Every now and then something happens that makes you question yourself and what you’re doing. This week I had a brief encounter with a young man that is struggling with life. He’s living with his mother, unemployed, and bearing a mental health burden that no one deserves. My heart goes out to him and his mother. Unfortunately, he is unable to handle the gentle pressure that therapy sometimes places on you and our session ended prematurely due to his very agitated response. And unfortunately for me, his response triggered memories of similar incidents over the past 25 years. That’s the nature of the work we do. Sometimes people come to us and change us. I shared this incident with a colleague and she shared a similar incident that almost caused her to quit being a therapist. She was assaulted by a client during a session. We are people. We love helping people.
So, what do we do? We see the next client, weather the negative reviews on google, share our burdens with family and friends, get out and hike. We listen to the latest Bon Iver album. At times, we see a therapist. And we stoke the flames that that burn deeply within us, that brought us to the very first therapy session, that for some of us was 25 years ago.
I love what I do. Later in the week, I sat across from Harper, a 14-year old that needs my help. She was abandoned by her father and struggling to make sense of it and of life. She’s growing and it warms my heart. Like I said, sometimes people come to us and change us.
A friend gave me “The Daily Stoic,” by Ryan Holiday. The quote for this past Wednesday was from Epictetus: “Some things are in our control, while others are not. We control our opinion, choice, desire, aversion, and in a word, everything of our own doing. We don’t control our body, property, reputation, position, and in a word, everything not of our own doing.” Those of you that know me, know that I live my life based, in part, by slogans. It helps me stay focused on the important stuff. One slogan that relates to this quote from Epictetus is “Adjust to the things that won’t adjust to you.” This slogan reminds me that there are things that are not going to change no matter how much effort I apply to them. In a way, that’s why I love the Jefferson Forest, and the Red River Gorge, and the Grand Canyon, and all the other places that I explore. They are not going to adjust to me no matter what I do. We need immutable things in our lives. And we need to adjust to them. That includes places AND people.
Our new Student Intern started this past week. Her name is Sharonda Tunstull. She is a graduate student at Campbellsville University, working on her Master’s in Social Work. We are so fortunate to have her with our agency. She is going to be developing an Adolescent Group and seeing individuals and families for therapy. She is also going to co-lead a group for individuals with development and intellectual disabilities called, “Positive Relationships.” Welcome aboard, Sharonda!!!!