To my Clients, Past and Present: Thank You for this Summer

Summer came and went quickly. Other than dealing with the daily ebb and flow of COVID-19 numbers, my days were filled with endless meetings, emergency contacts, administrative tasks, and business talks.

Little did I know that this summer was going to be, what my friend would say, “a crazy gong show.”

Emergencies? Check.

Midnight calls? Check.

Inappropriate transference? Check.

Life-or-death scenarios? Check.

My own medical emergencies? Check.

Regular client distress in and between sessions? Check.

Parents that made their own children (my clients) wonder if it would have been better if they had never been born? Check.

Tough clinical decisions and/or business deliberations based on ethical principles/guidelines and legal policies that made me feel too much of an adult? Check.

The usual one distress after the other, plus emails, texts, and phone calls coming from everywhere and even from third parties who were concerned about my clients and decided to stalk track me down online? Check.

And so on…

I remember there were a few instances over the past few dry, hot months that were particularly challenging. About two times this summer, I suddenly developed acute pain in sessions and had a situational syncope that resulted in dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, and a brief black out. I forged on in both sessions and offered extra time to one client for the interruption because I had to suddenly shut down the video to find my breath and a Tylenol. The other times were more emotional given the difficult situations the clients had presented to me. Some were misunderstandings partly due to Telehealth-based communications, some were my clinical decisions that did not agree with the client’s own, some were clients’ behaviors that became a barrier for us to continue our professional work, and some were inequities in client situations or their heartbreaking stories that made feel angry, frustrated, or sad for them. Despite the tougher times, I was fortunate that, somehow, things managed to work itself out in my favor. Luckier still, in each one of the difficult moments if I ever fall close to the nadir and needed to heal myself before my next appointment, I would always receive a warm contact or positive feedback in session from a past or current client:

“I just wanted to thank you for those sessions…”

“I’m going to wear a T-shirt and unite all your other clients so we can form a Julie-client club!”

“Can I tell other people about you? I know someone I want to refer to you because of how much you have helped me in the past…”

“I told myself that Julie is going to be so proud of me when I tell her what I did. I remember what you taught me when this happened!”

“I don’t know how other people could have survived this without support. I’m lucky because I have you, family, academic advisors, etc.”

“Oh, Julie, you’re a saint and always keep me in check!” Me shooting my client an incredulous look before we both burst into crazy laughter.

[Cute and sweet photos of client’s pets or significant updates]

It is with these moments that I become refueled to continue my work the next day. This summer perhaps had been challenging for me because of health-related reasons other than COVID-19, but it had also reaffirmed my love for my profession. I have both my past and present clients, and hopefully also future clients, to thank for this beautiful realization. From the bottom of my heart,

Photo by Vie Studio on

Disclaimer: Julie would like to clarify that, for the sake of her own personal wellbeing and because she cannot be a professional hypocrite and preach work-life balance when she has none, she definitely has a life, albeit a very small, diminished one that is not worth mentioning at all considering the more important and obviously grander scheme of things. Her clients were, are, and will always be the most important to her as a practitioner and each session is treated as an epoch-making event, the highlight of this poor practitioner’s day, et cetera, et cetera. Anyway, please kindly just ignore this block and go back and re-read the most important thing you have read today, which is this blog post 🙂

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