My dear, sweet, wonderful and caring sister has stated that she thinks that, given my job (let alone any other issues in my life), I should talk to some type of counselor. I am not opposed to this. I have seen counselors before after particularly traumatizing events (exceptionally bad break ups and death in my family). Right now I don’t think I need to go see one; however, In order to show Jackie that I value her opinion, I will now write up how the first session would go.
Counselor (C): Marty, very nice meeting you. Sorry about all the paperwork, but that’s the price of managed care (small chuckle). So, can you tell me what brings you here?
Me (M): (Scans the room for certificates, awards and) Sure, but i have a few questions first.
C: (Non-plussed) Sure, fire away.
M: Thanks, can you tell me a little bit about your therapeutic approach?
C: What do you mean?
M: You know, what sort of theroies of personality you subscribe to, your methodology in regards to to treatment. Cognitive Behavioral, psychodynamic, biological?
C: Ah, I subscribe mostly to a CBT approach, with a few other philosophies thrown in for good measure. Why do you ask?
M: Because if you said Psychodynamic or hinted at Freudian crap, I would have walked out right away. (here I smile to show that I’m kind of kidding) Anyway, I have a few more questions. Have you ever worked with kids with sexual behavior problems.
C: I’ve worked with victims before–were you victimized as
M: Nope. I just work the abusers. Since you’ve worked with victims, do you have any experience at helping others develop better self-care plans?
C: Not particularly, no, but I do have my own plan.
M: Well, thats something we could talk about.
C: Do you need help with work issues.
M: That’s only part of it. Do you have any experience at grief counseling?
C: A little bit. My, I’ve never been asked so many questions before. Have you seen a counselor before?
M: Yup. I’ll sign the release so you guys can compare notes if she has any–I’d go back to her if it wasn’t back in suburbia. I am looking for places closer to work and home.
C: Well that’s entirely understandable. What did you processes with her?
M: Grief issues, mild depression, a terrible relationship and a little bit of secondary trauma.
C: How did it work out?
M: Well, fine I supppose. It lasted for maybe 15 months. The death of my father kicked it off; my mom’s death and the horrible engagement I was in extended it.
C: I’m sorry for your loss–how long ago did they pass away.
M: My mom passed away in sept. of 05, my dad June of 03. It hasn’t gotten any easy, I just have better ways of coping.
C: And you said you were engaged.
M: Yeah, that was a bad idea. It didn’t work out–and we just brought out the worst in each other. She meant well and I loved her more than anyone–but she could only handle things by being, well, abusive.
C: I see. What do you mean
M: (Stare). I am not comfortable talking about that right now. this is just an intake–to see if we’re a fit as client and counselor. Nothing personal, but, I can only talk to one person about this right now. ITs been two years and I’m still a bit upset about it.
C: I understand, take your time. What are the other things you might need to talk about?
M: Lets see. Failed relationship that still bugs me and, on occasion, complicates my attempts to date other people. I miss my parents terribly. My job is draining–on every possible front–and it gets more complicated every day. My brother and sister and law thing I’m a whiney little bi–I mean brat. I also want to go back to school, but I don’t feel like i have moxie, wherewithal, support or brain power to do it. I also feel rather bitter about life in general. That about covers it.
C: I sure we would have a lot to talk about then.
M: Oh, I know we do. But what is that going to accomplish? Seriously, talking to an independent and non-judgmental would be good for me, but I think I know what I need to do?
C: Then why aren’t you doing it?
M: Good question. I’m not entirely sure that talking to you about it, or talking to anyone else particularly, will help me out either.
C: But, and I’m sure you know this, talking things out can be helpful.
M: I whole-heartedly believe this. AT the same time, I feel so pressured to get things together and have a great life–and to be honest, there isn’t anything you can tell me that I can’t direct myself to do or find–I feel that this may be a waste of time.
C: Did you feel that about your otehr counselors?
M: The psychodynamic one that wanted to talk about my dad, yeah. The grief therapist, not at all. But I only started seeing her when I was at my wits end. I’ve got a few months left before I feel that way.
C: But why wait?
M: Because I think i can do this on my own and with the support I have. I just need to do more and not burden my brother and sister-in-law.
C: Do you often feel like a burden?
M: (Stare). Oh gee. Its been a clinical hour. I’ll schedule a follow up next week. Thanks.