Monday, February 9, 2009

You don't even know what you're talking about

So, today I had an appointment with a client that I don't really care for... I know, I wish I could say that I enjoy each and every one of the kids I work with.. but I don't. Some clients are more difficult - and not always because they are actually difficult. I'm not really sure what makes this little girl so difficult for me - she's always happy to see me, generally compliant with my requests, and is a foster child (something that usually makes me instantly attached). But I just don't feel very engaged with her most of the time. It also doesn't help that I see her every week, on a Thursday, my last appointment of the day. Maybe my apathy doesn't really have much to do with her - just that I'm already ready for the weekend.

But anyways, I was dreading her coming in today. When the front desk called to say she was here, I sighed and procrastinated until the last minute to go get her. Then her foster mother pulled me aside and informed me that she'd had a huge blow-up at school yesterday. This was something that she'd done frequently in the past - but not for at least 6 months. So, once we were alone, I asked her about it.

"What happened at school yesterday?"
"I got mad and hit Jackson"
"What made you mad?"
"He called me stupid"
"Then what happened?"
"I threw a fit and had to go to the prinipal and they called my mom."

We then talked about other things she could do when someone calls her names or teases her. She already knew all the answers - this girl has been in therapy for most of her 7 years of life. She's heard it all before. So, I decided to go a different route.

"Do you think you are stupid?"
"Do you get F's on your report card?"
"Does Jackson know anything about your brain?"
"No he doesn't!"
"So, he doesn't even know what he's talking about, does he?"
"Nope." (This time with the first grin all session.)

Then we decided to 'practice' her thinking "he doesn't even know what he's talking about' every time someone says something mean to her. She found this hilarious! I'd call her a name, she'd respond "You don't even know what you're talking about".

"You're not smart"
"You don't even know what you're talking about."
"You didn't do that right."
"You don't even know what you're talking about."
"You aren't good at coloring."
"You don't even know what you're talking about."

By this time she was rolling on the floor laughing! We even went and practiced with other staff in the office. Then with her foster parents - who did give me little bit of a funny look. But by the end of the session, she was equipped (hopefully) with some internal support for any teasing that might happen this week. But even more important - the client I'd thought was going to be 'blah' turned out to be a 'blast'. Turns out, I really don't know what I'm talking about sometimes!


  1. Sometimes you have to turn things on their head for it to get through. Good work.

    As a bonus, you got to call someone names and get paid for it! :p

  2. I know! Sometimes I really do have the greatest job in the world! :P

  3. Excellent break through. You might be or are already a young soul's guiding star :).


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