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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

10 Things About Me #3

I'm still making my way through 100 things. This is the third installment. Here's #1 and here's #2.

21. I just accepted a second job. I'll be supervising graduate student interns in a counseling agency part-time. I like doing clinical supervision. I do some of it in my private practice, too. It's like using my skills, but the intimate relationship is once-removed; my concern is with the counselor's growth, rather than directly with the client. It is a nice balance. There is a limit to the number of intimate relationships I can handle well at any one time.

22. About 2/3 of my clients are therapists or clergy. This is a little niche that I've evolved into, by word of mouth. I did not see it coming, would not have guessed that things would go that way. But I like it.

23. Until this week, the most difficult scenes I'd been witness to at work were husbands learning of their wives' infidelity, in my presence. One husband insisted upon details. It was excruciating for all concerned. It seemed to me very much like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

24. Now, I've witnessed a new kind of train wreck. A daughter telling her mother that she has been molested by the mother's husband for 12 years. People ask, "How does a mother not know?" This mother did not know. This mother and daughter are devoted to each other. Yes, I've dealt with this topic plenty. But I've never actually been there to feel the energy in the room when the adult child tells the parent.

25. The above gets even more difficult, for me. The mother and father are my clients; not the daughter.

26. I'm going on vacation at the end of next week. Can you say, "Hurry! End of next week!"

27. I spend more time with my daughter in the summer. I am enjoying her very much:
"Mom, when we go to D.C. this summer, am I old enough now to visit the Homocaust Museum?"

"Is Mark Twain Shania Twain's husband?" Yes, I know, I should be ashamed. Tom Sawyer is now in her hands.

Yesterday, between swimming lesson and Mad Science Camp, we had 15 minutes to pop in the house and grab a lunch . . . . OK, sandwich and fruit! I threw a hot dog in the microwave, presented it to her on a roll, with a side of banana. "Mom, I think we need more variety in the shape of our lunch foods."

28. Sometimes I go through my "referrals" and just click on the people I don't know who have visited me. Sometimes I can't read their blogs because they speak a different language, but I imagine that they're very nice blogs, and I wish I were bilingual like those folk.

29. There are exceptions, but mostly I am not at all impulsive. I consider things for a very long time before I actually do them.

30. When we go on our vacation, we'll be driving many, many miles in an 11-year-old, 200,000 mile Hoopty minivan. I'm a little apprehensive. Last night we went out to eat at Outback. No rules, just right. While we waited for a table, we talked about options -- borrow a vehicle, rent a vehicle, take my slightly newer but smaller, less comfortable car . . . Our waitress was Dawn. And you know what she said, don't you? "I will take care of you. Just let me know if there's anything you need." When she went to get our drinks, Jif said, "Hey, we can borrow Dawn's car!" We kept trying to get LG to ask her, but she wouldn't.

37 heads are better than one . . .

Blogger Squirl said...

Wow, you have a "heavy" client list, therapists and clergy. Therapist to the therapists. That must have been horrible to hear the daughter tell her mother of the molestation. You really need this vacation. But we're going to miss you. How long will you be gone? Thats how long, not counting vehicle repair. Did you get Dawn's phone number?

Blogger The Lioness said...

Lovely. Your child is a treat, an absolute treat. Must be wonderful to not only love one's child but also actually like and enjoy her.

Blogger WILLIAM said...

#22. Who councils the counselor's conselor.
#23. WOW
#24. Holy Wow. Energy Indeed.
#26. Good for you. Have fun. You will be missed if you do not post.
#27. "..variety in the shape of our lunch foods." That is funny stuff.
#30. I am not sure how much you will be driving, but if you rent a car I love the Hertz Never Lost system. It has a GPS/directional device that is great. Never get lost. It is a great gadget to have on a vaction.

Blogger LadyBug said...

21. I don't know why it had never occurred to me that therapists have an internship period. Did I think they were just schooled up and turned out?

22. I am not at all surprised to learn that so many of your clients are therapists and clergy, from what I've learned of you. I imagine you are HIGHLY respected in your field.

23. My heart breaks for those spouses.

24-25. I cannot imagine. What a horrible, horrible moment for that mother and daughter, and for you. But a good moment, as well, to finally have the 'secret' out. I wish for them healing. I know you'll play an integral role in that.

