Excerpt from a Career Journal: Therapeutic Guidance

Publish in an open access journal | Emerald Publishing

I feel like I botched it with one of my clients under the rules of this study. I don’t recall verbally informing a parent of the attendance policy. I know  this is not a formal rule, and she got the introduction package and there is a whole section on attendance. I simply feel as a clinician it’s nice to verbally have this conversation and to highlight certain points, seeing that paperwork does not always get read in a timely fashion. My client also had a “incident.” She had been sober 548 days and she revealed she had a relapse. I allowed her the space to verbally beat herself up. I then leaned in and said “Let me say softly, but loudly to reach you. How many hours have you been sober?” She looked up, tearful, with her face glistening with a mixture of tears and translucent snot, and above a whisper stated “14 days.”  I smiled at her, and said 14 days is 336 hours.  I wanted to check in on her feelings and talk about what triggered her to take a drink, but the manual states “The therapist does not rush in with reassurance or challenges, this would be felt as invalidating.  Denying the extent to which the client holds these feelings prevents the individual from going further -in order to uncover the positive, must be free to express the negative.” Shit did I undo all of that by smiling and saying 336 hours? I do feel she expressed her anger at herself while I offered positive regard. I will raise the question at the next supervision meeting and ask how others are handling such situations. I pray I do not get let go, but I continue to learn and grow and sharpen my skills to be the woman and therapist you want me to be.

*the “you” in this entry refers to God. I have found to process with God is to find guidance and direction.”

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