Saturday, 25 June 2016

Warning: Not a Short or Light Read

Pissed Off

The other day someone came to see me and my session with him left me with a bag of mixed emotions that I’m still trying to swim my way through and decipher.

The first thing he told me when he came in was that he was covered by Blue Cross. I informed him that how it works with Blue Cross is that clients pay me directly, then they submit their receipt for reimbursement.

His face fell. It was obvious he didn’t have the funds but it was also obvious he wasn’t in a very good place emotionally.

“Have a seat,” I said. “We will go ahead anyway.”

I saw him for 1.5 hours and eventually I was able to calm him down enough so he could talk but it was difficult to get information from him. He was experiencing a lot of fear and anxiety and jumped from one thing to another never finishing what he had started saying, leaving me to fill in the blanks and connect the dots. But, eventually pieces of the puzzle started to drop into place and it soon became evident that the client I was dealing with was a perpetrator.

My mind flashed back to my training when we were asked, “What kind of clients do you know you won’t be able to work with?” My answer - someone who commits sexual crimes.

Now that person was sitting in my office, in the safe space I had created for him so he could trust me enough to open up and I was sitting with the knowledge that I would have to tell him I wasn’t the right person to help him. I wondered how I would do that when I didn’t have much to offer him to reach out for and grab on to because there was no where to send him to get the immediate and long term help he needed.

A strange mixture of anger, frustration and a deep compassion mixed with a desperate need to understand and make sense of things was bubbling up inside me. I was filled with a combination of opposites each fighting to hold their ground and come out on top.

My brain was trying hard to understand and make sense of how a person can do to others what others did to them, mixed with a genuine compassion for this man’s pain as he sat in the chair in front of me nervously running his hand back and forth through his hair, trying hard to hold back the tears escaping from his eyes and to hide the pain written all over his face.

I wanted to hold the 12-year-old boy who had been sent to a someone who would teach him a lesson and make him tow the line and who sexually assaulted him to make sure he learnt the lesson well. I congratulated the adult for having survived, for having come this far, and for seeking help now and I encouraged him not to give up. But I was pissed too!

Pissed at the gall-damn abuse and the cycle it often perpetuates, the hurt and harm it causes, and the many lives left drowning in a slew of guilt, shame and inner turmoil. 

Pissed that it sometimes takes years and years to reach out for help from something that should never have happened in the first place. 

And pissed that unless a person has enough money to pay for services themselves, they fall through the cracks because centers like PACE and Mental Health are too full, employees are over worked and over scheduled, and the waiting period is often months and months long. 

And, when a person finally does get in, they will likely get bounced around from one person to the next every time they go in.

Yet, I knew I wouldn’t be the best person to help him. I could receive his pain in the moment, but I had to refer him on, encourage him to not give up in reaching out and pray that he would find the help he needed.

That the journey to healing can be so difficult and that it causes so much pain to a person and to others along the way also pisses me off and leaves me reeling with a mixture of emotions. 

Life can be hard sometimes.


  1. Thank you for this glimpse into what it's sometimes like to do your work. And the reminder of your great compassion.

    1. And thank you for reading and for your comments.

  2. Thank you for this glimpse into what it's sometimes like to do your work. And the reminder of your great compassion.