Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Days That Make It All Worth It

I've come to learn very quickly that there are certain days that make all the work that goes into counseling worth it. There are those days (which are numerous) where it seems like the majority of the patients are not interested in getting better or at least don't seem to be getting any better. I know this is more common among adolescents than adults since adolescents are for the most part forced to go into inpatient treatment while at least some of the adults check themselves in. But every now and then, there are those days where I just leave with a big smile on my face and see so much improvement in my patients. Those are the days that count for me.

Right now, we have a lot of cutters and self mutilators on our unit. So, for the process group this morning, I chose to focus on why people cut and have everyone share their experiences. What an emotional group. Lots of stuff came up that triggered other clients and a lot of tears were shed, but by the end of the session, everyone seemed to be more comfortable...laughing and having a good time. A lot of these kids haven't laughed in months. It takes a lot of courage to talk about things that are this personal, but everyone did, and I could see the catharsis of talking about it on their faces. Everyone was sharing hugs by the end of the group, which usually isn't allowed on the adolescent unit because it leads to something else, but today it was appropriate...and I let it slide.

I've tried this before (a group on cutting) and it was a disaster. I don't know if I just have a better group of patients now or if I've become more comfortable with the job. It's probably a mix of both. I made a special point of pulling each patient aside for the day and letting them know how proud I was of them and how much I can see that they're working to get better. I hope it helped them as much as it seemed to.

I'm in such a good mood now as a result of this. Here's hoping that tomorrow is as good!

8 comments:

Quixotic said...

So glad you had such a good day! Great stuff, for you and the patients :)

Chris said...

Thanks Quix. It really was a good day, and boy was I in need of one.

booklogged said...

Good for you, Chris. There's nothing like the feeling of really helping people with their problems.

Chris said...

Thanks booklogged! Very true.

Bookfool said...

Well, you had yourself a Wahoo Wednesday, didn't you, Chris? Good for you! I think what you're doing is awe-inspiring.

Literacy-chic said...

I understand there are days like this in teaching, too, but I haven't seen any in a while! ;)

Just kidding! Glad you had a great day! And of course, there's more at stake in what you're doing!! (One of my students could stand to talk to you, actually...) :(

Chris said...

Bookfool, It was quite a Wahoo! Wednesday. ;)

N, I wouldn't say there's more at stake in what I'm doing. You might not realize it at times, but you're doing wonders at giving kids (or young adults) a future. They couldn't that degree without you!

Literacy-chic said...

Awww... Thanks, Chris! I think I would make more of a difference at a different university, but there's always one or two in every class or two... You are making sure that they make it as far as me, though! ;) Although I guess we both help them sort through the mixed messages they receive and make sense of them. I'd like to think that sometimes I might help with that a little! But really, like bookfool, I admire the heck out of you for what you're doing. Thanks for sharing!