the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Sigmund Fraud


I have a situation. Perhaps you can help. I’m thinking of seeing a therapist to talk about my separation from Sophia, among other things. As you know, I’m a bit of a cheapskate. Even though Sophia and I pay about 800 dollars a month for health insurance out of our own pockets, my HMO will only pay for four sessions, with a co-payment of 35 dollars for each visit. Ater that, I will only be covered if the therapist insists that I have a serious psychiatric “condition” that requires extensive treatment.

While I’m hoping that I’m troubled enough to get my therapy paid for after the four sessions, I’m not a gambling man. I’d like to make sure of it, so since I know many are you are crazy, even certifiable, I figured you’d be the perfect people to ask.

Other than me actually talking to my penis in the therapist’s office during the first session, can you offer any other suggestions that will insure that my crappy HMO pays the bills?

A Year Ago in Citizen of the Month: Very Superstitious, Writing’s on the Wall


  1. Jacynth

    There are actually sliding scale therapists you can go to: they determine what they charge you on your salary. Not sure if that would help but I know a lot of my “friends” do it!

  2. Dave2

    Stand on a roof somewhere and start shooting people. That’ll get you all the therapy you can handle for free!

    Or, better yet, just dump all your feelings into your blog and have your readers provide the therapy… that’s about as cheap as it gets (and you don’t have to spend the rest of your life in jail).

  3. The Retropolitan

    Look into university graduate programs for psychiatry and psychology. Some of them offer free therapy, I guess as ‘training’ sessions for their outgoing students. I was referred to one a while back, but I never looked into it.

  4. modigli

    Why not try auditioning for the morning TV show “Starting Over”?

    LOL! I just linked it after starting this comment, and it turns out they are only looking for women. But hey, that might make for an interesting turn. Just pretend you want a sex change, and go in dressed up as a women. Your penis could secretly blog from the inside, too, telling us what it’s really like in the “starting over house”.

    (seriously, though, I thought for sure they had a version of this with couples, or something.)

  5. BA

    Introduce yourself as Xynphar from the planet Zanzubu. Explain, quite seriously, that you’ve been sent to Earth by your “overseers” to observe how earthlings reproduce so that the “overseers” can decide whether to simply annialate Earth’s inhabitants or harvest them for food.

    Then explain that the reason you speak to your penis is that it’s really an implanted communication device to the “overseers” to provide them with details of your journey and that they communicate back to you with affirmative responses by giving you an erection.

    That or follow Dave2’s advice and make your way to the top of a tower and shoot some folks.

    But one of those two should work.


  6. modigli

    And with that thought, why not write to Dr. Phil? He pays for his guests’ therapy all the time!

  7. Non-Highlighted Heather

    Honestly sweetie, the only thing you could really go for is some manic depression. Sleeplessness, intense mood swings, crying jags, inability to focus are some of the symptoms you might want to throw down. Not that I’d know, that’s just what I’ve…er…read. And just to let Sophia know, I’ve got the DVR set to Windfall so I can watch her bad self tonight.

  8. Rabbit

    Just tell the therapist something completely insane like, “You know, I really wish I’d get called up for jury duty more often” or “Sometimes I go to the DMV just for fun” or “That dude Tom Cruise totally has his shit together.”

  9. Neil

    I’m going to just sit here by the computer waiting until someone tells me how “clever” my title is.

  10. elle

    Call your insurance company first and find out exactly what they cover and who is in their network. If you need more sessions, the therapist will fill out the paperwork necessary. If you don’t, well, then you don’t. Hurray for you! You don’t have to have a major psychiatric illness either. There is something called Adjustment Disorder, which basically means that a person is having adverse symptoms (like depression or anxiety) due to some major trauma or difficult adjustment in their lives. Which is what you may be experiencing. I know alot about the therapy biz. I happen to play one on tv. (hee hee) So if you have any questions, give me a holla.

    Good luck.

  11. elle

    P.S. That title… amazingly clever and hysterical…. you are a genius!!!

  12. Neil

    Adjustment Disorder! I love it. I think I’ve had that for years. Forever maybe.

    Wasn’t just being born traumatic enough? You’re sitting there in the womb so nice and comfy and all of a sudden… so bloody and disgusting. Then someone slaps the shit out of you!

    Or what about Blogging Anxiety?

    But seriously, thanks for the advice…

  13. Painter Beach Girl

    Although the copay is high for you, I wouldnt worry about the therapist needing to claim you need him/her to go further than 4 sessions. The therapist wants the business, you dont have to convince the therapist you need him/her, the therapist needs to convince the healthcare you do. I jsut went through the same thing when my insurance changed and now every 3 sessions I have to fill out a survey and my therapist was like “if you want to keep seeing me, dont make it seem like all is fine and dandy with you”. The survey was like “I almost always have trouble falling asleep…true or false” or “I am worried often/sometimes/never about relationships.” That sort of thing. My last insurance, my therapist just had to submit her own paperwork saying she was going to keep treating me.

