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Tuesday, June 22, 2010


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.


  1. Dear Carolyn, I wish it would go away also but unfortunately I think being told you are not good enough never feels OK. As a teacher I still hate the parent confrontation time and it does linger . My fellow teachers are my best support at that time. They top themselves with stories of parents that told them off and since I respect them so much it makes me feel like well if it happens to them and they are great maybe it is OK if it happens to me. I hope you have the kind of office where you can share these things and everyone is not trying to put on the perfect face. I am so sorry and know that it hurts. Just try to keep your eyes off yourself and keep on believing that God has put you there and you are doing the best you can with the knowledge you have. Mamasita

  2. Hi Carolyn,
    Where I work there are these pink forms the patients can fill out to give feedback about the staff. One time a patient wrote "Susan, she is just mean". The supervisor showed it to me. I did not recognize the patients name and it was a really odd one I would have remembered. I tried hard to think back if I had been mean. Yes, sometimes my firmness could be construed as mean. I felt so bad.
    I don't know if any of the other nurses have gotten bad comments Cause I was too embarrassed to ask.
    It hurts though. Difficult to keep feeling good about yourself. Hope time and distance ease your discomfort. YOU ARE ENOUGH.

  3. Thank you mom and aunt Susie! you guys are so encouraging to me:). I would not be able to do what I do without so many people in my family believing in me!