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"...another reason I'm intrigued with the hanged of Salem, especially the women, is that a number of them aroused suspicion in the first place because they were financially independent, or sharp-tongued, or kept to themselves. In other words, they were killed off for the same sort of life I live right now but with longer skirts and fewer cable channels." Sarah Vowell, The partly cloudy patriot.


I have never been so glad...

to have the time to get to sit and veg in front of "America's next top model." It's trashy, but it sucks you in and you don't even have to think or anything.

Today was a day from hell. I feel so demoralized at my practicum - I constantly dread having to go, and constantly think about quitting. The only thing that helps is that I LOVE the other students who work there, and I adore my clients and the work I do with them.

One of my supervisors seems to think that I am an absolute failure as a therapist. Last week she told me that, regarding a client of mine who seems to be getting more and more depressed over time, that clients simply do not get worse in therapy - they get better. I told her that in my experience, some clients do indeed get worse because for some talking tends to open up things and it causes them to have to think about and feel things they had previously kept under wraps. She said, "Well, I don't know anything about your experience, but clients get better when they talk." I wanted to say, "Then how about asking me about my experience?! It's not insignificant!" But she has no interest in knowing me or my history as a clinician.

Today another client was in crisis. I feel fine about working with crises - I tend to work with, and seem to have specialized in, working with very difficult clients with difficult issues - so I know how to work with crises, and I know how to work with difficult stuff. However, I wanted to make sure that the place I work felt okay with how I was handling the crisis and that it was okay to let my client go home at the end of the session (as opposed to hospitalizing him). I then asked my client to wait as I went to check in with the supervisor who was designated the person to handle crises at that time (they each have a day they cover, and that is the person we are supposed to check in with if our supervisor isn't available).

I went to the person's office and asked if I could just check in about my concerns, and the person seemed upset that I was doing so - but I had to. I told the person about my concerns about my client, and he said, "I don't want to deal with this!" I had to fight to not cry.

Ummmm....is that a helpful response to a trainee who has a client in crisis? I think not. And I got in trouble the other day for NOT checking in about a client before the client left - so I was just trying to do what I was told to. And this is exactly why I don't check in - I get crazy answers. Either I get told that I was wrong to check in, I am told I am a burden for doing so, or my abilities are called into question.

I feel in a constant state of unease here. I never know what kind of response I will get - and I don't know how to inspire helpful responses. The constant interrogations I get about my clients and the criticisms (constant), and the asking-me-what-I-think- and-then-completely-denigrating-it-and-telling-me-I-am-completely-wrong behaviors, have caused me to constantly doubt myself and my abilities - and my clinical intuition. I often am so shattered after seeing a supervisor, I cannot gather myself back together to be able to be present enough to be a good clinician - which in turn makes me doubt myself and think I suck. My supervisors also seem to want me to do *more* for my clients - make calls and do stuff outside of the time I am there - but the problem is that I feel so unsupported there that I feel like my own needs are not being met (like I don't even get a lunch hour - not to mention feeling like I don't have good support there), and so I feel resentful at having to do more - and feel like I don't have the energy to do so (and I do, and I will, but I don't like it).

The only thing that helps is that the other students feel similarly, and we support each other. I know I'm not crazy (although I do tend to take things more personally than is helpful and I tend to have stronger emotional reactions than is helpful). We are all baffled and feel like this is not at ALL what we expected from this environment.

Over at psychgirl's place, I noted that I feel like I am acting out even when I don't mean to - and this is one of the places where that is occurring. I don't know how to navigate it (and I have changed details enough that specific advice won't really apply) - and so I behave, and I think those behaviors are seen as me being passive-aggressive or acting out - yet I am just trying my best to navigate a crazy-making environment.


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