Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Tiring but good nonetheless

Today was the first day on the unit and I have to say, it was a very good one. I'm extremely exhausted right now, but I'll stay up long enough to inform my e-friends how the day went.

I discovered today that I'm not so bad of a counselor. Sure, alot comes with experience, but I found the "right words" coming out of my mouth when talking with my clients. It's amazing how much our perceptions of situations can freak us out. I had the preconceived notion of how things would be on a child and adolescent unit. I thought the clients would be very intimidating and that I would not do well. What I found was that these kids just need someone to listen to them.

I think that this is the population I want to work with. I felt at home in group sessions. If anything surprised me, it was that I enjoyed the children (4-12) even more than the adolescents (13-17). The hardest thing about working on this unit is not getting attached to the kids. I can see how it can be so easy to get attached and to invest so much in their success. I have to constantly remind myself that I am their counselor and they are my clients. I also have to remember that even though they may appear to be angels in groups (despite their attempted suicides and/or homicides) that things are not always like this at home. I can see how therapists may become almost too much of an advocate for their clients. Some of the stories are just so sad and you want to just take them home and tell them that everything will be o.k., but that's not an option at all in therapy. I think that's one thing that I'll learn to adjust to quickly.

Another interesting thing I learned today was the idea of transference. For those non-psych or non-freud reader people, transference is the idea of placing thoughts on a client that reminds you of someone else that you know. This happened today with one little boy that reminded me alot of my little cousin. I found myself liking this kid alot and almost playing favorites. Needless to say, I saw another side of that child later that was not so pleasant. The lesson learned here is that transference is o.k. to experience, but I have to keep it in check. I have to realize that it's there and be more objective towards that client.

So all in all, I had a really great experience on my first day.

The day ended with an ethics class on lsuhsc's campus. Now...ethics is a very VERY dull subject. It will be even harder to keep my attention for 3 hours every tuesday after working for 8 hours. Luckily, my teacher is a little out of his box. A little cooky, and VERY passionate about ethics. So if anyone can get the job done of teaching me ethics, it's him.


Literacy-chic said...

I may be confusing things, but I thought that the way Freud used "transference" was in the context of the patient transferring feelings/experiences onto the doctor rather than the other way around. Has this term been adopted more widely in therapy circles?

Literacy-chic said...

Glad the first day was a confidence-booster!

Chris said...

yep, it sure has. Freud's theory has now been applied to therapists transferring feelings on to their clients as well. There's also counter-transference which is how the therapist feeds off of the clients transference to them. confusing, but nonetheless, it's now commonly recognized that therapists experience transference as well.