Posts Tagged ‘therapeutic alliance’

I Like Being A

October 7, 2017

Therapist.

I said it out loud in my empty office as I put my last client’s file away and locked the cabinet.

Then I laughed.

It’s true.

I do.

It was a good night.

Good sessions.

And it’s Friday.

So that’s always a bonus.

This was my first week running at full steam.

Eight clients=eight sessions.

Plus.

One hour of solo supervision.

Two hours of group supervision, which technically is tomorrow.

And.

One hour of my own therapy.

And so, this is what it feels like.

At the end of the week, to shut the file drawer and say that “I like being a therapist,” well, it feels really good.

Miraculous almost.

That I’m putting in the hours and I’m finding what I am doing fulfilling.

It feels really fucking good, who am I kidding.

I’m not sure like is a strong enough word.

Although, I’m not sure a stronger word is there to replace it, love seems too committed, there’s a lot of stuff that I find challenging and there’s a learning curve and I have loads of challenges.

But.

Then again.

It may become love, I certainly love my clients.

In an empathetic therapeutic way.

What I am hearing, from my clients now, too, is that they are hearing me, there is a symbiosis, a back a forth, there is a relationship that is being created.

All my clients are rebooked for their next sessions.

Oh.

I won’t meet with all eight next week, I have a client on vacation, but that client has rescheduled.

And when clients have to reschedule I am being asked if they can make up the time.

That is so validating I can hardly bear it.

I feel like I am doing a good job.

And yes, there is a better job I am sure that I could do, but considering where I am at in my burgeoning career I’m doing pretty damn good.

I’m also making sure that I follow what I speak.

That I do what I suggest or reflect back to my clients.

Granted.

I did not tell any of my clients to go home and slide into a pair of bunny slippers, which I just did and damn it feels good.

But I do make self-care suggestions and that is what I got to do when I came home.

Open mail.

I don’t ever leave mail to be un-opened, I learned a long time ago when I first got into recovery how important it was to respond to my mail.

And.

Yes.

It was a bill.

For my scooter insurance.

And.

I have paid it.

That’s another thing that I was taught, pay your bills within 24 hours of receiving them.

I usually pay it immediately, I don’t even let 24 hours lapse, I get the bill I pay the bill.

Then I balance my checkbook so that I know exactly to the penny what I can spend.

That feels good to know that, to know exactly how much is in my account and what I can do with that money.

Then, after paying my bill.

I did my laundry.

I put fresh sheets on my bed this morning and wanted to wash all my linens and do a few loads of laundry, lots of nice fresh towels and sheets, thank you very much.

And.

I don’t want to have to think about doing laundry over the weekend, I just want the weekend to be mine

Oh my God.

Yes.

I made it to the weekend.

Sweet.

I am so happy.

So excited.

I have been looking forward to the weekend for a while now, let me tell you, it’s going to be fucking amazing, I just know it.

After laundry I opened up my package, I got my light box.

I haven’t set it up yet, but I have it and I’m happy that I was proactive, the light fades so fast and it used to be that I was riding my scooter home into the sunset, now I’m still riding into The Sunset, but it’s dark.

I live in the Outer Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco if that above made no sense.

I amuse the hell out of myself.

And digress much?

After package opening, bill paying, folding laundry, and getting myself sorted I made myself a nice hot dinner, roasted chicken and brown rice with peas and corn.

So freaking good.

I was hungry and nothing like a nice hot meal at the end of a long week and a long day.

I am very happy to say that I am doing what I would suggest to anyone I work with.

Self-care.

It’s so where it’s at.

I can’t help anyone at all unless I can take care of myself first.

But when I do, watch out!

I am able to do so much.

It’s amazing.

This, my blog, also counts as self-care, the writing a practice that never fails to sustain and fulfill me, allowing me to process emotions and thoughts and work through whatever needs to be worked through, I get it all out here and my head is clear.

I go to bed with a clear conscious and not a lot of chatter.

Oh.

