Ten Minute Drill – Supervisor

It’s like going to the dentist, really, a ten minute drill (and more for the reader than for me, perhaps).

Thinking of some recent folly, which I’d like to comb out of mind.  With high hopes I began a course of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) with a student therapist, at a steeply discounted rate that added up, over many weeks, to the price of a decent guitar, or a very good acoustic amp.  I’m not crying over the money (though I’m resentful) as much as over the long stretch of unthinkingly wasted time.

CBT is a technique that allows the successful practitioner to run negative feelings through the filter of Reason, to consider these feelings from a more productive perspective.  Identify their source and move beyond them to do what negative feelings often stop one from doing.   I’d gone into the program with three distinct but inter-related goals, made no progress at all on the first two and only minimal progress on the third.

Trouble was, the therapist was a student.  Trouble is, I speak well, fluently, concisely.  This student, young enough to be my daughter, revealed, after many, many weeks of spinning my wheels, that she deferred to me, because of our age difference, because I speak so well, am so analytical, seem so capable and confident and blah blah blah.

“Have you no supervisor?” I finally ask, aghast.   I had begun suggesting exactly what the therapy should have been doing, the simple, practical steps that should have been reasonably taken, but many weeks too late, the sessions are almost done.  Another exercise in uselessness.  If I could have designed and implemented the course of treatment myself, motivated myself to move forward toward the three unrealized goals I came here with six months ago, why would I need to be coming here?  “What has your supervisor advised you?”

She was cagey about the supervisor, yes she had one… but… it’s good that we’re talking about how disappointed you feel.   I realize now, since each session is video taped, since her supervisor is clearly not helping her to be a more effective therapist, that she’s aware that this person who is evaluating her will watch with twitchy, beady eagle eye for the moment in any session when she might admit, in the interests of that candor so important to effective therapy, that her supervisor is a bit hands off, distracted, stuffy, paranoid, pompous, kind of the caricature of that useless, tic afflicted maniac we think of as becoming a supervisor and evaluator of other shrinks.

“Do you feel better now?” asks Siri.

Well, Siri, a tiny, tiny bit better, yes, thank you.  I’d better get back to designing my own therapy program now.


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