Confidence the Hard Way

Sue - Evanston, Illinois
Entered on May 20, 2008
Age Group: 65+

What do you do when your psychotherapist fires you? He left the message on my voice mail: “because you submitted my bills to Medicare and they now want me to be a registered provider I am terminating you immediately”. What? How could he do this?

A lot of terrible events had erupted in my life: a terrible auto accident, my husband discovering a trusted company accountant had stole money big time from him (and us) and much more. A mossy anxiety came over me so I sought out a well-respected therapist for some help. I worked with him for four years and I resolved a number of issues. We laughed. I cried. He offered interpretations.

I always paid my bills via check then sent those same bills to my insurer. No big deal. After the deductible was met for Medicare and then for the secondary insurance some money would be paid to the therapist. That is, until that fateful early Spring day when I heard his voice on my voice mail. I never saw him again.

Afterwards I talked with other therapists about this abrupt termination. They used righteous words like unprofessional and harmful.

I wrote him a letter and left a phone call. I wrote to Medicare in his defense telling them I did not mean to cause any trouble by sending bills to Medicare. I ranted. I raved. Eventually Medicare decided he owed me money. Who cared.

I learned something that I now believe with all my heart: people are just people flaws and all. Credentials only matter to ascertain a level of skill but underneath the most skilled, or unskilled, person beats the imperfect heart of a human being. We give away too much of our power thinking someone else can salve our hurt and remove our pain. Although a good therapeutic ear can often help get you through tough times.

Even therapists can fail us just like old friends or lovers can. Now I find myself stronger than ever. I trust myself to make my own decisions. I don’t give my power away to others thinking they know more than I do. I believe that within each of us lies wisdom and compassion and problem-solving skills. We just have to believe in ourselves knowing that even when the mossy fog of anxiety descends it also leaves. Pain co-exists with happiness and that is ok.