i’ve had an incredible week at work. yesterday was kinda tough, to fully capture my strong feelings i should’ve written this a day or so earlier, but… what can you do.
i truly feel that my work has a component of holiness. i’m a therapist and i’m lucky enough to share in people’s process from hurt to healing, darkness into light. i have individual clients and do group work with people in treatment for chemical dependency. i’ll mention that chemical dependency is very intertwined with social services and the legal system where i live, so many people are either court ordered or are there because it’s a stepping stone into other services. i have mixed feelings about this. obviously when you’re not there for the purpose intended, or you’re being forced to be there, you may not reap the benefits intended. but, you may get something unexpected. and that goes along with what i believe about my profession.
in group this week, one of the men asked me if i take my work home with me, the things i hear, the sadness. i told him i’m not a robot and i think about my clients a lot outside of work. but i also don’t see myself as a savior. i didn’t get into this field to save the world. i came to give whatever help i can – to provide conversation pieces, to be a second pair of eyes, to build perspective. i’m a gifted listener, that’s kind of what my talent boils down to. with that, i built on skills about what to clinically listen for, verbalizing helpful support and pointed questions. some people will take what i bring and run with it, others won’t. i can’t be connected to the outcome (though i notice change and rejoice in it). i choose to focus on the growth, hope, and beauty of people, even in periods of brokenness.
this week at my agency, we’re implementing some new groups and re-vamping our programs. it was terrifying and exhilerating to try new content and methods. i’ve really taken a leadership and ownership role on this project and the benefits are amazing. i feel so good! a colleage came in to say hi and said i was glowing, she could see it on my face. i told her what i had been working on in group, and she said, “you’re stretching. doesn’t it feel nice to be brave and stretch and grow?” it really does. in addition, each individual session i have had so far this week has had this holy element, too. we’re connecting. i’m asking the right questions and my clients are having this wonderful insight, and i can see them growing, too. to be with people as they experience growth and insight is the most humbling, exciting, heartfelt feeling. i really love my work.
finishing school in the summer and moving straight into intensive caretaking and grief, i’ve been halfway checked out of my work for a while. granted, this is the only kind of work i would’ve wanted to have been doing this year. it had to be meaningful and helpful for it to make any sense with what i’ve gone through this year. diving head first into grief over the past couple of months has made returning to work manageable somehow. i’ll never get over the deaths of my aunt and grandma. i still burst into tears unexpectedly and i’ve got so much more to process. but really feeling the grief allows for me to set it aside and get present with my work and my life. i’m determined to move forward.
my last conversation with Barb has haunted me and stuck with me, it always will. i’ll save the details for another time, but the gist was her encouragement for me to leave the dead behind and to go LIVE. in her last weeks she also pointed out how we liked the same things – art and psychology. my decision to go into therapy had little to do with my aunt. but during these times when i feel the holiness of the work now, i feel a part of her in it with me.