Friday, August 08, 2008

Left unsupervised...

Last night I had a dream about visiting this woman who lived down the block from my parents. She was a senior citizen. She was somebody who meant a lot to me. I was telling people they should visit her. Meet her.

I woke up, suddenly remembered the dream & started hyperventilating.

Good morning, world!

I went to my shrink today & she gave me some really good perspective. We talked about the woman I took the video of, how I felt about her.. the whole process that led up to my posting her video. I told shrink how it was almost like I was in another world -- until somebody kind of woke me up & said "Hey - you're not supposed to do that!" I just didn't see it.

I told her how that last visit had meant so much to me. How I had told my supervisor how I wanted to visit this client on my own. How I had told J that I want us to visit her. How I had these kind of day dreams about visiting her with my kids... introducing them to her.. And Shrink said: "She became family. Your supervisor should have caught this transference. It's really very common for social workers in their first five years of working. When you said you wanted to visit her your supervisor should have focused you back to that. WHY do you want to visit her? You lost perspective. Got carried away with your caring. You took her video, posted it - like she was a member of your family - you thought of her like that & lost the client/sw perspective"


My therapist is a social worker. She understands what I did was wrong... but she can see it from the "clinical" perspective. She said to me "Your supervisors did not. They saw it from the "administrative" viewpoint." She understood why I was fired, but thought the punishment was much more extreme than it needed to be. "They were just looking out for the agency." She said.

And I talked about how I was so involved with this case... I was the only one. The only one who cared for her, paid her bills, followed her medical care, was trying so desperately to get her to be able to live at home... And really -- what I can see NOW is that yes -- I needed MUCH more supervision with this. It was a lot. I'm not that seasoned. I needed somebody to pull me back & give me more perspective.

So it was good. Today. I really want to get away from blaming myself for this. THREE people -who are unrelated, do not know each other, talk to each other, etc, etc - said to me: "Stop beating yourself up!" When the third person said it I stopped. "Oh. You're the third person to say that to me.... Hmmm...." Don't need to tell ME something four times! Oh no! Three is quite enough, thank you!

So, this morning I grieved for the clients I won't get to see any more. The ones I didn't get to say good-bye to, the ones who will wonder what happened to me, worry about me, and... dare I say it... miss me.

I am going to be aware of all this from now on. My boundaries. Transference. And hopefully just grow from it. I'll allow myself a bit more time to process, to feel the loss, to regroup... but then I'll (hopefully be able to) move on.

Stuff just always happens, doesn't it?


Kate said...

Heya, I been slack again and every time I'm slack you have major things happen. I'm sorry to hear about the job but am happy to hear that you have grabbed perspective on it.
Must say that at least the little magic pill is working, and that J is being so great. A change is as good as a holiday?
Hugs from down here in NZ

Gwen said...

It's good that your therapist is so competent.

Maia said...

Wow, I'm sorry you're in this situation. I agree that you (and most social workers out there - including myself) need a lot more supervision than they/we get. Don't let this situation deter you - I've been reading your blog for a while and I think you are a great SW!