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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've really not been enjoying my counselling work as much as I expected to, nor do I feel like I'm learning as much from it skills-wise as I thought I would, and have been at that point of feeling like I don't want to go in, but forcing myself to go because of the commitments I made to the children I counsel, and the organisation I counsel with, and of course my own career and professional development... but predominantly for the children, to be the consistent, reliable figure that they need and deserve.

Reflecting upon this, I realised that on the occasions when my manager who is also my supervisor, has not been in and I have been left on my own to see my clients, do my paperwork, and lock up and leave, that, I have really enjoyed my work and left feeling good about things - yet I like my manager and we get along well, so why is this the case?

What I have come to realise is that I don't think I'm really getting what I need from supervision with her - when I go asking for support and guidance or a different view on my work with a particular client, I often come away feeling like that hasn't been dealt with. I have one client in particular where I feel she just doesn't grasp what is going on for him, and why he is such a difficult client, he frustrates her she doesn't seem to be able to empathise or show UPR when we discuss him. I feel his acting out is very symptomatic of his background and attachment issues, his way of coping with very painful stuff, that he can't just sit and talk about or explore metaphorically with me, I think a lot of his behaviour is being driven by subconscious, protective mechanisms - and she doesn't seem to have any grasp of this type of thing at all, she just sees it as deliberate and that he is old enough and bright enough to know that he is supposed to talk about his issues when he sees me and if he refuses to settle down and do so then he's abusing the service (OUCH!!!).

The net effect of this is that I'm not developing the skills I need to develop, I'm not learning how to deal with clients who present like he does, he is not getting the help he needs and deserves. I feel like I am losing respect for my manager - yet as the one who is lesser skilled and less experienced, it's like I shouldn't be questioning and feeling such unease and disagreement about the way she is interpreting things and trying to guide me, I should just take it.

I chatted things through with a friend the other day who concurred with my feelings on this and said she felt shocked that given the child's background that my supervisor would not see things differently. I also know that my supervisor has taken this child's case to supervision.

The thing is, I know that if I sought supervision elsewhere, and discussed this case with say Joanna or my own therapist, that they would be able to offer me  the guidance I need to help this child, and I am starting to feel that for the sake of my professional integrity and professional development, that it's time I did this, and sought supervision from another professional on this, yet at the same time I feel uneasy about it, as it seems so wrong and disloyal to my manager and the organisation, I'm not sure I can actually do it.

I know it's time that I took responsibility for myself, for my own professional development, and for what I am able to offer this child, and do the right thing by the child ....I know if my manager pulls the plug on sessions for this child because he won't co-operate (which is kind of where she's heading), that knowing his background, I will have failed him and potentially compounded everything further. I'm not willing to do that - but I still haven't figured out how to deal with that line between working for an organisation, and being an autonomous professional.


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