In an effort to maintain a false sense of privacy, I don’t tell you everything in my blog. After I shared the story of The Penis, you probably thought there was nothing left to share. But there is.
I told all my psychologist friends that I was missing my work, and, abracadabra, a few new clients have trickled in to my office. It’s kind of nice to receive calls from anyone who isn’t a telephone solicitor, although who can resist that woman offering free cruises?
When I returned to work, I was determined to see only clients I had seen before because they were known entities, which somehow felt less scary. I decided to let that rule lapse a while back. Turns out it’s kind of nice to have the challenge of a new client. And a new client is new to me only for that first session, I realized.
It can be pretty nerve wracking to set foot in a new therapist’s office. I know because I’ve been the client myself. Will I like this therapist? Will she like me? (Don’t we all want our therapist to like us?) Will I feel comfortable with her? Will she be able to help me?
I wonder if it’s ever occurred to clients that therapists find that first session a bit stressful too, for many of the same reasons. I don’t sleep much the night before a new client is scheduled because I’m running through potential scenarios in my head. What do I have to do to help this client feel comfortable? Will my personality or approach be a good fit for him? Does the client have issues that I have dealt with before, that I have some expertise in? And what if I don’t? It’s hard to tell someone you may not be the best person for him to see.
And the end of that first session is stressful too. Will she decide she wants to come back or will I be summarily fired? Not everyone does like me, and I can accept that. We all need to find someone we feel comfortable talking to, and if I’m not that person for any client, I’d rather she find someone who is. Ultimately, I want the client to get help, since she’s identified she’d benefit from it.
I’m also nervous because I never want to repeat my disappearing act of 2012 when I became gravely ill. I’m hoping I’ll be able to warn clients well ahead of time if I plan to stop working again. I can’t promise–health is unpredictable–but I’ll do my best.
So the office door has opened a crack. Feel free to tell all your friends the doctor is back in. I’d relish more opportunities to use that rusty psychologist brain of mine. In addition to brushing up on my skills, with work I’ll have something much more interesting than my cancer to focus on, at least for a few hours each week. You can tell any new prospects they needn’t be stressed about trying me out. I’ll easily assume that anxiety for both of us.