I sucked as a therapist today. SUCKED.
I am sure that I am making it bigger than it is, (I know I am) but I don’t like being caught off guard and not knowing what to do when a situation arises. Today, I felt like I forgot everything I learned in my three years in my masters counseling program. I’m furious with myself.
I dealt with something I have limited experience in and I just froze. I had no idea how to respond or how to make what was happening… stop. Scratch that, I had a response but it was incorrect nor was it therapeutic. Thankfully, I did not say what was in my head ( WTF, how could you…is how that thought started) or there could have been some real issues. Instead, I did what I always do when I don’t understand something; I asked questions. That didn’t get me very far, but I did not know what else to do. Never have I felt so vunerable and inexperienced in my life. After it was all over, I wanted to crawl under a table.
I have never been a fan of group therapy, and I loathed the class. I remember exiting that class thinking ” Ha, I’m only going to do individual therapy. I’ll never use this crap.”
Well, joke’s on me; I do group therapy sessions at work all the time. It is not my strongest area and today that showed. My instincts were to stop what was happening, but I wanted to protect the person. On the flip side, I also wanted to protect the group from what was happening. I was so…confused. I didn’t know what to do, so I did nothing. I didn’t know how to process it; I didn’t know how to discuss what happened. I didn’t know how to be a counselor . I ignored my emotional reaction and tried to be therapeutic, but just couldn’t do it. Everything that was said and done was so offensive to me and I could not get past it. So, I did nothing.
God, I should have paid better attention in my group counseling course.
I checked in with my colleagues later and they gave me some tips. One of them told me that it wasn’t my job to protect the group members from each other, but to encourage them to confront things that make them uncomfortable. They said the group I did was powerful and helpful overall, so that’s a plus, but I just felt so inadequate today.
I haven’t bombed that bad since I first started.