Sea Legs

It’s hard to for me to imagine that I’ve had a job for 5 months. I still feel like a new therapist. At the same time I feel a veteran.

One of my professors said “Give yourself 3 years before you quit.  You’ll want to pay your clients to see you.  Then a client will come to you and you will quickly realize that they are more mature than you are.”¹  Some days I wonder if I’m doing something wrong.  Even though I have rough days and I’m sure I don’t know what I’m doing with a client I don’t feel like quitting. I know I’ve made the right choice. I wonder if it has something to do with life experience. This is my second career, sort of.  I don’t see my work at a youth pastor much different than what I’m doing now.  At least, the meaty parts of youth ministry.  The moments that I lived for.  The moments I was like a tightly trimmed catamaran that’s literally humming in the water.  A catamaran that is cutting through the water, with the sails trimmed tightly, the hulls at just the right angle in the water, creates this resonance that’s like a tuning fork.  You’re part of the resonance when you’re aboard.  That’s how I feel at my job.

There is a lot of turnover in community mental health.  This means I’m not the new guy anymore.  When new hires arrive after company orientation I have some wisdom to share. Things like finding the extra office supplies, kitchen norms, forms that 99% of our company uses that our department doesn’t, and what mode of communication each supervisor prefers.  There’s also a “deer in the headlights period.”  I work in Children’s Intensive Services (The WISe program).  We work with a lot of trauma victims.  Abuse, neglect, substance abuse, substance exposed, attachment deficiencies, psychosis, severe mood disorders, self and other-focused harm for a few examples.  That’s just a Monday morning.   As my internship supervisor always told me “This work is chaotic.  Manage your inner chaos and you’ll be fine.”  I get to help some of my new peers at my supervisor help me.

It feels good to get my sea legs at this job.  I’m looking forward to learning more and growing as a therapist.

Thanks for stopping by.  Be uncommon.



¹Dr. Dan Allender, in a lecture for the class Faith, Hope, &  Love.