Almost 20% of adults living in New York City suffer from a mental health issue. That is 1 out of 5 adults which means, it could be you or workmate who has depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, a type of addiction, an eating disorder, or whatever else it is that people have to handle every day. But those who absorb all the stress (they call it challenges) are the therapists of these New Yorkers with issues.
Take for instance Psychologist Beth Sloan from NJ. She is severely protective of her clients. Beth has participated in their personal difficulties during their meetings, and she is concerned about them even after they have parted ways. Beth really wants them to be happy with their lives, in a truly genuine way. But as a human being, Beth mentions that she had this one client in the past that she really hated. Her exact word was “hate.”
Beth said in an interview that every time 2PM would arrive, she would get anxious. Her stomach would get tight, and that’s how she knows she dreaded this particular client of hers who happens to be her 2 o’clock appointment. She would come in with her designer things, full of shopping bags in her arms and then, as she sits, she would complain about how small her husband provides for her at $2,500 a week. Beth says that her client’s “short” allowance is as much as her earnings as a full-time therapist for seven days.
She would feel terrible to think that way of her client, but Beth didn’t care for her as much as the other clients. In her mind, this particular patient was ungrateful of her privileged life, a life that others would want to have. She has it but doesn’t see how lucky she is for having money in her bag, a designer bag for that matter. Beth, as a human being and not just a therapist, felt that her 2PM is a soulless individual.
You could say that the 2PM client is what typical New Yorker is with mental health issues. People like her are disgracefully neurotic and truly egocentric. In a 2015 study by the New York City Department of Health, 20% of adults living in New York City are clinically depressed or suffering from a mental health issue. The statistic is quite high in New York compared to the 6.7% data nationally. It doesn’t exclude mental health professionals like counselors and therapists. If these city people are feeling hopeless, what do you think do the experts feel like who are treating these individuals?
Another therapist named Sherry Amatenstein, a certified clinical social worker, says that they are just people and that they have feelings too like the rest of us. They do care a lot, and at times, it is so heavy for them too. They can also get annoyed, irritated, and mad. Living in New York, people have to learn how to move at a fast pace. Often, they are driven by deadlines, and they are obsessed with everything – mostly if related to work. Even during therapy, people will treat it as a work thing by asking how long it will take to “cure” their issues. Now, isn’t that a bit irritating?
People want instant gratification. They ask questions like “How many meetings do we need to do before I get cured?” or “Will this take a long time to complete?” For most therapists, small talk with these types of clients is unbearable. Clients can become rude by not focusing on the session – answering their phones or doing something else. At times, there is a shout fest, when clients don’t hear what they want to hear from the therapist. It is even more difficult to be faced with clients who have a narcissistic personality disorder, those with aggressive behavior, and people who are allergic to change.
Well, the only way to deal with that, according to another psychologist (Eli from Brooklyn), is to look past their annoying behavior and see their redeeming qualities. As a therapist, one must look for a way in, a thing for you to connect with your client even if he is obnoxious. How to look for that “thing” is your challenge.
No one is inherently bad. It is good for everyone. Look for that positive thing and who knows, the session will be much smoother.