As a first time therapist, approximately ten months out of graduate school, there’s a lot that needs to be learned on the spot. Working at a residential facility leads to a general divide where supervision is given when it’s asked, unless you have a great management team (which I do). I’m pretty sure I have several quarterly reports that haven’t been written because no one has ever given me the appropriate timeline. I have learned deadlines from probation officers and caseworkers, as well as resource coordinators and my managers but not necessarily from the clinical standpoint.
This morning I learned the feeling of being cross examined by seven attorneys. Seven! For a person who took public speaking twice in undergrad because my anxiety becomes so terrible that I shake, standing in front of a court room is not my ideal situation on a Thursday morning. Court mornings are exhausting to begin with as they normally begin at 4 a.m. and end in the early evening. Certain courts are notorious for long waits and are places where stories are made. These contain tall tales of waiting until the middle of the afternoon for a morning hearing. (Knock on wood) I have been lucky to not be one of those stories. We were in the court room within a half hour this morning which is nothing short of unheard of.
My anxiety began when I received the subpoena for my appearance and never lessened until a coworker reaffirmed my responses. I have never questioned my therapeutic methods until the Judge did and wanted to crawl into a hole right there. In all honesty, being questioned by the Judge was worse than the seven attorneys whom sat in front of me with legal pads and laptops, waiting for me to give them the answer which would best suit their needs.
Depending on the hearing, there is a lengthy process and each attorney serves a different need. I walked out of that courtroom with the desire to be specifically trained in certain therapies and to back to grad school (a.k.a the safety of education before entering the real world). I will be testifying again in less than thirty days as part of the client’s case was continued. Most clients have court once every three to six months as a method of reviewing progress. This particular client, as of April, will have been to court three times in the past four months. That’s multiple court reports, early wake up calls, and long drives…for a thirty minute court hearing.
All in the name of therapy.