26. Hurry! End of next week! (Judging from 21-25, you desperately need this time off, time to get away and focus on you and your family.)

27. I just love LG. Some of the things she says really remind me of The Drama Queen. Tell her 'hi' for me, k?

28. I know there are sites that will translate those blogs for you, but I don't know where they are.

29. Good for you!

30. Yes, definitely get Dawn's number, and either borrow her car, or give her a ringy-dingy if yours breaks down.

(Sorry to leave such a long comment, but I haven't left a long one in a while. I'm making up for it! :o)

Blogger eclectic said...

Go forth and let down your hair..., or your top..., or whatever... just don't spend the whole vacation in Hank's Auto Shop and Hair Salon. Wanna borrow the Pilot?

Anonymous peefer said...

#23-24-25: Wow. Heavy. As Joe average, I can sometimes deal with one person's crisis at a time, mostly by listening and asking path-finding questions.

I don't know how I could be sensitive to 2 or 3 people at a time. I would most likely run out of the room. This is why I am not a therapist.

Therefore you must be special. (I'm not saying this in a sucking-up kind of way, because I always try my hardest not to suck up. It's just that some jobs can be done by anyone, and some take unique and inherent skills. Assuming you don't run out of the room, you must have these.)

Blogger Twixie said...

that really is some heavy stuff to deal with. Just wondering though-- do you ever tear when your client is sharing something painful? That happened once with a student here... I couldn't help my eyes watering- How do you deal with showing emotion in a session?

Your daughter's the best, reminds me of my nieces. Very cute
Have a great vacation.

Blogger SierraBella said...

A great blend here of funny and terribly serious.
I love LG's comment about the Homocaust museum! I missed that one last time I visited DC.

Blogger Susie said...

squirl, yes, this week has been particularly heavy. I shall be gone for about 10-11 days. Good one: vehicle repair & Dawn's number. I'll have to get it ;)

lioness, yes, she is, and thank you. I do believe what someone told me a long time ago -- what children really want is to be enjoyed.

william, I have my own shrink to manage my crazy spots; I like that Hertzy thing, I'm going to check into that. Thank you. Oh, and I don't think I'll have internet access; I may end up in a blog rehab/detox somewhere!

ladybug, the nerve of you, leaving such a long comment! ;p Yea, most licenses require quite a long internship period, which is good. I also see the resemblance between LG and the DQ. Delightful girls, they are. Thank you for saying nice things; that family is in a helluva mess. I'll do what I can.

eclectic, get outta here! You got the Pilot? Hell yea I want to borrow it; after I recommended it to you! ;)

peefer, I'd be lying if I said I never FELT like running out of the room; but I haven't actually done it yet.

twixie, yes, that's an interesting question. Of course I am sometimes moved to tears; I was last night. However I'm very much in professional mode; I don't weep, sob, I just show enough to show compassion. But not enough that the client becomes concerned for me; it's not about me. About me comes later, at home or with my own helpers. It's spontaneous, but it's also very calculated, very deliberate; some clients don't KNOW how to feel or what to feel; modeling of emotion appropriate to the situation can actually be part of the therapy.

sierrabella, I know, that one killed me. God help us, hopefully we'll never need a homocaust museum.

Blogger _Summer_ said...

You get to go to DC--lucky duck!

DC...we went there two years in a row, and I'd go back every year if we could. Especially for the food. Lots of good eats there in DC.

Y'all will be fine in the van. Maybe take it in for a quick tune-up this week....you know, get it inspected, charge that A/C w/ freon, replace the spark plugs...

That might set your mind at ease.

Heh, heh: Hi, my name is Summer. I'll be taking care of you this afternoon.

Anonymous Sharkey said...

"Mom, I think we need more variety in the shape of our lunch foods." I love it--sounds like LG's got your observation skills and sense of humor.

Anonymous lawbrat said...

I was going to say what Sharky did...beat me to it!

How difficult that your the mom and his therapist. That poor child. My heart breaks for her and her mom.

Enjoy your vacation. You can borrow my car. LOL
Im not sure it would make it to you though :-(

Blogger Von Krankipantzen said...

