Nice Moment

Some days have neat moments when things come together and the world just feels like it’s a good place to be. It sort of makes a deep giggle come from somewhere in me–it’s not that anything is particularly funny, bur rather just profoundly delightful. It’s not even that big of a deal, except that it is.

I had one of those moments yesterday.Stephanie Albiani, one of the therapists that works together with me, rapped on the doorpostyesterday as she was passing by, asking if she could chat for a few minutes.

bulletin board

She wanted to let me know that clients had been noticing the bulletin board in the waiting room. It’s not easy to wait for a counselling session, and in recognition of that, we have a bulletin board with thoughtful quotes, cartoons, community resources an short articles we’ve come across and think people might find interesting. I or others find thing that we think would be meaningful and we send them to Del. Del changes it up regularly so people that come weekly can usually find something they haven’t looked at before.

Stephanie wanted to let me know that clients are appreciating what they see on that bulletin board. It occupies people during what can feel like tense moments before they enter a session. The quotes engage people as they begin to think about what they will talk about in light of some of the wisdom we’ve captured from the elders of this world. The thoughts on the bulletin board can find their way into discussion in session. Stephanie didn’t provide me with any examples, just an overall expression of how the bulletin board was helpful to the people that come to see her. She went on to talk about how the waiting room can make anxious moments before a counselling session easier for people… the fountain, paint color on the walls, the candies, the magazines, the water dispenser and so on. She let me know that she felt the people that were coming to see her started feeling “understood” in what they might need even before she said hello.

People notice that when they come in during the day, Melanie (or on Wednesdays, Rebecca/Del) greets them. Often there is some pleasant chatting…many are familiar with Melanie as the initial appointment was arranged with her. Stephanie continued letting me know that she was just telling me this because she thought I had a hand in this, and simply wanted to let me know the value that it had for people—and therefore, also herself. As she was talking about the contribution of Melanie and Rebecca, she said to herself, “I think I’m gonna have to try to remember to tell them too.” Encouragement for encouragement’s sake—what a way to brighten my day!

While I SO appreciated her making the effort to notice what we have created in the waiting room, recognizing how stressful going to counselling is for many clients, I was not all that surprised. This reinforced something I have just been discovering…In prep for a blog entry about the fear many people have in anticipating therapy, I have left out a box where people who come for therapy can choose to leave some comments about how their experience of therapy on return sessions was different than when they first came. A few talked about their internal experience of anxiety…most seemed to use it as an opportunity to let me know how nice it was to see a smiling face in the waiting room, or to notice the quotes on the bulletin board etc. It’s always been important to me that the waiting room will be a precursor that will be consistent with what hopefully will be a positive experience in the counselling room. I had a feeling it was…but I’ve been finding out very recently that it is an even more important part of the overall therapy experience than what I might have guessed.

It’s sort of that feeling of hoping that guests feel welcome when they come to your home…and then they help themselves to the milk in the fridge which demonstrates how comfortable they feel—and that feels great.

So, yesterday, I got a quadruple whammy

  • someone—Stephanie—went out of her way to encourage me for no other reason than to give me positive feedback–how nice is that!
  • I was pleasantly reminded about how great the people are that I get to work with,
  • I found out that something that I’ve worked on together with Melanie and Rebecca is actually having the effect I had hoped it would, and
  • I get to look forward to knowing that the admin staff will hear from her about how great a job they are doing

It’s not that big of a deal, except that it is.

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