Sometimes thinking back on what clients might have said about me gives me pause for thought. Did I do a good job?
I have thought back on the clients that stand out to me over the past many years and I thought I was good as a counselor/therapist. I cared and was sensitive to their issues without belittling them. I cared and was respectful of them.
In our chemical dependency agency we designated clients to different levels of treatment. Usually I did the assessing, and I was told that most clients would be starting with more intensive treatment, being required to attend groups three times per week. Once they got through that phase of treatment they were assigned to my groups which were twice a week.
I remember in group one day how one client said that the chemical dependency counselor they had before me made them play with Tinker Toys. I thought about that; it disgusted me. How can they not feel disrespected if week after week they had to play with Tinker Toys? How disrespectful was that?!
What disturbs me is the people I worked for who managed those agencies where I was a mental health provider. The people I worked with were just as bad. They didn’t seem to have what it takes to be respectful of people who were battered down in their lives for whatever reason. I know I had what it takes to support someone when I had the time to spend listening with a desire to support their getting better. Getting into a better situation in life and walking alongside them was how I behaved. Not make them play with Tinker Toys as if they needed to be babysat.
The field of psychology is a rude place to be; you never are allowed the time and space to get to know if someone needs your help. They are assigned like cattle and given a number; a client number for their case files. Your rules are to keep out of being personally involved with them in outside activities; you can’t be friends for the time you quit working with them as clients for two years.
Yet I always wondered what happened to them. I guess I still care.