Today was moving day. I have been a lone wolf for quite a while, over 25 years of flying solo. Tomorrow I join a pack for the first time in a long time. I closed down my solo private practice as a social worker and I am taking the next step in my professional life, and will become a part of a group practice. I will be one among a few, and it will afford me some security and comfort, a nice space to see my clients, and an opportunity to share clinical knowledge, information and support. It will be a welcome adjustment as us lone wolves are dying off. It is difficult in this economic climate to maintain this type of work. Looking around at the medical models of care that have evolved over recent years, it seems as though this is just the wave of the future and the future is now. I was content for a time in my little space which was cosy and charming, nestled in a cabin behind a big old house. I made the rules, decorated the space with pictures that were meaningful and furnishing that were comfortable. I have a magic wand, which is moving with me, of course, and a magic eight ball, in case a client really is struggling with a big decision. There is a sand tray full of marbles, for those that are losing theirs and a box filled with stuffed animals, including a raccoon, stork and a hummingbird in a nest. I have a deck of cards (unmarked), which sometimes kids like to play with, and when someone who is scheduled does not show up, I get to play solitaire. They get a bill for a no -show fee. Such is the nature of working with people. I usually give them one chance, since I tell them that sitting alone in my office is not therapeutic for anyone. They usually get the message.
I’m not taking much with me, not because I am a minimalist. Rather, I am sharing an office (no, we will not be sitting there seeing two clients at the same time) and since I am the new kid, I get a file drawer, another drawer to keep my stuff (magic wand, cards, eight ball), and I will be sharing a very nice computer. The furniture is not my furniture. It’s fine (which translates into, it’s fine). I will have secretarial support, which is a first and a lot of the tasks that go with being on one’s own, will now be taken over by someone else. I am really, really, really happy about that. I had a consignment store come and haul away my furniture. The cream colored couch (which was supposed to be brown, but they delivered the wrong color, and I didn’t fuss) will go to someone else. Boy, could it tell a few stories or two. The shabby chic desk, which my FHB pickled (it’s a refinishing term) gone, gone, gone. My chair (which I actually have let a few clients choose to sit in) is a comfortable wing back chair, with a blanket on the back for when I was cold. The blanket came home with me, but the chair had to go. A couple of other things were also sent off to new homes. The nice thing about making a decision to move and choose a new path is that you can look back for a moment and acknowledge that you had a opportunity that you took and took pride in. I am good at what I do and hopefully with less responsibility for the surroundings, I will be able to still do it well. It is a parallel process to when my FHB and I left a house for a loft. We had the house and enjoyed it and recognized that we could take the next step with few regrets. Change is often just what the therapist suggests.
So, as I put out the light, I had a Mary Tyler Moore moment coupled with a few bars of Carol Burnett’s ending the show each week. I am so glad we had this time together….I really am. When I asked a client what she needed to see to be comfortable at the new place and settle in, she said ” Just you, seeing your face”. I guess the rest is just part of the set. Happy Trails.
Have a great week. I’ll report back with news from the new chair.