Since I stopped doing treatment, there have been a couple of things that have happened. First, I have questioned whether or not I actually want to do therapy anymore, whether I am actually cut out for this work. I felt inadequate for so long, I dreaded the idea of going back into the fray of self-doubt. I was tired of having the responsibility of other's well-being on my shoulders, and bearing the burden of DHS as well. I was burnt out and unable to see my own successes in the myriad of failures that appeared to surround me. When I put it like that, I hope you can see why I didn't feel like walking back into that situation anytime soon, if ever.
Second, I have felt guilty and inadequate for taking the easy way out in the first place. I should have vanquished on!!! Like a bad breakup, I was left wondering, was all this my fault? Where did I go wrong? Should I have given this thing a second chance? Should I have tried to work things out? Everyone else can cut it, right? What's wrong with me that I flaked out?
But thirdly, something else started happening. I started missing treatment. I miss getting to know the kids and getting to pay attention to them. I miss implementing positive interventions and watching them work. I miss the effective part of the work.
Lastly, the clients themselves have asked me, "Will you be my therapist?" "Can't we stay and work with you?" "Why aren't you a therapist?" "Oh, if you won't be my therapist, I won't say anything." This is a comforting validation of the skills I bring to an encounter. I really can establish rapport, I really can help people work through their problems, I really have helped improve the lives of individuals in our community. This is a relief, because for a long time I questioned whether I was doing anything of worth at all. Sometimes I still do question this, but I'm starting to remember what I like about being a therapist again.
So, someday, I hope to have a caseload of 20 families in my private practice, who I can invest my time into, and I'll have a secretary to make my phone calls and do the follow-up busywork that so bogged down my schedule before. I will not have the constraints of Medi-Cal dictating my moves, and I will be able to refer clients to my friends when I simply can't take another family. This is still something I want to do, and still something I think I am gifted at. I just got so overwhelmed I had to take a step back, and, like my supervisor Bob said, regain my confidence.