Will a therapist tell you your diagnosis?

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In this blog we will discuss whether your therapist will give you your diagnosis or not. 

We will also briefly discuss your rights as a consumer of a mental health care service, why some therapists do not provide diagnosis and whether it is good to know your diagnosis or not. 

Will a therapist tell you your diagnosis?

The possibility that your therapist will tell you your diagnosis depends on individual therapists and your insurance services. 

Not every therapist orients themselves with a medical orientation where they diagnosis their client. Some therapists see no need for a diagnosis due to their orientation and approach to therapy so these therapists might not bring up diagnosis. 

On the other hand, some therapist do diagnose their clients either for treatment purposes, client’s right to know, as well as others may feel the need to diagnose their client for insurance reimbursement.

In the case that a therapist does inform you about your diagnosis could be to bring about awareness and education about what you are going through if they deem that it will be helpful for you and your progress in treatment. 

Your therapist would also tell you about your diagnosis when you ask them since you have the right to know however your therapist would not impose this information on to you. 

In most countries, major insurance companies require a diagnosis to determine whether or not services are worthy of reimbursement.

When diagnosis is disclosed, it is done only in specific situations where the therapist believes that a diagnosis is helpful for the client, like bringing to the client’s awareness that their experiences are also experienced by other people and that they are not alone. 

 In other cases, some people are told their diagnosis because their therapist believes that their symptoms cagoule best be regulated when they are aware fo their tendencies and their symptoms such as manic episodes. 

Another situation in which your therapist might reveal your diagnosis is when and if the client is not understanding the seriousness of their issue and they are not grasping the severity of their mental disorder.

Your rights

Your rights as a consumer of a mental health service includes your right to know about your diagnosis and the decision as to whether you will be told your diagnosis or not should be a collaborative decision.

You have to be informed as to the benefits and the dangers of being told your diagnosis and you have the right be part of the decision about whether to be given a diagnosis. 

Your therapist should not impose your diagnosis on to you without you consent to the knowledge of it. 

If you have qualms and issues regarding your diagnosis in therapy here are a few things for you to be aware of:

  • You have the right to ask if they are going to give you a diagnosis or not if your therapist does not bring up a diagnosis in the first session.
  • You have the right to ask what the diagnosis is, what it means and your therapist’s reasonings for giving you the diagnosis.
  • If you do not want to be diagnosed, you have the right to tell the therapist. 
  • In the case that they may be required to give a diagnosis if you are using insurance, you have a right to have a collaborative conversation about this too especially when you are unhappy about leaving a paper trail due to your insurance.
  • You have a right to ask how the therapist will use the diagnosis in treatment.
  • If you believe your therapist is treating you like a diagnosis, you have every right to bring this to attention and bring it up in sessions as well as to confront them.
  • Ask your therapist how your diagnosis may impact you and why it is necessary for you to know about it.
  • If you are not comfortable with the diagnosis they give, get a second opinion or consider finding a different therapist- you have the right to do that too. 

Why do therapists not disclose our diagnosis?

While some therapists do provide diagnosis and begin treatment based on your diagnosis, some of your therapists might not and it is a very common occurrence.

While therapist is designed to help you become aware of your issues, work on them and this might include diagnosis followed by treatment, this is not the case for all; your therapist might not disclose your diagnosis all together. 

This is generally because therapy has moved away from what was a traditionall approach known as themedicinal approach — in which doctors diagnose a patient and then go about using medicine to treat that diagnosis.

As of today, some therapists opt to work with a non-diagnostic approach, where their focus is on the well being of the client or patient without focusing only on the symptoms that they are experiencing or manifesting. 

In this case, they believe that in certain situations and cases, the medical approach of diagnosis and treatment is not the best way to move forward as it can be too limiting where the client has become limited to a set of symptoms which can be a deterrent to the client’s progress. 

Therapists that do not commonly diagnosis their clients and patients do diagnose their patients in some cases but this is very rare and in only cases that requires diagnosis to be made and disclosed.