  14. Painter Beach Girl

    P.S. Most people in society, whether they think they need it or not, can benefit from therapy, really. You’d be amazed at what comes out. And how much it helps day to day.

  15. Wendy

    Well as my blog title implies, I have some experience in this area as well 😉 – definitely call your insurance company FIRST and see what they will do – a number of companies will say you get “x” amount of visits or a $$ amount towards the sessions. Or you could simply set up weekly blog therapy sessions with us, your readers – i’m sure we could benefit from therapy too!! lol..

  16. Cheap Tart

    Whispering here … I have spent many MANY years in my career on the big bad (HMO) insurance company side … my recommendation “negotiate.” I will drop you a note with details. Aside, you are too funny … I also agree with some that sharing your woes in bloggyville great free therapy & you seem like an open web book type. Post away …. “so how does it make you feel when ____ … ?”

    The Tart
    ; )

  17. madeleine

    Neil, i have a whole catalogue of behaviours which would guarantee you free sessions. having been married to a manic depressive for a while, i’ve got the perfect scenarios which will light the doc’s eyes up.
    anytime you need them, let me know.

  18. jenny

    Funny you should mention Dr. Freud. I just saw a show tonight on him. Apparently, he used cocaine to treat his own depression, and sometimes prescribed it. I had no idea.

    So I guess what I’m saying is, if you can’t get your HMO to pay for therapy, maybe they would be willing to pay for some coke?

  19. Tatyana

    Be yourself, Neil. It’s the best policy; never lie or you’ll somehow slip and they’ll make you pay out of pocket for all sessions retroactively.

    Just say things like;
    -I live in LA and I’m married to a registered Republican.
    -I’ve a graduate degree in film (screenwriting?) and my main occupation is writing blog fro free
    -I am over 35 and I will not risk dating a woman without my mother’s approval.

    That kind of thing.

    I’m sure you can take it from there and book at least 3 years of verbal striptease.

  20. Tara

    So, what I’m hearing you saying is that you would like some validation and appreciation for your cleverly written title and only one person gave you that. How does that make you feel? Just kidding.

    Like what everybody else said. You would think I’d have more experience with therapists, but I don’t. I will happily give you feedback about your posts if that helps. Oh, and that post title? So funny and so clever and so funny and so clever, infinity.

  21. Lord Chimmy

    Quit emasculating yourself. Or maybe that is your disorder?

    All these women telling you what to do is not going to solve anything. You need to talk to men. Talk to guys who’ve gone through the same thing. That’s where the therapy happens…

    Yes, Neil, I’m saying it is time to go off into the woods and find your man spirit.

  22. idighootchandcootch

    tell the doc the separation was neccessary in order for you to explore a more intimate relationship with farm animals.

  23. V-Grrrl

    I recommend showing up for the first session wearing a foil yarmulke and an ear piece and maybe a tail made of antenna wire. Y’know, whatever makes it easier to hear the voices in your head.

    The, the title is great but the graphic is BRILLIANT in every sense of the word. Love it.

  24. Ash

    Why don’t you just not get separated? Then you won’t have the bills or the angst. Of course, there will be no blog fodder either, but that’s really not the point, is it? ;P

  25. kimananda

    Have considered just being yourself? Or, conversely, have you considered moving somewhere with universal health coverage? (Though you’d need to check that therapy is covered by the health care of the country in question, of course.)

  26. mari

    I don’t think you need the therapy, Neil. But if you really WANT it, I think you need to go to a GP (general practitioner) and convince them you need it first and then with their referral you can go to the insurance company. I’m not sure if that’s the way it works in the US of A but it sure works that way over here. In fact, if you have a doctor’s lettr, you can just go straight to the councelling service and they have to treat you. But I think that’s something to do with the NHS which only happens over here.

    I went to a therapist last year- it was great! She reckons I need to keep going for longer, twice a week, silly tart.

    I stopped because I turned 25 and that’s when the free service ends, and like you, I am bit of a tight-purse-string person. But I couuld give you a few tips that benefitted me (and not purposely done either, ahem). Go in every week, wearing a completely different style- one week turn up in a suit and talk like a business man, the next, go in dressed like a tramp, talk about the disasters of your childhood and how troubled you are, the next week go in in a Hawaiian shirt and talk about the fantasies of your future together with Sophia in a remote desert island, and finally go in wearing nothing but your underwear, whip it out, and start talking to your penis.

