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Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.


 I really miss the opportunities for group supervision, as I've really valued it in the past, but where I'm based the time/space is limited and it is the manager's decision how the client sessions and supervision are organised, and as things are we are all kept very separate - I am lucky if I even see one of the other counsellors to say hello to during the day (only happens if someone runs over time and I'm waiting for the room)

 I am counselling within a national organisation, whose theoretical basis, is a blend of humanistic and psychoanalytical principles, which sits well with me, but I feel my manager is much more humanistic in her approach and not a great fan of the psychoanalytical side of things.

 I took 100 hours training with the organisation to become familiar with their theoretical orientation and how it is executed in practise before I started this role, my manager came in at a higher level with lots of adult counselling experience, but with less organisation-specific and child-oriented training, and I do see the mismatches in our approaches that arise from that but they don't usually cause any problems; and of course even within the same or similar orientations, everyone has their own style, which I do view as a positive thing ... and very often I find her viewpoint and advice helpful, or at least food for thought that will spark off my own thoughts.

 I often question myself around over-identification and countertransference with this particular child too, as I'm aware that there are some similarities in our backgrounds, but actually feel that it's more likely that there is something of that ilk in my manager's response - as she expresses a lot of negative feelings around this child, and seems to want to protect me from his less desirable behaviours, certainly she has expressed feelings of guilt almost (she apologises a lot to me) around her initial assessment of him as "a straightforward, easy case" which is how he was presented to me - but I'm fine with all of that, he is challenging, challenging in the extreme sometimes, but I don't take any of it personally, I'm genuinely pleased to see him each week, I regard our relationship in a positive light - a naturally positive one, not one I have to dig deep to find the positive regard for.

 I know I will stay where I am until July, as that's the commitment I have made to the children I see - whether I stay on for another year beyond that is more questionable, but I will decide that closer to my renewal date.

 One thing I never really realised until one of my tutors (counselling tutor, not psychology tutor) explained this to another person in our group who asked the difference between counselling and psychology, is that apparently counsellors & psychologists don't generally get along, in her words "counsellors hate psychologists, because they think they are better than us,  they see themselves as more knowledgeable, more qualified, and look down their noses at us" - knowing my career focus she apologised to me as she was saying it ...but I have noticed it when I've been on other counselling skills courses, that when the group introductions go round, that if I say that I'm there because in the longer-term I aim to become a clinical or counselling psychologist, I do sometimes get a bit of a frosty reception, usually from more experienced/qualified counsellors or whoever is delivering the training.... and so I'm not sure whether some of that comes into play too
a) from my manager because that's what I aspire to be (although I don't feel that from her)
b) from me because maybe I do expect too much from her, maybe my expectations of her are what I could expect from a psychologist, and maybe, as much as counsellors wish to dispute it, there is a gap, even though I would never go with the expectation that there is such a gap? But if there is a gap that raises questions about what is expected of me, and I suppose how I tailor my background skills and knowledge to fit that...as I have a foot in each camp - I am currently a part-qualified counsellor and a part-qualified psychologist (and although I don't have the "psychologists are better than counsellors" attitude, because I generally don't have an "I am better than..." attitude , I prefer a "we can all bring something useful to the table regardless of who we are" type view, it stands to reason that something than can be achieved in 3 years part-time study and several hundred client hours compared with 7 years full-time study plus several hundred client hours with the latter commanding 2-3 times the hourly rate of the former, and the professional body of the latter preferring their members to also be qualified counsellors too (so 7 years full-time + 3 years part-time study) - in a lot of cases there is going to be a difference isn't there? and I do have to acknowledge that this might be the case).
(politics bleeeurgh! Hadn't really considered the counsellor - psyschologist stuff before now)

But in terms of what to do...I think I do need to talk to other professionals that I respect, but maybe in a more "off the record" capacity, so not so much setting up supervision elsewhere that I don't really want to do as I feel it disrespects and undermines my manager, but maybe seeking clarification of what's expected of me in this role, and then figuring out or taking advice on how to handle the things I think I'm picking up on, if I'm not expected to pick up on them, as I still have a conscience and a duty of care once I believe I'm aware of something.
I plan to sit on this a while longer though

But I think I have an idea now who my best person to talk might be




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