Clinical Supervision Follow-up

Clinical Supervision Follow-up

Clinical Supervision Follow-up Program Transcript

WILLIAM: I came here because I promised my brother and sister-in-law that I’d try therapy. I wasn’t happy about it. I mean, I figured, how can someone who doesn’t even know me at all actually help me with anything?

Plus, everyone slams the VA docs as not really caring, so it’s come as quite a surprise to me that I actually feel comfortable talking with you. It’s like– it’s like you get me. And you seem to understand some of what I lived through over there.

I can’t tell you what it’s like to not have to try to explain what war is like to a civilian. All the stupid questions I get since I’m back. Like did you ever have to shoot anyone? What was that like? Man, how stupid can you be?

Anyway. To recap– last week, I was telling you about my buddy and I, and how we got ambushed and how he got blown up in our Humvee. I sometimes still wonder why he’s dead and I’m still here. It’s damn unfair. In a funny way, to both of us.

Anyway, his parents seem to take comfort in talking to me about him. And I was fine with that, at first. It seemed only right that I should be the one to share the details of their son’s death.

But I can’t keep reliving this. And every time they call, they want me to come over and talk about it. It eats me up inside. It’s too much.

MALE SPEAKER: Go on. Is there anything more you want to say about that?

WILLIAM: Well, what do you have to say about what I just told you?

MALE SPEAKER: Well, it sounds like you feel a lot of loyalty towards your buddy who died, and you want to somehow be there for his parents. But it’s excruciating for you to talk about him and be reminded about what happened every time you see them. Is that about right?

WILLIAM: Yeah. That’s about right. So what should I do?

MALE SPEAKER: What do you think you want to do?

WILLIAM: I want to not have to relive all the horrifying things I went through over there. But then I think about my buddy’s parents, and talking to them, and I–

MALE SPEAKER: You just don’t know which pulls you more?

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Clinical Supervision Follow-up

WILLIAM: Yeah. So what should I do?

MALE SPEAKER: Well, I can’t tell you what to do. But I think maybe deep down, you may already know what it is you want to do. Do you?

WILLIAM: No, dammit. That’s why I’m asking you. Do you guys really get paid to say this sort of stuff?

MALE SPEAKER: I understand this is extremely distressing for you. But–

WILLIAM: No, I’ll tell you what’s distressing, Doc. Watching my buddy die right in front of me. This talking stuff is crap. It’s not helping me, and it’s a total waste of my time.

MALE SPEAKER: I know you’re in a lot of pain, William. The thing about therapy is, it often doesn’t feel like it’s working in the early stages, because you’re bringing up a lot of that hard stuff that you buried for so long. And it hurts. It can be very upsetting to look at.

WILLIAM: Well, that’s a convenient excuse as to why I don’t feel better.

MALE SPEAKER: Well, it also happens to be the truth. William, I have never lied to you. I promise you, I never will.

WILLIAM: I feel like I can trust you, Doc. While I haven’t exactly felt good, there have been times here where I felt comfortable for the first time since coming back. That’s something, right?

MALE SPEAKER: Right.

WILLIAM: So my sister-in-law, Rosita, and my brother, Henry, they say that I yell a lot while I’m sleeping. My wife, Luly Kim, she used to say the same thing when we were sleeping together. But I don’t wake myself up, so I don’t know if it’s really happening. I don’t know. Maybe it’s their plan to try to get me in here. That’s what I think.

MALE SPEAKER: Do you remember any dreams or nightmares?

WILLIAM: No.

MALE SPEAKER: Really?

WILLIAM: No, I’m lying. [LAUGHS] How do you know when I’m full of it, Doc?

MALE SPEAKER: I don’t know, but sometimes I get a feeling.

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Clinical Supervision Follow-up

WILLIAM: You better watch out for them feelings.

MALE SPEAKER: Because feelings are dangerous, right?

WILLIAM: Damn straight.

MALE SPEAKER: Why don’t you tell me a little more about those feelings about talking to Jimmy’s parents about him.

WILLIAM: Intense dread. Resentment. Like I want to run away from everything.

MALE SPEAKER: Sounds like you’re really in touch with those feelings. I mean, they really right there for you, aren’t they?

WILLIAM: Yeah, I suppose.

MALE SPEAKER: So, you have an option. You can either approach these feelings or avoid them. Which do you think you want to do?

WILLIAM: Avoid, of course. You kidding me?

MALE SPEAKER: I’m asking seriously. I mean, you can avoid them. It’s what you’ve been doing. It’s an option. But how’s that been working out for you so far? Well?

WILLIAM: Sort of. To a point. Then I think about my buddy Jimmy’s parents, and how he would want me to talk them, and I get all tied up in knots inside. It’s like I know what I want to do, but I just– I just can’t.

MALE SPEAKER: It sounds like you want to talk to Jimmy’s parents about him because it’s what Jimmy would have wanted.

WILLIAM: Yeah. I mean, it’s what Jimmy would have wanted, and it’s– it’s what I want, too. Well, you suck, Doc. How’d you get me to do that?

MALE SPEAKER: Think I have a way to make you cry?

WILLIAM: Don’t you?

MALE SPEAKER: I think when you talk about feelings, sometimes they come out. And the sad ones sometimes bring tears.

WILLIAM: Sounds like a lot of psychobabble to me. I think you have a button hidden on you somewhere, and you press it and the patient cries.

MALE SPEAKER: Well, that would save you some time.

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Clinical Supervision Follow-up

WILLIAM: Yeah. I’m going to stop now. I mean, for today, I mean. I’m wiped out, Doc. Is that normal?

MALE SPEAKER: It’s absolutely normal. Letting emotions bubble up a little bit at a time like this is the best way to move forward without overwhelming you. But it can still be emotionally exhausting. You may find yourself wanting to sleep, and that’s OK. We can stop for today.

WILLIAM: Good.

MALE SPEAKER: One last question for you, though.

WILLIAM: OK. Go ahead.

MALE SPEAKER: Have you been having any suicidal thoughts? I mean, it could be the kind where you think you might act on it, or it can be the kind where you know you won’t.

WILLIAM: I think about killing myself a lot. But I don’t have any intent on it. I mean, it’s more of just, like, an escape valve, for disappearing. It is not something that I’d do to my wife and my brother and sister-in-law and the whole family. I mean, not after all that they’ve done for me. So, nah.

MALE SPEAKER: And if that changes?

WILLIAM: What do you mean?

MALE SPEAKER: Well, if you have a change of heart, will you call me if you start thinking about killing yourself more seriously?

WILLIAM: Would you want me to call you?

MALE SPEAKER: Yes. Absolutely. Here’s my direct line, so you’ll have it. Any time, day or night. OK?

WILLIAM: OK, Doc. I mean, I’m not planning on killing myself or anyone else any time soon, but if I do, I’ll let you know.

MALE SPEAKER: Good.

WILLIAM: So, see you Thursday?

MALE SPEAKER: Thursday it is.

WILLIAM: Thanks.

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Clinical Supervision Follow-up

MALE SPEAKER: See you then.

WILLIAM: Yeah.

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