Monday at about 4:30 in the afternoon, I got a call from my therapist. She asked how I was doing (mostly okay at the time she called) and then told me she had some Bad News…
She’s an Interning MFT, so she has to work under the supervision of a fully-licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in order to practice. She told me that her supervisor had left her; I don’t remember the exact wording that she used, but it was something like a moral or ethical conflict, or some reason that her supervisor could not keep filling that role in good conscience. Obviously she couldn’t discuss the exact nature of the situation, or give me any details about it, but as of that very moment she couldn’t legally be my therapist (or anyone else’s either.)
She let me know that she could provide references or other information about therapists in the area, if I wanted… and she made sure to take down my mailing address so she could send me a check for the amount I’d paid in advance for the session that would have been the next day. She also offered that she was scrambling to find another supervisor as quickly as possible. “It’s not often you end up in a job where you genuinely enjoy going into work every day,” she mused, and I can also understand wanting to make sure that she has any employment…
I told her that I felt confident in my support network for the moment to see me through until she’s back up and running, and she let me know that she’d keep her “Office Number” open (which seemed to be a Google Voice line when I’d called a few days before) while she’s figuring things out. She made it clear that I could still call if there was an emergency, or if I had any further updates about my decision to stick it out and wait for her.
Some of you may remember that it was just at the end of July that I was worried about whether I’d be able to keep seeing her, as she was moving out from under the umbrella of one therapy group office out to her own private practice — and she’d apparently done a fair bit of looking to find a supervisor to work with. For that supervisor to suddenly bail on her 3 weeks later is pretty much bullshit, in my opinion.
As I was talking this over, first with Lime and then with Plush (yay, new people to name — she’s not new to my life, just to being mentioned on this blog) it dawned on me that suddenly not having a therapist indefinitely means suddenly not having any shot at a letter of support/letter of recommendation indefinitely, which means not seeing any possibility of an orchiectomy indefinitely.
And with that realization came the little tidbit of remembering that it wouldn’t technically have been her alone signing the recommendation, but her supervisor — the required “licensed professional” that the WPATH Standards Of (fucked-up bullshit gatekeeping measures to prevent trans* folks from accessing medically necessary) Care insist on having sign the document.
So now I have this little nagging doubt and wonder — am I the reason her supervisor walked away? Of course, there’s no way to find out. She’s legally prevented from discussing what her former supervisor said to her in confidence, and even if that’s what it was, there’s certainly no easy way to prove it. My session this last Tuesday was supposed to consist mainly of my therapist and me drafting that very letter and refining it to be faxed off then and there.
This is the system. I’m one of the lucky ones — backpack full of privilege that gets me anywhere near the access to care that I get. White, “articulate” — which means I talk (or can talk) like the white people in power, the people in gatekeeper positions — and a fair knowledge of and familiarity with Western medicine, thanks in large part to growing up with my dad being a nurse. And I’m often perceived as a cis* woman, which means less risk of violence from the general public and from the institutions of power and control (governments, police, prison system, religious organizations, etc.)
For the moment, I’m dealing with the usual depression and hard time coping that I often do. It’s not easy when I end up with difficult news, though — like The Rabbit writing to say that she was in a hit-and-run accident, shaken but uninjured (though the same can’t be said for her car) and dreadful news about a member of my blood family (which I can’t discuss publicly.) I don’t know what else to do, though… “Alive By Default,” as MFP calls it, that’s all I’ve got.