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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Will you be my therapist?

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.

1 comment:

  1. Carolyn- I know these feelings so well. It's hard to re-enter a situation when you are feeling nothing but failure- and let's face it- your job is a Sisyphean task. But you are right that your people skills are excellent. Honestly, those are the only skills we really have. We don't make stuff, we don't sell stuff, we're not very good at serving stuff...but boy can we work with people. I think it was wise of you to move into a different direction- consider it an advancement, not a retreat. You are made for this job- it's hard- but hard is good for us.