When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Surprise Festival

Last night after I was done with my clients, I found myself loose on the town. I was feeling good. I had done good work. I often think I do, but lately the director of the center has been scrutinizing why I've had so many cancellations over the past couple of weeks.

"More than anyone else," he said.

Mind you, they were cancellations--not terminations. Some of my clients taking the night off for one reason or another. For me, when they cancel, I get the night off too. Feels good to me. But to the director, it's lost income. And yea, I lose income too--but I have a day job. The night therapy cases are extra income.

It'd be nice if the director didn't try to make me feel as though I was doing something wrong--"losing them," as he likes to put it. Not to mention going on at length about how the clients leave my services when they get the sense that I'm not helping them, but use excuses because they can't actually tell me that they want out. (Except I did have a client who told me that exact thing. The sessions were terminated with no malice at all. I understand that I'm not the right therapist for EVERYONE. But for the ones who keep me--have kept me for months now--I'm useful. Helpful, even.)

But now that I'm removed from the emotions of our disagreeable phone conversation by some days and a bunch of co-opted Chipotle utensils later, I can see it for what it is. He wants to make money so he wants to motivate me to minimize (well, actually, the way he puts it, STOP ALTOGETHER) the cancellations. But I don't like his style of criticism. He's not the man I thought he was. I don't know what his true motives are, but I don't like his delivery. It feels wrong. He feels wrong.

Anyway, all this was going through my head, along with the successful sessions I had experienced that day. All three clients, (two of them I've been seeing for 4 months or more) reflecting the changes they've been making in their lives for the better. Changes that I've helped them with. Changes that I just knew they were capable of with enough encouragement and enough opportunity & space for thought. Changes that made me feel like a worthwhile human on planet Earth, even though I walk around alone with a rucksack full of my own unfulfilled dreams and personal life goals. I'm telling you, helping other people--it's where it's at, man. I think it's what we're all alive for.

ANYWAY anyway, I didn't want to go home because it was Hallowe'en, and I didn't want to have to kill somebody's children after having such a good day. Yes, repeated ringing of our WWII-era doorbell will make me psychotic. Don't ask. So I purposed to catch up on my promise to Ned by going to get "The Time Traveller's Wife," from B&N, and then holing up somewhere quiet and latte-driven to start reading it when I discovered something wonderful along the way;

On All Hallow's Eve, in NYC, in Greenwich Village, straight up the center of my old haunts (5th Ave, 6th Avenue, from around 14th street and southward) the freaks come out at night! In the Village, Hallowe'en Night is like Mardi Gras! I knew they had a parade, but my deviant mind thought it was like a drag queen affair. Stereotype Greenwich Village much, Alan? For shame!! It was like a big comicbook convention only with the entire neighborhood!! And throw in the bored, pleasure-seeking students from NYU on a surprising 60-degree night, and you've got PARTY. Streets blocked off in rapid succession. Real cops taking pictures with costumers.

My Hero would have loved this!!

Anywaying the anyway's anyway--welcome to my first post of November. They won't all be this long.


Shades of Scorpio said...

I love the Oscar the grouch one!!!

And you know what? Sometimes people just plain old cancel because they are lazy and just don't feel like going. I'm such a violator of making plans. I make them and I genuinely want to go through with them but then I don't feel like giving up my time to travel and partake when the time comes half the time. Or maybe its about finances. Maybe some people need to decide between a couple of important things and the therapy has to lose for a week or so. Sounds like someone is feeling some pressure (not you - the Informer).

Alan said...

Yeah, the pressure's on him to keep paying the bills on the counseling offices. That part I understand, but he's going about it the wrong way. He spent every day of the week after the stock market crashes putting notes in our boxes to expect cancellations and suggesting tactics to make it more user-friendly for our clients to come back (like not charging cancellation fees, which I've never done anyway), and then on the phone with me, he starts suggesting things I should do in direct contradiction to his letters to get the clients to stop canceling.

Like he wants me to challenge them on their reasons for cancelling, and he literally says they're lying to me to get out of session with me because I wasn't helping them in the first place. Which is not true. I'm the one in session with them and I'm the one with multiple months of relationship with them--and I think I'd know if 1) they weren't getting anything out of their time with me and 2) if they were lying to me about why they were canceling. By telling me that I don't know, this guy is undermining my confidence as a therapist. And he's doing it because he wants his cut of the client's money, but he's trying to make it sound like he cares about the clients' well-being.

That's why he's rubbing me the wrong way. I mean, he may well care about their well-being, but I can't tell because he's attacking the therapist (that'd be me) who is helping them. All because they canceled a session. And hey, we charge a lot of money for a session. If they felt like keeping that money in their pockets, or if rent was due that week, or there was a shoe sale that they couldn't pass up, who am I to bully them into spending the money on my session instead? They'll be back the week after, so go ahead and spend your hard-earned money on what you want to spend it on! Even if it IS a mistake and you SHOULD have come in to see me instead. We can talk about it next week.

So needless to say, this all has got me SERIOUSLY reconsidering going into full-time therapy for this guy. Why should I drop a job with benefits and security just to put myself completely at the mercy of a guy who'd attack my abilities as his first approach rather than see the same possibilities for cancellations that you did, Shades?

Shoooot. Eff this guy!