Thursday, November 11, 2010

Wat I've learned

At the conference, there was a plenary on "40 years of being a psychotherapist: wat have I learned & wat am I still doing here?". I got so much good stuff out of that.

In the space of yesterday, I had a moment to jot down what I've learned from being a psychotherapist in full time private practice in the last 5 years. I'll share the good ones here and my hope is to re-visit this every few years.

  • I've never had a better job. This work rips my guts out, thrills me, terrifies me, feeds me, angers me, and blesses me.
  • If you just show up and pay attention, people think you're a good therapist.
  • I have never worked harder or risked so much than in this work.
  • The laughter of my clients is the balm that heals me.
  • Clients don't like talking to answering machines or secretaries.
  • When you make a mistake, own it.
  • Many insurance companies do not support preventative mental health maintenance.
  • Sometimes, accepting credit cards to guarantee payment is better than no payment.
  • When you have a strong reaction, own it.
  • As the Buddha says, "Be kind to every one you meet for we are all fighting big battles."
  • I am not a fan of insurance paperwork or diagnostic labels.
  • Sometimes we outgrow our therapists, mentors, and supervision groups.
  • Where I used to fear no-shows, now I see them as blessings.
  • When I am tired, I focus more on content with clients rather than feelings.
  • I can sit in silence a great deal longer now and prefer to be by myself most of the time.
  • In the words of Shelly Kopp, "If you miss something the first time around, don't worry: it comes back. It comes back again and again until the work is done.
  • Clients die.
  • When I am tired or stressed, I goof up my schedule.
  • Clients that are charming or overly complementary make me nervous.
  • Words will always fail me when I sit with someone who has lost a child, a spouse, a loved one unexpectedly.
  • My clients are my greatest teachers.
  • It's okay to cry in session.
  • Sometimes the risk of change is too costly.
  • I have worked for free and paid it forward much more than I'd care to admit.
  • The only life I can save is my own.
  • Losing fifty pounds has changed the way I work as a psychotherapist.

1 comment:

knittinwolf said...

Love your list sweetie! So true every single one of them! I've had so many tell me its not ok to cry either! Think connecting with patients is the key to therapy working. Keep up the awesome, rewarding things you do. You are a wonderfully gifted lady! Love ya!