Wow, that is quite a heavy load at work. But how great that you can come home to such a wonderful kid. Heals the day away.

Blogger SRH said...

Was the daughter still a minor? Did you have to report this?

How horrible of a situation to be in. I will send positive thoughts your way. Umm... what direction are you from central Ohio, is it SE or ESE. ;)

Therapy is a diufficult job. Last time I saw mine he had clearly been through a difficult session right before me. Dead kleenex boxes everywhere.

Blogger Torrie said...

I like you.

That is all.

Blogger sarahkaplan said...

Whoa-My word that post was literally like talking to my sister. I am going to "make her"
read your blog. As I said in a different comment....you two sound so much alike it is just bizzare.

I guess you also are "soft-spoken"?
And have stock in Kimberly-Clark
the makers of Kleenex?

Now about that car...since I will so not be using my car...you are welcome to "stop" by and pick it up..The key's will be under the passenger side floor mat. I have
a 2003 Toyota Highlander...you will
have plenty of room. The car has a full tank of gas...so that's worth

Now about that "Homacaust Museum".
My own personal thought-which is worth hmmm about 3cents on a good
day...IF your daughter is pretty
mature I would say OK....but many
of the exhibit's are very, very
distrubing for anyone. There are
a number of people who go in...see
a few things and have to leave.

It is very moving....and yes you
will cry...(how's that for sharing)
Now since I wrote a mini version of
"War and Peace" I might not be the
best judge on the museum.....for
obvious reasons.

Oh and the car is in the garage..
I will make sure the door is unlocked. You are on your own for snacks....I believe I might have
6 bottles of water to start you off with...Check in the back seat.

Another option-stop by a car dealership and see if you can test drive something for 10 days. Tell them it just takes you awhile to make up your mind on such a big purchase.....


Blogger eclectic said...

Yep, we got the Pilot. And thanks for the good suggestion! The Pilot had been on our short list pretty much from the time they released them in '02. And you're welcome to borrow it!

Now, ***cue ominous lecture tone of voice***: Shania Twain's husband?? Augh, the humanity!!

Anonymous kalki said...

I sorta wish Mark Twain were Shania Twain's husband. Her songs have gone downhill lately....

And hey, at least LG didn't say, "Mom, why are all of our lunch foods the same shape as a _______?"

Blogger kenju said...

What I want to know is why the child waited 12 years to tell the mom that her husband had been molesting her? I know that sometimes the men warn them and threaten them, but how could you wait that long to tell someone?

Blogger OldHorsetailSnake said...

You're a doll, Susie. Nicely done. You also must be terribly well-adjusted to bear the burdens with those people. They might not thank you, so I will: Thanks for what you do.

Blogger zhoen said...

Have you seen The President's Analyst?

That actually made me feel better, of course my mother wilfully would not see that my father was inappropriate (not actual molestation, more just the threat of it), and that is plausable.

Daughter would agonize about telling her mother at all, such a touchy subject, so much potential for losing the only parent worth the name. Heartbreaking choice for someone emotionally damaged by the sexual abuse.

Anonymous Julie said...

I recommend renting a van. Until we got a minivan of our own, that's how we traveled comfortably between OH-FL every summer. It's well worth the expense. HAVE FUN!

Blogger dashababy said...

It must be extremely difficult to maintain neutrality with your clients. How do you not loathe someone that would molest a child?
You must be very compassionate. I like to think I am too but jeez.... thats a tough one.

That last line made me laugh.... you shoulda asked Dawn if you could borrow her car. Now Im going to laugh everytime some waitperson says they will take care of me.

Blogger mrtl said...

Maybe you should make a list. Next time a waiter says that, present the list.

Blogger momo said...

I have to say that after reading this, I'm truly glad that I changed my mind about becoming a counselor/therapist. I'm sure it's very fulfilling- helping people, that's the part I liked about it. I've always been told I'm a good listener and offer good advice, but I don't think I could have handled it.

My hats off to you...I have to agree with peefer, it takes a special person. And I'm way,way to emotional- I'd constantly be in tears.

LG sounds like an amazing little girl. Love her "variety" comment- truly a witty wee one!

Enjoy your vacation,I'd offer my car ...but trust me you probally wouldn't get too far! Bet you would have died if LG had asked Dawn.

