Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me.

Dear Inadequate Gradate,

I work at a clinic where there is a high no-show rate, and it is extremely frustrating. Some days I’ll race from school or another commitment to the clinic, only to be stood up for several hours. Not only do I feel discouraged that none of my patients like me, but I’m starting to get resentful to the point that I don’t always feel clear-headed or empathic in session when someone does come in. I know it sounds selfish, but I am mad that I don’t get to practice the techniques I learn. Besides that, I’m worried that I’m not getting enough hours for the internship application and that I will fall behind. I don’t want to waste my time waiting around for patients, but this feels like an endless stream of rejection and it’s really bringing me down.

-GloomyinSeattle

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Safety First! Or… technically second.

Dear Inadequate Graduate,

I’m a third year student and have been at a new practicum site for the last several months. To say I’m uncomfortable is a euphemism. I’m working with a population that evokes very strong reactions in most people, but I’m writing to ask you about one specific patient. Many of the individuals I serve are high-risk, but this particular person feels dangerous. I don’t know how to describe it other than I don’t feel safe with him. I don’t want to tell my supervisor because I don’t want to seem biased or weak or, well… inadequate, but I have nightmares about this guy and I find it hard to concentrate on the days we have an appointment. Normally I would never request to not work with someone as I know dealing with discomfort is a large part of working in mental health, but sometimes I feel physically sick before seeing him, and I don’t want to anymore.

Help!

-Shakinginmysneakers

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The Success Treadmill

Dear Inadequate Graduate,

I, like many of my classmates and the people I surround myself with, tend to be a high achiever. I always aspire to do the best work, I’ve received awards and gained notoriety with my colleagues and professors, and am known as the ‘psychology expert’ amongst friends and family. One would think that I feel pretty proud of my accomplishments, but I’ve noticed that the more I succeed, the worse I feel. Furthermore, I can’t stop achieving because I’m worried that if I do, others will consider me to be a fraud or worse, they won’t consider me at all. I don’t think I can keep up this dizzying pace, but a big part of me feels that my entire existence is wrapped up in what I do. I fear that if I stop doing, I’ll stop being, and either outcome of continuing or not continuing on this treadmill feels unbearable.

-Losteitherway

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Adrift At Grief

Dear Inadequate Graduate,

A new semester started and I just lost someone very significant in my life. I don’t know what to do. I can’t focus on anything, I constantly feel like I’m going to burst into tears or explode, and I have absolutely no energy. I know the symptoms of depression and what I would recommend for that, but I can’t afford to take time off or make changes in my life right now. Not only can I not afford it financially, I don’t want to fall behind in school as I already feel like it’s already going to take forever to finish. Still, as the tasks pile up, part of me just doesn’t care. All I can think about is how I lost one of the most important people in my life, and my day-to-day now feels pretty meaningless.

I don’t know what to do.

-Aloneandhurting

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Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Dear Inadequate Graduate,

I’m about to start the fall semester and have to terminate with patients at my current externship site. While ‘goodbyes’ are often hard for me, this is the first time I have had to leave someone I am treating and it feels like a horrible breakup. There is one person in particular with whom I’ve developed a special relationship, and I’m afraid of what will happen to her when I go. I’m looking forward to my next placement and wouldn’t want to stay at my current site, but leaving is so hard.

Have you ever struggled with this type of ‘breakup’ and if so, what helped you through it?

-BrokenHearted

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EPPPetrified

Dear Inadequate Graduate,

I’m nearing the end of training and trying to prepare myself for the licensing exam, but every time I talk to someone or research study materials I freak out. I know I need to pass it in order to practice independently, but I’m petrified I’m going to fail and the entire process makes me want to crawl into my bed and not come out. What helped you during the process?

-HidingUnderCovers

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You Make Me Feel Like I’m Living a Teenage…Nightmare

Dear Inadequate Graduate,

I’m struggling with a very intense attraction to a client who I’ve been working with for the last several months. I don’t feel comfortable talking to my peers or supervisor about this, but I’m afraid the my attraction is getting in the way of providing effective treatment, not to mention I find myself fantasizing about this patient a lot. I don’t think she knows, but I don’t want to seem unprofessional or stupid and there are times I find myself zoning out and probably look a aloof or bored. Have you ever been in this position and what you would suggest I do to deal with it? I feel like an angsty teenager and it’s really awful.

Adolescence was bad enough the first time.

-JaneAngst

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