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

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thank You For Attending...

...my pity party yesterday. I have some lovely parting gifts for you in the vestibule.

So guess what I learned yesterday? My counseling center director? He does that "losing-clients-is-your-fault" thing with EVERY therapist there. I found this out because one client who I'd "lost" was given to another therapist after a week or so of non-attendance. Well last night I saw both that client in the waiting room and the therapist who took them on. The client jumped up to shake my hand and explained that they was going to call me because they had gained a lot with me in that little time we'd been together and that they didn't really know what they were doing with the other therapist. Which doesn't mean that the other therapist was doing anything wrong. The other therapist has a different mode of therapy which I don't know how to do. Think of it like hypnotherapy (although it isn't). So in my mind I figured as long as the client is getting help, then bless 'em. But as the client spoke to me, they said that the director had called them to offer them another therapist--just like, talked them into coming back. Which was not what the director told me that he had said to the client. The director gave me the impression that the client was sitting out of therapy, lost and hurting, let down by me--but the client had just kind of been coerced to return by the director, and when I saw them last night, they seemed like they didn't know why they were there.

But then, after they had left for the night, their new therapist and me were the last ones in the center, and the therapist opened right up saying, "I don't know why Director keeps talking these clients into coming back when they're finished with us." Because my former client expressed the same kind of want to stay home while their personal life needed their attention, and then the client would call me when they wanted to return. I could have leaped in the air with a double fist pump.

The other therapist further elaborated; she has been working at the center for more than 7 years, and she said the director has always done this. She said when she terminates therapy with a client, the director would call her and talk to her like it was her first day on the job. This therapist, who is always full of smiles and hugs literally, was showing her less-friendly side when it came to the director's behavior and I could've ate it up with a spoon.

So that was double the affirmation I needed in one night. Yes, I can learn to be a better therapist. And yes, there's always room for improvement. But this director was giving me a bad vibe, and I was right. And my instinct with my clients was not as off as the director made me think it was. I really actually AM a good therapist and I will now let the directors phonecalls to me run off my back like a skittle of water across oil.

I got my mojo baaaaaack!!

As for my sexuality rant of yesterday, today's not a day of regret or confusion like it was yesterday. It may so happen that I will oscillate back and forth until I lose my freak status, and I urge your patience and compassion as I do so, but today, I'm stomping the generals of opposition into the Spartan well of accusation and self-doubt.

Ned, you're with me. Let's meet the Persians together, buddy!!





The Neighbor said...

Hellz yeah, my man. They're going down with TWO sandal prints to the chest.

I need to regrow my beard now. Dang it.

Scott said...

I wouldn't buy it no matter who said that you weren't a good therapist. You are so supportive and giving that there is no way that doesn't translate to your job. All you need is to listen to your dispossessed patients to believe it.

Alan said...

Ah, thank you Scott. That means the world to me. And you know the feeling's mutual. All you guys act as my therapists at one time or another, and I am seriously a better person for it. I'll never be able to thank you all enough.

GrizzBabe said...

Alan, you are an AWESOME therapist. I've told you before that you really have a gift. From God. Don't let a director with misplaced priorities make you doubt that. You're too good.

Alan said...

Thank you, Grizz. I do believe it. More than ever. I really wish I could tell you all about some of the cases I work with and what progress has been made in their lives since I first met them. Sometimes, I have to sneak my finger up to my eye and dab a tear away during some sessions. But after every evening, when I'm walking along Central Part South to catch the subway, or cutting through Central Park itself to get to my parked car, I'm walking on cloud nine. Being there for other people...helping them through a forest of needs...I've never known anything as life-affirming or as satisfying to my soul. Believing in someone when they have trouble believing in themselves? Watching someone come to recognize their worth and value after they had lost it--or was never taught how to have it? Dude. May I have some more, please!

Kathleen said...

Ah, I now understand your other posts and the sensitivity and beauty demonstrated - you're a therapist. My therapist has been on her own for so long that this side of therapy (directors, etc.) is new to me. She just has to deal with the PITA health care plans. Oops, which reminds me, she needs my dr.'s address for the stupid health care company.