I...think I might be good at this?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by kmoss, Apr 12, 2015.

  1. kmoss

    kmoss whoops

    I know this doesn't have a real question in it, but I guess feedback would be nice. It's always cool realizing that you're good at something, but it's a bit frustrating that it took so damn long.

    Just realized that even though I have been telling everyone I know that I can't stand the idea of one day being a counselor or therapist (psych major, so it comes up a lot) for years and years (like, since middle school), I am actually really invested in keeping everyone in my group on an even keel.

    I think I only just realized this now because while I do really hysterically badly at talking people down in person (too much sympathetic reaction ugh ugh ugh), I have talked down three or four friends in the past month (It's been a stressful month).

    It's funny because I'm not going into counseling at all, nope, no way, if I do anything with my major, it will be research. But I figured out tonight that my brain/emotional state actually does way better if everyone i count as my "in-group" is on, if not an even keel, at least a pretty stable keel (how do i ship metaphor). Which I guess is the case for most people in friend groups.

    At any rate, I just figured out that my problem has never been the idea of counseling or therapy or helping people get a little more okay than previously, it's the fact that I can't deal with people emoting at me. I mean, I have friends who are more emotional than others, and that's cool, but I can't deal with that in person.

    (A friend of mine once had a panic attack right next to me in the backseat of a car, while our other two friends were in the front seat getting us lost. I have to confess, I did badly. emotions make me panicky. I was probably 5 mph slower from bailing from the car. we're all still friends, and said friend has actually helped me be a lot more educated on how to help people handle panic attacks so that never happens again...but man. I was scared for her and pissed at my friends, and i had no clue.)

    But since I function way better with texts, emails, and tumblr, I am actually doing way better at helping other people and also helping myself.


    Things I wish I knew way back in high school.
  2. Elaienar

    Elaienar "sorta spooky"

    Congrats on the figuring-out-your-capability, that's pretty awesome! I can't handle people's emotions either, but I also am not good at talking to emotional people (I go all blank and stiff and it makes people who need TLC with their logical solutions feel even worse).

    Out of curiosity, what's the difference between in-person and in-text that makes in-text work better for you?
    • Like x 1
  3. kmoss

    kmoss whoops

    Hmm. I think it's because with text, it's all there. very what-you-see is what-you-get. And depending where you are on the internet, there are very solid language rules for how you indicate, say, sarcasm. (I mean this does depend on who you're talking to, but...)

    I'm able to think about how I respond, too, and how I want other people to see my response. I can get rid of a lot of unintentional body language "static" by switching to text.

    And, I mean, maybe I'm just totally talking out of my ass and no one has any idea what I'm trying to say - but the feedback I get when writing tends to be both better and also easier to pick up on. And, if you know that something you say might be taken weirdly, you have the opportunity to reread, and add more clarification, instead of running through a conversation without any idea of what's happening.

    With most in-person things I can do that pretty well.

    But when you mix in a strong emotional response, I get confused, I think, and mix up our emotional responses. (I tend to be kind of a chameleon - if i'm talking with someone who is angry, it's really hard not to drop into the same speaking tone and feeling, and likewise with really any other emotion. Crying voice is the worst, though, it makes me feel like I have to gag and clear my throat at the same time.) And, of course, my reaction to strong emotions tends to be a pretty solid stone-face and an almost total shut-down of emotions, because I find them kind of unpleasant and a little irritating, especially when they aren't even mine. So in person, in emotional crisis, I probably come off as fairly flat and possibly a little angry, which, let me tell you, does not help.

    But yeah, mostly that writing gets rid of the emotional static.

    does that make sense? probably!
    • Like x 1
  4. Elaienar

    Elaienar "sorta spooky"

    Emotional static is definitely a thing that can cause problems IRL. And yeah, I find that it's easier to consider and word things carefully in text than in person. So it makes sense to me!
    • Like x 1
  5. Vacuum Energy

    Vacuum Energy waterwheel on the stream of entropy

    Huh. This is kind of how I feel. I'm slightly less terrible at in-person emotions, though. Definitely not up to neurotypical standards, but I can make the appropriate comforting noises.

    I've often wondered if it's even a possible/feasible thing to be a 100% text-only therapist. I have done the research; the issues seem to be similar to those of people who are therapists over the phone. The problem with this is that therapists seem to be licensed per-state, so I'd have to move to an extremely populous state like California and get licensed there in order to have a possible client base that wouldn't involve me turning away 99.999% of everyone, and I still would have to turn down people located in other states. (I am not even going to try international, that just seems like it could be a massive pain.)

    The other, at least as big, problem is that I'd have to hire someone else to sort through my mail and help me w/ the client list, because having an email address open for "email me if you want to arrange an appointment" is inevitably going to result in people emailing with a long rant about their own problems. (To a certain extent, this can be managed by an email autoreply that says "I cannot read all the mail I receive because otherwise I will compassion-fatigue myself out of existence, if this is an emergency please call 911 and I cannot answer emergency help requests." All the same...)

    The third problem is that patient confidentiality gets really weird when it hits computer networks. Like, I know so much about computer security that I'd be able to set up a system that would be considered secure enough by law - but I wouldn't be satisfied with that, because people would inevitably log on from possibly-keylogged/possibly-monitored home computers and phones that weren't necessarily under their direct control. (Partially solved by strong suggestions that if you do not absolutely trust your home computer, do it from the library. The obvious problem with this becomes that a library is kind of public.)

    So I know there's a lot of problems with this idea but I can't stop thinking about it.
  6. kmoss

    kmoss whoops

    Man, if that type of therapist was a thing, I'd probably actually be in therapy right now.
    So: if privacy issues weren't a thing... (which, yeah, they are, gdi)
    Do the whole secretary thing, have them send stuff to you, keep your actual email out of everything.

    Check to see why they want to use email - if it's a situation of "oh, i was looking for therapy and this was the first one", and then send them a recc to an in-person therapist.

    ...Huh. My other solution was "get a group of people with experience in various issues and help them to work on each other" which actually is exactly what we're doing now. I think I've tripped backwards into casual therapy on the internet.
  7. pixels

    pixels hiatus / only back to vent

    That's group therapy and it's awesome that it's working for y'all!

    One thing you could do is hire a secretary to take care of Phone Stuff. Scheduling of appointments, cancellations, etc. People could text message cancellations as well. And as far as privacy goes, and the interstate issue, you could always have a... computer bank, I guess, in the lobby/waiting room of your practice, and have it connected via intranet (not internet) to The Man Behind The Curtain (you). That takes care of interstate issues, because whoever's asking you for therapy would literally be in the same office as you. And it would take care of possible security concerns, as long as both computers are completely quarantined from the internet. Downside: couldn't reach out to agoraphobic people, or other people who for whatever reason cannot come into your office.
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