Mrtl has a good idea with the list for the next waitperson. LOL!

Blogger Susie said...

summer, the GART master, I would feel most comfy to have you taking care of me on the trip. Thanks for the good advice ;)

sharkey, LG is funny; 9 is turning out to be a very cool age. She's a blessing.

lawbrat, I'll take your car; just fill the trunk with duct tape!
It is a bizarre situation, having this man as my client; this was out of the blue, not at all what they came to counseling for.

kranki, you're right. Her smile chases away a lot of ugliness.

srh, the girl is an adult now, but because it began in childhood, there was a requirement to report. I didn't have to do it because she chose to. Detectives are already involved.

torrie, that is enough. ;)

sarah, in fact, I have been described as soft-spoken. In spite of how much I go onandonandon here on the blog, I usually listen much more than I talk. Of course, I'd love to "meet" your sister, I hope she'll stop by.

We'll take real good care of the Highlander, don't worry about a thing.

I have not yet been to the Holocaust Museum. A group from my church went, but I missed it. It is on our list for this summer. I will scout ahead and limit what LG sees. She is mature, but also very sensitive. Thank you for the caution, we will be discerning.

eclectic, so far we have the duct-taped hoopty from lawbrat, the Highlander from Sarah, and your new Pilot. Who says blogfriends aren't real friends?!

kalki, I KNOW. I thought for sure she was going to say that all our foods were shaped like a p p p pickle. But she didn't. Yea, Mark would help Shania out.

kenju, I know that is hard to understand. I won't bore or horrify everyone with TMI, or say anything specific to these clients, but just some possibilities: The perp does threaten the child or her other family members or pets; when it starts so early that the child has no context for it, it blurs into normalcy, and by the time the child recognizes it as wrong, he or she is so overwhelmed by the shame of it that they keep quiet; there is a phenom. called "trauma bonding," wherein the victim is bound to the perp by shared horrible circumstances/shameful secrets; the body responds in ways that make it easy for the perp to convince the victim that he or she is to blame -- especially the very young victim, the brainwashing combined with the involuntary sexual response pretty much seal the secrecy deal. There are more possibilities, but maybe you get the picture. I wish I hadn't seen so much of it, but I have; it's not uncommon for a secret to be kept this long, or even decades longer.

hoss, very well-adjusted or crazy as a loon? Either would work ;) Thanks for the thanks; that's always welcome, and many people do give it.

zhoenw, I haven't seen that. I'm sorry for your experience. You are right, often there is denial on the mother's part, and you put it very well -- the risk of losing the parent that the child now so desperately needs -- more than ever. In children's unsophisticated view, sometimes not telling affords them the illusion of some control over their small world.

julie, thank you; the rental vote is duly noted ;)

dashababymama, you've hit on one of the reasons this is hell week for me. I do not work with perpetrators. These people did not come to me to work on this, on something else entirely, and this grenade was thrown in out of the blue. And the man is denying everything. It is a very sickening position for me to be in, and I do plan to get myself out as quickly and cleanly as is ethically possible.
Did you read my link about Blake, and Laura? Don't believe them, Dashababymama, they'll say they'll take care of you, but they're LYING.

mrtl, that's a good idea. I was going to start carrying around my little folder of bills, but a list would be more convenient.

momo, thank you. I do love my work. This one just caught me by surprise; my intuition is good and I can usually see what's coming, but not this one.
Yes, my kid is delightful, not that I'm biased or anything. :)

Blogger abcd said...


Sarah has been talking about your writing and requested I come and read. I can see why she is so taken with what you share here with you readers.
How grand your ability to put
a face on our profession. So often
I think when I state I am a Psychiatrist, people temper their
conversation. I tend to say I am a doctor and elaborate only if pressed.
#21 I find clinical supervision extremely rewarding. It allows us to help in a very different sort of way.
#22. About 3/4 of my clients are
doctor's. Prior to entering private
practice I worked in a hospital setting. My peers were my word of mouth.
#23 and #24 Very difficult After those types of day's I call my
husband and say "will you make
dinner tonight" and "pamper me".

#27 Children at any age are joyous
humans especially when they are your own children.

I read Sarah's very long post. I must say she was a little animated.
She is very passionate and currently is under quite a bit of stress.