There’s occasionally noise in there, but the other thing about my long day, well, I generally fall asleep pretty quick and that’s nice too.

When I am tired the last thing I need is a racing brain.

I like quiet.

And yes, there are things I think about, lovely things, but I feel like I am holding them next to me, sleeping with my arm wrapped about them in a loving way.

I awoke this morning early.

I had to pee.

Happens.

I tend to drink tea before going to bed it’s a ritual and it too calms me down and mellows me out, warms me up and makes me sleepy and cozy.

I like being cozy.

So.

I generally do get up once in the night to use the bathroom.

And oh!

The moon!

It was full, so full, amazing, bright white light shining through the blinds on my back studio door.

So powerful.

When I woke up proper, it was still there, just at the horizon, riding low in the pinks and soft lavender of early sunrise, just over the ocean.

I stood and stared at it and welcomed it.

I felt blessed in seeing the beauty and it reminding me of love.

How I can see it, acknowledge it, hold it, and be so aware of its beauty.

It made for quite the start to my day.

And now, here at the end, as I’m sleepy and warm, I suspect, it will carry me through my night and into the light of a brand new day.

Saturday.

Oh how I have been waiting for you my friend.

Stupid with excitement.

And no little love.

Advertisements

You Look Good!

August 20, 2017

He said to me after giving me a great big hug, “where you been, I’ve missed you?”

Interning, working, getting ready for school, prepping for Burning Man.

Oh the list of stuff.

“You like?” I said, and stepped back to let him admire my look, “I therapized today, so I was dressing for the occasion.”

“I love,” he said, then continued, “you were what?”

I told him I had clients today, I had group supervision, I wanted to dress the part, the therapist part that is, I want to look like a professional.

“You look good! It’s totally working for you,” he finished, “glad you made it tonight.”

And so was I.

And I was happy that I made an impression.

Maybe it’s just me, but I really want to give an air of being a professional, I want to be respected  and I want to set a tone for my clients, I’m not super serious and I’m not uptight, I am warm and friendly and empathetic, but I also want to send a clear message.

I am an authority and I am going to dress like one.

On the other hand.

Holy fucking shit.

Some of the people who work with me are not as concerned with their appearance.

Or their body smells.

Fuck my mother.

It was a shock today to walk into my office and be overwhelmed and I mean, overwhelmed, with the smell of rotting socks and foul shoes.

The intern before me had done a session with his client in his socks.

Granted.

I sort of understand, it was a child client, I will happily get down on the floor with a child, I will, getting on a child’s level is crucial, I would and have done sessions sitting on the floor with a kid.

I have never taken off my shoes for a session with a kid, but hey, sure I could, if I felt that it was of service to the session.

But.

Fuck.

Not if my feet smell like bad molding cheese.

God damn.

I am not over exaggerating, even if I have a tendency toward the dramatic, I am not being dramatic, it was bad.

So bad that an hour later when my group supervisor and the rest of the interns coming in for our 2p.m. session, noticed it, complained and opened the windows wider.

I shared with one of the interns about why it smelled that way and that the room also had not been vacated on time, the therapist had gone over with his client.

I was livid.

I had the room assigned to me and I had a consult waiting in the hallway.

I understand that I am working in a community mental health facility, but fuck, people, professionalism.

PLEASE.

There is something therapeutic about what I am modeling for my clients by showing up on time, by presenting a clean persona, by having a nice outfit on.

I don’t have to be dressed to the nines, but I present nicely.

I mean, I am a professional nanny during the day, I run around with a four-year old and a seven-year old and I am constantly juggling a baby–which is great, I joke often that I am emitting baby smell which has to be a therapeutic smell if there ever was one–who sometimes burps up milk or mashed carrot on me.

But.

I have back up clothes at work.

I have nanny shoes.

I have therapy shoes.

I bring in my nice clothes, I change, I put on my therapy shoes, I tidy my hair, I make sure that there’s no burp residue on me, I refresh my lipstick before I hop on my scooter and zip to my internship after my day job has ended.

I pull it together.

Ugh.

I am done ranting.

