short-staffed >

Then they should refer you to a specialist in private practice via the Non-VA Healthcare Office, i.e., VA pays for it since they can't provide it for you at the VA facility. That is part of the new law Congress just passed and the President signed. IMHO vets need to hold VA's feet to the fire on this one. If the local VA can't/won't provide the care a vet needs, then the VA has an obligation to find the vet that care in the community and VA foots the bill.

Regarding the loss of your long-time therapist, my heart goes out to you. That is a major loss and you have a right to grieve--and anger is part of the grieving process!

On the one hand it is true that it is hard for VA to hire bad employees. In fact, I understand it's one of the top vote getters in VA surveys--VA employees see it as a problem and say "we need to be able to get rid of the deadwood!"

On the other hand, there are a lot of highly skilled, compassionate, hard-working healthcare professionals who do get fired (or forced to resign) because they won't go along with management b.s., or the won't kiss the derrierre of a power-hungry, narcissistic boss; or they are a whilstleblower, and we all know how VA management deals with whistleblowers; etc., etc. So I bet your therapist pissed off some tyranical manager and they made her life hell for a long time and found nit picky reasons to force her out (kind of like Chinese water torture is a typical M.O.).

Maybe your therapist will go into private practice in your community. Look on the Psychology Today therapist finder website, Google/Bing her name, check on Facebook - maybe you can find her and she can give you the scoop. There might be legal issues that prevent her from talking about it, but maybe not.

Hang in there. And, yes, do go to the C&P exam. Don't shoot yourself in the foot. VA screwed up (probably)--don't let their mistake hurt you. And if you get a good C&P doc, they might be sympathetic to what happened to you.

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Hang in there I lost mine a couple of years ago cause he moved to another place. Just one day at my appointment a shrink I had never seen before met me and tried to change my prescriptions. I complained and got someone I knew and got meds straightened out.

The lesson is stand up for yourself.


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Well, I do have my favorite docs, too, and get upset when they change docs about as often as my mother used to change my diapers.

This being said, the Va does not want to pay docs anything so they have a hard time keeping them. Most can earn several times on the outside what they earn on the inside.

Crazily, clerks (rating specialists and the like) can earn 125k per year, at least according to cruiser on another site. So a paper pusher can earn more than a doc, and they wonder why they cant keep docs...

Its all part of the unfairness that ultimately hurts Vets..that the VA wont fix because it will mean many employees have to earn less. The VA cares much more about its employees than it does about Vets, and shows it. You have to always remember this.

Edited by broncovet (see edit history)
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I've had to change doc's/therapist in the past year because I've moved to a new area. I know that it is hard to start over with someone new. It can seem like you are taking steps backwards to start over....but try to look at it as moving forward. Maybe you will find someone else who is genuinely interested in your care and you will get along with that person too.

I agree with Henry S about the VA letting go good employees for various reasons that have more to do with management than something bad that they have done. I have seen it happen personally...so your therapist may have just clashed with management....and it is not a reflection on the care she gave you.

I hope that you will go to your C&P exam and be open and honest so that you will get the rating that you deserve. I also hope that you continue in your treatment and work with a new therapist as hard as it may be. You will get past this and it will get easier.

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Hedgey first things first Do Not Miss Your C & P.

Recently my therapist of 13 years accepted a promotion and I now go to a civilian therapist. I am still grieving.

I had a psychiatrist disappear like that once, one day she was there next appointment not. New psychiatrist decided to degrade her to me and said she had me on a lot of experimental medicine and basically she didn't know what she was doing. I changed psychiatrist's after that visit he was not a fan of women veterans.

I chatted up a few different people and rumor had it that she had a mental breakdown and left. Which left me questioning every session I had with her and we did not have the usual 15 minute med check appointments. They were full 50 minute sessions.


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Thank you all for the compassion and good advice. I feel like kicking over the traces, but I know that missing a C&P will just be the worst thing to do for myself, so I will be there. DH will be taking me and plans to stay with me the whole time (hope they don't fuss about that!!). We'll be getting there at least an hour ahead of the appointment time, just in case.

As for my dear therapist.... It's hard to fire any government employee unless there's been counseling and bad performance, etc. paper trail in their records.

BUT .. my VA psychiatrist (who is almost as upset as I am because she sees the turmoil all this has caused for so many patients) indicated that the issue was that my fantastic therapist was not playing by VA rules precisely. As in took the Vietnam Vet wednesday group off-site to the town park to fly kites. Good exposure and child-like fun. They made their own kites from sticks, string and newspapers, and they had a good time. Another time they went to a small local restaurant to celebrate a group member's birthday.

Psychiatrist says that the VA goes spastic about providers "exceeding the scope of their duties". Un-authorized overtime for the provider, possible insurance issues. You get the picture.

So here was a great provider, the ONLY one I ever met who personally suffered from PTSD and was able to find a way to live and manage it. A real human being who went above and beyond to help fellow vets. Instead of making a hero and holding them up as a model employee, there're charges, an investigation and .... oh hell.

I'm trying to get in to see the VA therapist who was my therapist's intern. If she was mentored by best, I can't help but hope she might understand. If not, I'll start looking outside.

Part of me knows I need the therapy, desperately. The other part of me feels like it's pointless.

Thanks again, everyone. Hadit always helps.

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