I was fired by a client's mom yesterday for not being able to give answers she thought could help her child.
When these things happen, which they do, from time to time, I handle it alright when they are in my office. Then, I crumple, even though this happens to all therapists from time to time. I end up feeling like a failure, despite evidence that most of the families that fire me have a lot going on and aren't always in a state of mind to do what's best for themselves, or that no one can be all things to everyone, althought we strive to, and that a little bit of failure is a part of being human.
I walk around the office feeling fragile, avoiding my cotherapists. "Do they know?" a voice in my head whispers. "Do they already know I'm a failure?" I resist telling them because I'm afraid they will judge me or tell me what I should have done, even though they have hardly ever done that. Its my shame, and not their actions, that drive me to keep to myself.
It always takes me a while to recover from these things. In the last year, I have been knowingly fired by about 4 or 5 different families. I have a caseload of 75 at any given time, so statistically speaking this isn't horrible. But that voice in my head doesn't listen to statistics, because it believes itself more than it believes fact.
So in a few days that feeling of failure will fade back into the background and be surplanted by other feelings, hopefully happier ones, as other families come to see me and show me how successful they can be, and other kid's lives are improved by having someone to care about them.
I hope that one day, I grow so much that getting fired gets easier and it doesn't have to hang around me for this long. Maybe one day, the upsetness will decrease to an hour or so, and be mild enough to hardly notice.