Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why, yes, yes I DO know it all! Why do you ask?

DiaryImage by Barnaby via Flickr
I have finally come to the realization that every single one of us has the private belief that we know the right way to do things. And everybody else who does what we do (or something not even remotely similar to what we do)  does not know the right way to do things.

One would think having worked in an institution for, oh, almost twenty-two years now, that I'd have made this discovery a good solid age ago. But...no.

And how is it (you may well be asking yourself) that I have come to this awareness and chosen to share it with you all here? Now? In this very moment?

Hmm. There must be a way to express this kindly and gently.

Let's just say that it astonishes me how frequently non-music therapist co-workers feel inclined to tell me exactly how and what I should do to be a "proper music therapist" to the clients in their care. 

I can, of course, only presume that the advice is offered in the spirit of being helpful. (If only these same people would be so helpful as to tell me a client has a horrible cold before I invite the person to come to music therapy.)

So there I was yesterday, feeling all kinds of "Humph! Who the hell do you think you are!?" and so forth, having had yet another of those sorts of interactions with a staff member. And I had to stop.

Yes. I simply had to stop.

Because, as much as I hate to admit it, I harbor the same exact rotten belief. I am just as strongly convinced that I know better than she does

And it's not as if I don't go around regularly making all manner of judgments with regard to how people are interacting with my (yes, my) clients, harping on about what they should be doing  with the guys and how they should be doing it, and on and on. 

And it's not as if I haven't opened my big yappy mouth about it often enough either. 

[Insert uncomfortable silence here.]


So. There we are. 

More therapy anyone?

[In the spirit of common decency, I have to say that I also work with a lot of very supportive and cool people who seem to respect the way I do my job and expect me to know what I'm doing. But I still maintain that in our secret identities as "the one who knows", we all entertain this belief in some way or another. Which was really my point.]


Dirk Cushenbery said...

Great Observation! Your honesty is refreshing too!

There are problems on both sides of this issue. I mean If one is more of a Perceiving type as opposed to a Judging type on the Meyers-Briggs inventory, then that one is probably more open to feedback and different ways of looking at things, but at the same time are likely to be perceived as indecisive and thus put off a vibe that looks in need of other's advice and we are back to the same thing.

:) I'm still looking at all the options to this. I don't mind advice, but I could probably be offended by the manner it is presented to me! :)

I think sometimes other staff is bored and may find it interesting to mess with people's boundaries.

I saw some rowdy kids in a restaurant here not long ago. The waiter approached them. I was watching to see what he would do. He talked to the kid briefly and then picked them up and talked to them kindly and maybe used humor. This seemed to work a miracle on this kid's behavior. I thought about the ordeal for some time.

Roia said...

Hey, Dirk-

Thanks for your thoughts (and the compliment).

I really was sugar-coating it. The comments that were made to me (in this particular instance) were definitely NOT in the "advice" or even "helpful feedback" category.

The person promised her client that I would do something (without mentioning it to me or asking me if I'd be willing to do it or if I even thought is was an appropriate thing to promise) and then got annoyed with me because I wasn't fulfilling a promise that I never made. Ahem.

The staff person then kindly reminded me "we're supposed to be here for the clients", because, evidently helping our clients tolerate limits in their lives so they can get along better with people is not really "being there" for them.

Heavy sigh.

But, again, I can't sit here and blather on about how obnoxious I thought the whole interaction was, because, again, I have made enough of my own snippy comments here and there, and I have annoyed the heck out of more than my fair share of support staff- many times unintentionally but sometimes with the hope that there will be some sort of positive change (because, of course, I know better than they do). :-)

I think we all, as staff (heck, as human beings), can feel really powerless sometimes, particularly when we're working with really difficult clients (who likely also feel quite powerless), and when we're not conscious of that feeling we tend to express it in less than helpful ways.

gin said...

I think the fact that you recognize we all have these expectations is pretty big. (Keeping in mind that I *know* how fabulous you are) The better part is realizing when we're projecting what we view as their weakness because they're doing something we view as the wrong way.
As for someone making promises for you and holding you to them...that's just irritating on a whole new level.

Roia said...

Well, gosh, thanks for affirming my personal fabulosity. Personally, I think the hardest part of being a music therapist (or a therapist...or a person) is how much our work teaches us about ourselves. Bring on the groans.

Thanks for stopping by!