I was lucky enough to get two calls very soon after we went ‘live’, and my first two assessments were happening on the same night.
I didn’t feel so bad during the day – my fulltime work is busy enough to keep me occupied, but come 5pm when I finished I had so many thoughts go through my head – would i be good enough for my client? would my client say ‘how many clients have you had?’ and go running out of the door when I said they were the first?
I had booked a pre-first appointment supervision with Fred, and we talked through many of these things, and whilst I was confident that I had answers for many of the questions I suspected would come up, I wasn’t entirely sure that on ACTUALLY being asked them, I would manage to give the answers I’d thought about! Lucky, come the time, none of those ‘bogey’ questions came up.
My first assessment was at 7.30, so of course I was at the placement ridiculously early – just to ‘make sure’, and I wandered around the room thinking about the shortcomings of the room (which is not set up as a therapy room, but is actually adequate for the need) when suddenly: ’tissues! I don’t have tissues!’ occurred to me. Then several other things occurred – what if the clock stopped? I don’t wear a watch. What if, what if? Mostly daft thoughts where my brain is just on overdrive. I wrote a list of the things I would need to bring each week and then it was time for that First Client.
Who was lovely. Just the kind of client you would want for a first client. He didn’t mind that I was a trainee, and my face, which tends to go pink at times of high stress, didn’t seem to bother him either. We had a good assessment session and at the end of it, I was confident that I had gathered enough information based on the things I’d considered in supervision and with a mental ‘thanks’ to Fred, I waved that first client away, ready to see them for the first time ‘properly’ the week after.
I made myself some verbal notes and then it was a couple of minutes’ break and on to the second assessment
The second assessment? It was a breeze. Lovely, interesting, but I was so much more confident that I had covered the things I needed that I could just sit and rely on my assessment process.
What did surprise me, however, was how much both of the assessments turned in to ‘therapy’ moments, with both potential clients sharing quite a lot of information with me. It’s something I try not to do when I am assessed as a client, so I wasn’t expecting it. It worked well however, and both clients wanted to come for more sessions, and I was happy to see them both. I guess that makes me a proper (trainee) therapist now – as opposed to just one in potential 🙂