We've started having Clinic at school this semester, that is, we're starting to see real clients in the student therapy center. Thankfully, we only have to see one client during clinic for the first two weeks to give us more time to get acclimated to the environment. We start seeing two clinics each afternoon starting this coming week. My first session last week went fine -- nothing extraordinarily amazing or traumatizing about it -- but I think that's how it goes. We just do our thing, and it only gets hard when we get a tricky client. (i.e. one who either has a lot of medical conditions that we have to take into consideration when we're constructing the treatment for the session or just has a challenging personality.)
I wasn't terribly worried about the session yesterday, just some mild anxiety which was generally in check. I think I've been doing pretty well keeping myself mentally and emotionally balanced. Pretty well, that is, until we got the schedule for the day and I went to look up the file for my client for the day. Because the file wasn't there. Or at least, I couldn't find it where I thought it should be. The writing on the schedule was a little hard to make out, but I was pretty sure I read it correctly. I tried some alternate spellings, looked through most of the surrounding files (because sadly, some of our fellow students really can't manage to keep that whole alphabetizing thing in their heads), but eventually I gave up and called down to the front desk to see if they could confirm the spelling, and then later told them that they should give the client a new form to fill out when she arrived.
So now I was going to have to deal with a new file. Which in and of itself isn't such a big deal, but normally, a client would know about it in advance and would be told to show up early in order to fill out the paperwork. Because she was going to find this out when she arrived, it was going to eat into her already attenuated massage (for the one hour session, clients are expected to understand that some of the time would be spent with an initial intake interview and a brief exit interview). Basically, this situation was generating potential hazards for the session. And, I had burned so much time trying to find the file, I was late for our pre-clinic class meeting and hadn't set up my clinic area yet. And of course, for me, the most difficult part of clinic is getting everything done in the allotted time.
So, the session starts at 4:00pm. A call comes up. Has my client arrived? Did we get a correction on her name? Is she pissed? No, actually, she's cancelled. Actually two people cancelled, just as the session was starting. And it turns out, there's also a no-show. And interestingly, all three of us who are stuck without clients...? Male therapists. I wonder if this is going to become a pattern.
I guess I should be glad that I don't have to deal with the stress of a session with extra time pressures. But I have to admit that I'm a bit disappointed, since the whole point of clinic is to get experience interacting with the client, managing different medical conditions, working within a schedule. Instead, I go over a bunch of the Safe Practice Consideration sheets we use in the clinic (admittedly helpful) and do some filing. A bit unsatisfying. And afterwards, when our class had a short debriefing session before heading home, I felt a bit disconnected, on the outside, like I had missed out on a shared experience. It was a passing feeling, but it was still kind of a bummer.
In other, unrelated news, I've woken up at 5:40am, 5:30am, 5:30am and 5:00am the last four nights... which seems to correlate with my most recent acupuncture session. So it seems that it's doing something. The jury is still out as to whether this most recent adjustment to the treatments is a good thing or a bad thing.
UPDATE (Feb 28): Woke up at 7am this morning! Whoo-hoo!