Saturday, August 18, 2012

My life and times as a disappointing music therapist

The session that wasn't:

Walking to the session. Pausing to pull me toward somebody's car and tapping on the trunk:
"Um, no. We can not go in somebody's car. Please don't tap at it, or you'll set off an alarm and that would probably not be a good thing." 

Slowing down and sitting on a bench:
"Yes, I see that you don't want to go to do your session today, and you'd rather we sit outside on a bench."

Still on the bench:
"Yes, I realize I'm frustrating you, but music therapy is what I can offer. I can not take you for a ride, or for an escape, in someone else's car or in my car. I can, however, be your music therapist, and you can come to your session, and we can talk about it in the music."

In front of the Music Room door, but not going in:
"So, okay. You're not going to go into the Music Room."

Pushing past me and heading for the exit:
"I guess you're telling me we're not going to be doing music therapy today, and you'd rather go back to the cottage. Okay then. I'll try again on Wednesday." 

Heavy sigh. 
An unhappy face!


Laura Cousins said...

Argggh Roia, this makes familiar and uncomfortable reading. It is very hard indeed to feel like you are 'disappointing' one of your clients in such a way.

But .. are you? Is it possible, do you think, that something else had made your client feel disinclined to do music therapy that day and, at least, your client knows you well enough and trusts you well enough to be able to refuse what you were offering?

Could it be that your client considers you - if not a friend exactly, then a Trustable Other Person in their life, and they were expressing something .. maybe not disappointment to you?

Music therapy involves such a huge investment of one's self, it can be almost impossible not to take rejection personally. But the other day when I actually lost a client in dreadful circumstances, you urged me to see it for what it was - their issue, rather than anything I myself had done. You and I can only ever do our best for our clients.

Sending you love. As ever.

GirlWithTheCane said...

You're not a disappointing music therapist.

I think that the previous commenter explained it very well. Sometimes these rejections have nothing to do with us...the fact that they feel safe enough to respond to us in an authentic manner needs to be the focus.

And when you don't know, in that moment of deciding whether you're going to declare yourself disappointing or not, what the whole story actually was...go with the option that lets you go lightly on yourself. Because even if you did do something to make your client not want to continue the session on that one, isolated day out of all the days in your career...nobody's perfect. It's okay.

You may be disappointed, but you are not disappointing. {{{Roia}}}

Tamara said...

While all of the above may be true . . . it is also possible that your client was disappointed or frustrated or . . . was feeling something else entirely.

What I know is that my feelings are always about ME and MY HISTORY and my client's feelings are always about HIM and HIS HISTORY. Now I don't always remember that . . . and I don't always like that . . . . Nevertheless, I find it to be true. And, if it's true about me and my clients . . . perhaps it is also true about you and your clients, too . . . your disappointment would then be about you and your history . . . and your client's disappointment would be about him and his history. Maybe . . . .

Roia said...

Wow, I may have to re-write this whole blogpost. Thanks, everyone, for your kind thoughts, but, honestly, I wasn't feeling like a failure so much as acknowledging my client was disappointed that his music therapist can't magically fix everything and take him away from his life. Through the miracle of projective identification, I think I was feeling a bit of it too, but I knew he'd be back, and we'd have to struggle through this just like we've struggled through everything else.

This was absolutely about my client feeling disappointed. He has very strong feelings for me, and he's feeling awful and rejected, and, if my instincts are right (and, given that there's been some time between when I initially wrote this post and right now, I can say with some certainty they seem to be correct), he wanted me to feel as rejected as he was feeling after the sixth or seventh "we don't have that kind of relationship" conversation.

Thanks, though, all of you, for the blog love and for worrying about me. All is well (and my client and I slog onward and, hopefully, upward). :- )

modern psychotherapy said...

Psychotherapy aims to increase the individual's sense of his/her own well-being. don't be easily get disappointed time will come everything will be okay just think positive.