I guess I have just been taken by surprise a few times by the lackadaisical attitude of some of the interns.

I take what I am doing so fucking seriously, I want to be good.

I mean.

Really good.

I am proud of what I have accomplished and it feels good to give it acknowledgement.

I had hot pink hair when I started my Masters of Psychology program.

I have a lot of tattoos.

A lot.

And.

I dressed flamboyantly, glittery makeup, big flowers in my hair.

A little faux queen if you will.

Big hair.

Big personality.

And I love that about myself, that I can pull out a fabulous costume from my closet and do it up, but I remember quite distinctly when I began the process of interviewing for practicum that I wanted to present a bit more polished.

I went and got a good hair cut.

I went back to my natural color.

I hadn’t been my “natural” hair color in god only knows how many years.

Purple, magenta, green, blue, yellow, hot pink, cotton candy pink, rainbow sherbert, name a color I had it.

I stopped painting my nails super dark colors.

Oh.

I still do now and again, but I tend towards a neutral manicure now.

I toned down my clothes, I got some good clean, easy dresses from the Gap and a couple from Asos, that I could layer with a classic black cardigan.

I softened my makeup.

I almost never wear winged eyeliner anymore and I don’t wear glitter.

Well.

Maybe a tiny bit of sparkle, but it’s so subtle now, you might not notice it at all.

I stopped wearing flowers in my hair.

I still have them.

I will wear them at Burning Man.

I will have a wild hair parade everyday out there, I will wear flowers and ribbons and hats and fascinators and I will have fabulous makeup and flamboyant dresses.

I will wear fucking antlers on my head.

See if I won’t.

But.

Not when I have a session with a client.

I like this refined me.

It feels adult.

I like wearing heels and nice button down shirts and expensive jeans and soft, clean makeup, I still wear hoops, but not the super gigantic ones anymore.

Oh.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m an attractive woman and I have unique features and my hair is always going to be wild, but it’s just wild brown curls now not hot pink curls, and well, the tattoos, they will always be there and there will probably be another one or two add to the mix.

I am never not going to be noticeable.

But fuck me.

I will be professional.

And that’s my business.

I don’t have to judge how others do it, even though, shit, half this blog was all about judging mister stinky feet and the sloppy ass interns in t-shirts and dirty jeans, but I do get to process it out here.

So that when I interact with them.

I can be professional.

Because.

I am.

I am a psychotherapist.

And I will dress like it because it pleases me to do so.

So there.

Ha.

Cherry Popped

June 14, 2017

I had my first client.

It went well.

That’s all I’m going to say.

That and holy shit.

I had my first client!

I did my first session of therapy with a client.

The client has rebooked for another session.

So it really begins.

As though it’s not been beginning for a very long time, all the time training and studying and reading and writing papers and working with my cohort.

All that.

Plus.

Years of other kinds of service, sitting and listening to another person check in, being honest, being accountable, showing up, doing the deal.

I mean.

Fuck.

I have been working hard for a god damn long time to get here.

I had my first client session.

I know I won’t ever forget it.

And I am grateful for it.

It was a good day.

A sunny day.

A lovely day.

I did a lot.

Showered and wrote and coffee and reading and making sure I had a back up outfit for work, just in case I get nannied in the line of duty.

Last week the baby spit up on both my arms.

Nothing says “let’s create a therapeutic alliance” more than smelling like regurgitated breast milk.

Ha.

So.

I have a back up outfit at work.

I actually have two.

I have one just for work, if I need to I can do a quick change out and being able to work the rest of whatever hours I have work and run my stuff through the wash.

And now.

I have a second outfit that is more appropriate to looking like a professional.

Oh.

I’m still pretty casual in my attire.

But.

I today I was was also softly polished.

Black leggings, long drop waist charcoal grey dress, baby blue cardigan, and my new Fluevogs.

I wanted to look nice, warm, inviting.

I also liked dressing for the part.

I love dress up.

I love clothes and shoes and I have secretly waited to arrive at the day when I can start to be a little more polished and professional.