    Then, occassionally, I think it would be wise to everynow and then say “pardon?” at random intervals where the therapist hasn’t said anything, and pretend they have insulted you. They will be then convinced you are paranoid and are hearing voices.


    Discard all my advice, it’s completely unsensible.

  27. Jules

    Doesn’t EVERYONE in LA have a therapist? I thought you get one just for living there…LOL…I’d go with the Adjustment Disorder or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. You lost your Dad last year and are dealing with it and the separation. (Sigmund Fraud…haha.)

  28. kristen

    Post traumatic stress disorder is always a good one. It gets my POS BIL out of most responsible adult situations and continually amazes me what/when he uses that as his excuse.

  29. justrun

    I honestly have no idea what could get you more than four sessions. But maybe four sessions will give you some better tools to cope with your situation. That could be the change you need.

    You could always just ask me, too. I majored in psychology for a semester. Kidding, of course. I have no professional skills in that arena but I will tell you that seeking outside opinion is a step in the right direction- when we keep things to just ourselves and our blog, I don’t think we get a real perspective on them.


    Very cleaver title for a post about a fraudulent mental illness. Here’s what I would do: take your cleaning supplies with you, clean the waiting room and every surface you touch before meeting with the doc. Continue to scour the doctor’s office as you talk to him/her about what ever it is you need to talk about, not acknowlaging the obvious OCD.

  31. Charming, but single

    Say you’re having mood swings. Like you’re really happy and really sad … everyone I know who ever said that ended up with therapists trying to prove that they were bipolar.

    Or, you could designate a “Word of the Session” and twitch each time it was said …

  32. Melissa

    Therapy makes a difference. My only problem is that it makes me feel like I’m paying for intimacy. I’m showing you all my dark and ugly and all I’m getting in return (other than the tools I need to get beyond the dark and ugly) is a receipt saying paid.

    It goes against my need for give and take. But again… it really does help.

  33. Kevin

    Clever, clever title.

    Do you see what Neil did just there? He made it seem as if he were Sigmund Freud, but he’s not, he’s a “Sigmund Fraud”! Ha! That’s funny for me!

    Keep making “clever” jokes like that and I’m sure you’ll have all the justification your HMO could ever possibly want.

  34. Paris Parfait

    Maybe if you send the HMO a link to your blog, they’ll be convinced you’re certifiable?

  35. Rhea

    Developing some multiple personalities worked for me!

  36. Neil

    Paris, didn’t think of that! How simple! The evidence is right here!

  37. missmckay

    check out my blog buddy, ‘the cleaning woman’. she’s a shrink type person in australia. she could probably give you some good advice, if you don’t mind pouring your guts out to a rubber chicken.

    that being said, most shrinks are crazy themselves. find a really good one and pay the dough, if you feel you really need it. most of them will string you on for a long time because your time on the couch is their income.

    my real advice: call dr. laura. she’ll tell you plain as day what your issues are and what you need to do to improve your situation. you may not agree with her bedside manner, but i think she gives excellent advice to those who call her show.

  38. Blonde Vigilante

    I have absolutely no clue what you should do. I should probably go into therapy too for my loneliness and my love afair with a giant stuffed turtle.

  39. Neil

    Blonde — Maybe if we both go at the same time, we can get a 2-for-1 deal!

  40. Richard

    Repeat after me:

    I’m going to kill President McKinley.



    Should get you a discount rate.

  41. Dating Dummy

    Well, you could try talking to HIS penis.

  42. 2nd Pearl Past the Post

    Do this quiz a few hundred times, printing the results.

  43. Rebecca

    According to that test, I am totally OCD. Or a cleanfreak, I’m not sure.

  44. Kristy

    Separation from Sophia? What did I miss?

  45. Danny

    Um, I mean this in the nicest, most supportive way, but you don’t have ANYTHING to worry about in terms of getting a diagnosis that will keep the insurance payments coming. I was in my current therapist’s office for about five minutes before she was writing down some scary-sounding disorder that I have. There are so many general anxiety conditions they can use that I can’t imagine there is anyone on the planet who is not “eligible.” You really don’t have to be picking imaginary bugs from your skin and popping them in your mouth to get insurance coverage these days—we are all mentally ill. Just make sure the HMO doesn’t find out about your blog since that will reveal your “pre-existing condition.”

  46. velma

    don’t do it – unless you MUST. Psychiatric care sticks with you – like on your permanent record dude.
    I pay $600 a month for insurance, and $175. everytime I see the witch doctor. BECAUSE last year when I had to see the neurologist weekly – and was recommended counsleing, the counselor felt I was depressed over the possibility of having a brain tumor. [duh] now – that I really got depressed to the point of clinical depression, my new insurance won’t cover my ‘pre-existing condition’.
    Just be sure dude, it’s all I’m saying…..

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial