Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Eating crow

Had a very painful conversation with Dr. Arnold. She's an important psychologist in the area I want to specialize in, so I sent her a groveling apology:

I hope you are well. I wanted to wish you a Happy New Year and to apologize again for misreading your communications to me during that very difficult time last year. It was an extremely stressful situation, and I had trouble seeing things clearly. Now that I have some distance from that unpleasant episode, I'm able to see that The Bad Place was not a good fit for me and I am much better off at my School of Social Work, especially since I'll be graduating in May with a licensable degree. My coursework has gone very well and I am thriving at my internship, where they are quite pleased with my work. I am starting my job search and was wondering if I could talk to you, over the phone or over coffee, about job-hunting strategies.

(I sent her an email a while back, apologizing, but she never answered.)

Dr. Arnold sent me her phone number. When I called, she spent no small amount of time raking me over the coals about what happened at The Bad Place. I told her I'd encountered other challenging environments during my first year of social work school, and had learned how to go along to get along. She said, "It's not just about going along to get along, Ayelet. In your career, you'll experience a number of 'bad fits.' I'm not hearing that you understand what you contributed to those situations."

Ouch. Good thing I didn't tell her about The Other Bad Place, where they hated me almost on sight. I've replayed that nightmare interview a dozen times. It did prepare me for the interrogation I experienced when interviewing for my second first-year placement. I have learned from all these experiences, including what I could or should have done differently. Whether I've learned enough remains to be seen.

Dr. Arnold reminded me that therapy was a good thing, and I reminded her that I was still in it, with a psychoanalytic psychiatrist, no less. Anyway, she gave me some suggestions, although she (and almost every other psychologist in this field with whom I've spoken) was dubious that I'd be able to find a job as a therapist. Master's-level psychologists and social workers apparently only do case management, discharge planning, and recreation therapy at the hospital where she works.

The exceptions seem to be agencies, governmental or not-for-profit, where social workers and psychiatrists seem to have cut psychologists almost completely out of the picture. (I'm starting to think that's the way things oughta be.)

Another psychologist I spoke with told me that people with ACT team experience are highly sought after, however, so I'm feeling a little optimistic. I also got some very nice words and an incredibly quick response from a psychiatrist whose name I got from a social worker whose name I got from a lawyer friend. The psychiatrist asked if he could send my résumé around, which of course I was delighted to greenlight. I also signed up to take the New York State civil service exam for Mental Health Specialist 2. So my job search is progressing.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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