It was really nice to transition from my nanny clogs to my therapist shoes.

It felt like I was putting on my superhero cloak.

Nanny by day, psychotherapist by night.

I’ll be seeing all my clients in the evenings after I get done with work.

I was talking to my own therapist this morning, I see her on Tuesdays before work, so it’s like my day is completely bookended with therapy, about how lucky I am that I have the job that I do and how much it fills me up.

My therapist and I talked a lot about how strong I am and how I don’t always know how to let myself recognize that, that I do the work.

I can logically see it, but sometimes when I have felt like I have had no other option, no one else to rely on, just me doing it on my own, how devastatingly lonely that can be and how hard.

It has taken getting pretty beaten down by a few accidents during the last twelve and a half years to help me see that asking for help is a valuable experience for me and when I am more vulnerable.

Well.

I am stronger.

There is such strength in vulnerability.

The more I can allow myself to be seen, to be vulnerable, the more I learn and the more I am able to use my own inner resources without having to feel like I’m justing working hard to work hard.

I am so grateful that wall has dropped.

It goes back up at times, but I find the more I can let it down the happier I am and the fuller my life become.

I am incorrigible in my aliveness and lust for living.

Absolutely defiant with my need to feel more happiness and joy and see more and go further and have as many experiences and have as much growth as I can.

Yeah.

I know that might be courting some painful things too, but there is growth where there is pain.

I do hope to reach a point in my life when I can make changes before I have to experience pain, a place of simple humility about what I can and can’t do, rather than a forced feeding of excoriation because I am simply unwilling to let go of some characteristic of myself that I think still serves me.

Not acknowledging my strength today in my therapy session would have been akin to that.

I acknowledged it.

And.

I also had to hold the fact that there’s an inner critic who still holds a lot of sway and likes to smack talk me quite a bit.

Not enough.

Not smart enough.

Not pretty enough.

Not lovable.

Not good enough.

But.

Those things are simply not true and they taste older and more and more faded and dusty and the cloth binding is falling apart.

Let me drop it to the floor, sweep it out the door and find something fresh and new and lovely.

There is so much loveliness for me.

I am sure of it.

“Your capacity for love is enormous,” my therapist said, “you have the biggest heart.”

Hearing a basic stranger, I mean, we’ve had, like what, eight sessions, tell me that my capacity for love was not just big, but enormous, I was floored.

I was validated.

That is what I hope to do for my clients.

To see them.

Honest in who they are with whatever they bring.

I know that I can do it and I am honored that I got to do that today.

And yes.

Log my first freaking hour of individual therapy.

It feels amazing to be logging hours.

I have a long way to go.

But I am on the path and that is all I need to be present for.

I don’t have to know where it ends.

I just need to continue moving forward.

One baby step at a time.

 

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step

–Lao Tzu

Not The Day Off

April 12, 2017

I had planned.

Actually.

I hadn’t anything fixed in my plans.

I had some ideas.

And nary a one of them was met.

Fine.

I am alright with that.

It was still a nice day off.

I had therapy in the morning.

I realized when I got there that I had left my phone charging on the table in my tiny kitchen.

I had even noticed it, and said to myself, self, don’t forget that phone, self, your phone is on table.

But.

Well.

Ack.

It was forgotten.

I took it to mean I should be electronically free for a little while.

It was interesting though.

Trying to get into the building where I go for therapy, it has a key code and I couldn’t remember it at first.

I had all the right numbers, as it turns out, I had just not tried them in the correct sequence.

I eventually got in, but it was sort of funny punching in the numbers and wondering how this was going to look to my new therapist.

We did chat a little about me forgetting my phone, happens sometimes when I get moving too fast or I am trying to do too many things, I was folding laundry because I didn’t want to come home to a basket of it and I was a little rushed.

I even remember thinking, really, are you going to be late to therapy because you’re folding leggings and socks?

Get going!

And of course.

I got.

And I forgot.