Some therapists choose to steer away from diagnosis because of the diagnostic standards that apply to psychiatry which is determined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) which many practitioners believe to be extremely limited, often pigeonholing symptoms and emotional problems.

Therapists who choose to steer away from the DSM criteria and the medical model believe that even though these governing bodies do provide a framework to mental disorders and emotional problems, it is not the only way a client or a patient can be approached, seen, and understood in the progress of treatment.

At times, some therapists refrain from giving the clients a diagnosis because of the stigma that is present online and amongst the general masses and amongst other professionals also for some disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder and other personality disorders. 

In such cases therapists believe that the clients might find their situations discouraging due to the stigma and develop a pessimistic view about their treatment and condition. 

Therapists who do give their clients a diagnosis do so because they believe that you will benefit from the information and the awareness and it can be a huge reflief for the client and a step forward towards treatment.

However, when diagnosis is disclosed, it is done only in specific situations where the therapist believes that a diagnosis is helpful for the client, like bringing to the client’s awareness that their experiences are also experienced by other people and that they are not alone. 

 In other cases, some people are told their diagnosis because their therapist believes that their symptoms could best be regulated when they are aware fo their tendencies and their symptoms such as manic episodes. 

Another situation in which your therapist might reveal your diagnosis is when and if the client is not understanding the seriousness of their issue and they are not grasping the severity of their mental disorder.

Some therapists that do disclose the diagnosis do so in situations where the lack of or the presence of a diagnosis does not get in the way of treatment and the client is comfortable in getting more straightforward answer from your therapist, there is collaborative effort to discuss the diagnosis. 

Such collaborative effort requires a trusting and open relationship between the therapist and the client since disclosure of a diagnosis can go either way. Thus, therapist believe that the relationship is another factor that is important in deciding whether discloure will be helpful or not. 

Is it better for you to know your diagnosis?

In knowing your diagnosis for your mental disorder or mental condition can be both a positive for your treatment or a negative impact on your treatment. 

It might be good for you to know your diagnosis in the case that it might provide you with relief and validation in receiving a diagnosis that there is something actually happening to them that is causing so much distress.

In finding out your diagnosis and understanding that there are other people who face similar issues can also help people feel less alone and that they are not alone in their struggle. 

You can benefit from the information and the awareness and it can be a huge reflief for the client and a step forward towards treatment.

However, when diagnosis is disclosed, it is done only in specific situations where the therapist believes that a diagnosis is helpful for the client, like bringing to the client’s awareness that their experiences are also experienced by other people and that they are not alone. 

The diagnosis can also decrease the guilt, shame, and feelings of isolation that often are experienced and it can also help them in finding reseources from the world around them to help them adapt better as well as find support that they need. 

Along with the benefits of knowing your diagnosis, there are some dangers to it as well. The first being that diagnoses often stick with people and it pigeonholes them into a certain category which canbe limiting to the approaches taken for treatment and recovery. 

Therapists who choose to steer away from the DSM criteria and the medical model believe that even though these governing bodies do provide a framework to mental disorders and emotional problems, it is not the only way a client or a patient can be approached, seen, and understood in the progress of treatment.

At times, some therapists refrain from giving the clients a diagnosis because of the stigma that is present online and amongst the general masses and amongst other professionals also for some disorders. In such cases therapists believe that the clients might find their situations discouraging due to the stigma and develop a pessimistic view about their treatment and condition. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed whether your therapist will give you your diagnosis or not. 

We have  also briefly discuss your rights as a consumer of a mental health care service and why some therapists do not provide diagnosis.

References

Why Your Therapist Might Not Tell You Your Diagnosis. Refinery 29. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/mental-health-therapy-nondiagnostic-treatment

Do I Want a Diagnosis from My Therapist? Good Therapy. https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/do-i-want-diagnosis-from-my-therapist-0222184#:~:text=They%20may%20be%20required%20to,person%2C%20discuss%20this%20with%20them.

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