We all thank you for supporting
our sister.

A few like yourself have allowed her the comfort of expressing her
fear, but she also let everyone glimpse a bit of he fabulous humor.

She is ready to leave in the morning, and we are all very anxious.

I would encourage you to borrow
Sarah's car, somebody should take advantage of a sitting car.


Blogger marybishop said...

"Mom, I think we need more variety in the shape of our lunch foods."

I love this comment! How clever and cute...

Blogger Circus Kelli said...

Susie -- You are truly a special human being to be able to do what you do. Thank God for people like you. I will send good vibes your way, not just this week, but always.

As for your vacation, you go and have a blast! We will miss you, and look forward to hearing about your adventures when you return.

I, too, will chuckle when someone says "I will take care of you today".

Oh! And make sure to have a variety of food shapes during your vacation. :)

Blogger Nilbo said...

With each list installment, I adore you more and more. On the one hand, I was horrified and saddened by the situation with the mother and daughter. on the other hand, there's some comfort knowing "They could not be in better hands ..."

Blogger Dawn said...

21. that sounds pretty interesting. a lot of work-but intersting.

22. i always wondered if therapists have therapists, now i know.

24. ouch. oh my god that's hard to swallow.

26."hurry! end of next week!"

27.what's a mad science camp?

30.what, you wanna use my car?(my name is dawn too)ok but i have to warn you it's tiny-good on gas though.

Blogger Susie said...

MJ, welcome! Thanks for stopping by. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting Sarah and getting to know her a bit. And I visited swlf; so many of you! How blessed you are; I have five brothers, no sisters.

Thanks for your kind words about my blog. Talk of my work is actually rather rare here; usually it's all about the goofy. I do understand that Sarah, that all who love her, have been under huge stress. Blogging is a most excellent stress reliever, I find. Indeed, that is why I began, just to have fun and be silly, which I do here quite often. What I did not realize, and perhaps what your family is experiencing, is how NICE, how very lovely, and bright and funny and just enjoyable, blog visitors are. Yourself and your sister, included.

We'll take excellent care with Sarah's car ;) I hope you and your sisters will update your blog, and that Sarah will feel like posting, too. You are all in my prayers.

MB, thank you; I am a proud mama.

CK, thank you so much. I will work on those food shapes.

nilbo, and thank you. Your comment is much appreciated this evening. Somehow, this week, my name was placed on some cosmic "refer horrendous cases to her" list. Today I learned that a relatively new client's father murdered her mother. I need a vacation right about now.

dawn, thank you for helping hurry my vacation date! Mad Science camp is fun science-related lessons and experiments. This week they have made gumdrops, wired personal battery-operated fans, made cotton candy, launched rockets, and the like. LG is having fun there.

Blogger Closet Metro said...

What kind of tip do you leave if the waitress lets you borrow her car?

Blogger Kitty said...

What? Mark and Shania don't have a little somethin-somethin goin on? :)

I love hearing about your life experiences - please never stop :).

Blogger laurenbove said...

idb: Hope your trip's a fun one! I'm certain you need/deserve it!

What an interesting client niche! I think therapists are supposed to get therapy. Isn't it part of their professional continuing ed? I could be totally wrong.

I need a good one, that I know. =) I had a wonderful woman who was really like you. So down to earth and real and tell it like it is...she's gone and I miss her!!!!

Blogger Susie said...

CM, I think you leave a note: Here's a tip -- don't let strangers take your car!

kitty, I enjoy telling stories here. However, I am very concerned about you. The phrase "please never stop" should be uttered in another context entirely, for a sexy young unbride such as yourself. He's out there, kitty, get prowling.

LB, I think increasingly graduate programs require students to get therapy, but it wasn't always that way, and for some, it is still minimal -- 10 visits, for example.

I'm sorry your therapist is gone. It is hard to find one who is a good match, I think. Your comment reminds me of one of the nicest compliments I ever got, from a very brilliant scientist who was a client, telling me he had referred someone to me, he said, "I told him you're like a country doctor who will gently kick his ass in the right direction." I liked that.

Blogger Annejelynn said...

man, I need TIME!!! more TIME!!! specifically, more time for blog reading!

mmwah - that's a virtual kiss!


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