It was not the end of the world, but I can tell as the weeks just begin to build, that I am scared of what may come up, of the stuff getting unpacked, the things crawling out into the light of day, the raggedy dolly being pulled out from underneath the bed, that the therapeutic alliance is being created and if I trust this woman.

WELL.

Shit might happen.

I was joking with a friend about emotions and naming them and he said, “yeah I know, when this thing happened (insert thing, I don’t remember) I felt like shit.”

I said to him, “shit is not a feeling.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” he said, “I felt like crap.”

We both laughed.

Thing is.

As much as I might be afraid to address the stuff, I do want to shine some light on it, find the wounding, clean it out, heal it and let myself experience more living, more experiences, more joy, more laughter.

I feel like there’s a lot of things that I don’t appreciate enough because I still have these super old defensive mechanisms that kick into place sometimes and I am not always aware of them.

I want to shed them.

I want new tools for my life and experiences.

I want to grow.

I don’t want to stay stuck.

It’s a challenge.

And I’m aware that I may throw a monkey wrench into the process, but I can also see quite well that I am the only thing in my way of moving forward.

So.

I had my session and I scootered back home.

I got my phone, 100% charged, ha.

I texted my friend who I was meeting for lunch and confirmed timing and headed right back out.

We hung out, shot the shit, talked about my trip to Paris.

God.

I could talk about my trip to Paris a lot.

In case you were wondering.

I leave a month from today on May 11th.

One month away.

Four weeks of work.

Three papers.

One weekend of classes.

So close.

I can taste the baguette.

Not that I will be eating any.

Perhaps I should say, smell the baguette.

There is just such a delicious smell to bread in France, the butter they use for the croissants, oof, the smell is heady and rich and so much more nuanced than what I smell from a croissant here.

A few places do get it right.

Tartine has a croissant worth writing about.

Again, not that I have tried any recently, but it is still something magical to ride past the store front on 18th and Guerrero and smell the bread and the pastry being made.

I always reminds me of the smell in Paris on the blocks where there is a good boulangerie.

Grateful again and again that I booked this trip.

I will be missing my darling and pregnant friend with whom I was supposed to be taking  the trip with, however, I know myself, I know my abilities, and I know that I will have a grand time.

I am not afraid to travel on my own, although company is nice, it is not necessary.

I shall create the company I crave.

And that really is all that matters.

Being aware of what my needs are, being able to access them, and take care of them.

Like today.

I just needed to chill out on my friends couch and talk.

Sometimes that is the best thing I can do.

Not do a whole hell of a lot.

Have a nice lunch, hang out, talk, connect with another human being, share adventures in life and make more plans to have more adventures.

I promised myself I was not going to have anything to do with school today or yesterday and that was accomplished.

Perhaps the most important thing was that.

We did leave my friend’s house and have adventures out in the world, running some errands in the SOMA, having coffee at Wicked Grounds, which always amuses, there are few choices for coffee in the SOMA and who doesn’t want to go to a sex positive coffee-house in the leather district in San Francisco?

Hello.

Their coffee is not the best, but when you don’t have a choice, it will work, and the crowd is always eclectic, and the scenery is fun to check out and it’s cheeky and cute.

We ended up giving up our table to a group that were coming in to run a rope bondage workshop.

I love San Francisco.

Then I headed back to the Castro, caught a quick bite and did the deal with my person.

It was a perfect.

Lovely.

Low key day off.

Hell.

I even snuck in a little self-care session when I got home.

Heh.

I am ready to go back to work tomorrow and I even have time to unwind with a video and some more hot tea before calling it a night.

Tomorrow the work and school grind is back on.

And that’s ok.

Because at the end of the tunnel.

Light.

The golden flares of brilliance off the edges of the Seine at sunset, the river smote with light, swans, and the Eiffel Tower in the distance, a dream, just there, smitten with the smell of baking bread, adrift in the dust motes of love scattered there on the waves.

Yes.

I see you Paris.

Please do wait for me.

I will be there soon.

Je t’aime Paris.

Trop bisoux pour toi.


%d bloggers like this: