I recently had an hour with a client that troubled me. I wasn’t *sure* if this was one of those moments when I should be actively taking this ‘up the ladder’ or not and so I ‘ummed’ and ‘ahhed’ about it, until another trainee friend suggested that I texted my supervisor with my concerns and let him make the decision.
Well, that all sounded too simple, and so I did. My supervisor (Fred) called me later in the evening when he was free and I was able to share my concerns at length. Fred spoke to me at length (40 minutes!) and together we came up with a plan of what would be necessary – of things I could put in place in my next session with the client, and a reminder that I did, when setting up the placement, put steps in place that detailed what I needed to do in instances like this, FOR EXACTLY THIS REASON. That made me feel better about contacting him, and to carry out part two of my steps without issue.
It was hard to make that initial contact, I very much had ‘what if it’s nothing?’ floating round in my head, but frankly I realised it was far better to have a false positive (do too much about a situation that is not that serious) than a false negative (don’t do enough for a situation that IS serious). That let me make the text and also gave me the impetus I needed to make sure that I was able to address the issue at hand in my next session with my client. I’m happy to say that all went well, but even if it hadn’t, just being able to talk to Fred meant that I wasn’t ruminating on ‘what to do?’ and ‘what if?’ all week. I knew there was a ‘what if’, but it wasn’t running rampant in my head.
This is one of those odd moments where I had a hard time and that hard time has helped me to see that actually, I CAN do this. I always had a sneaking suspicion that I wouldn’t be able to put things down and thus wouldn’t make a good therapist. Now I begin to suspect that I couldn’t put things down before because there was no official ‘process’ in place to let me do so, so I carried it, day in, day out….