Posted by: Marie | September 6, 2010

(394) Introducing Steve

Post #394
[Private journal entry written on Monday, March 15, 2010 – morning]

I interviewed another prospective therapist this morning . . . Steve.

When I originally contacted Steve, he never responded to my email. I figured I had the wrong email address or something. So, I called him – and we played phone tag. Finally, we were able to have a conversation.

A minute or two into that phone conversation, my foster kitten decided to get his jaw hung-up in his new collar . . .

The kitten isn’t used to wearing collars and my housemate put one on him. He scratched and scratched at it until it got all fuzzy. And, he has been trying to bite it off. During my phone call with Steve, he got one of his lower canine teeth hooked in the fuzzy stuff – his lower jaw got stuck in the wide-open position, against his neck.

So, while I was trying to have this phone conversation, I hear this awful racket . . . the kitten was gagging and growling and frantically spinning in circles on his back. I said, “Oh, wait a second, my cat is trying to strangle himself and I need to rescue him.”

I threw down the phone and saved the kitten . . . . then went back to the conversation. Steve was very understanding about the interruption.

Then, several hours later, I hit the call-back function on my phone to return a call to friend of mine . . . forgetting I had gotten a phone call from Steve in the meantime. So, I was embarrassed when I discovered I had actually called Steve and interrupted his evening family time . . . I thought, “He must think I’m a dingbat!”

Once again, he was very understanding.

So much for first impressions, LOL.

Anyway, I interviewed Steve today. My first impression of him was he is professional, intelligent, polite . . . so far so good . . .

His creative energy is that of a warrior, which is all about strategy and steady action (see illustration). My secondary creative energy (the energy of “doing”, as opposed to the primary energy of “being”) is that of a warrior, so I feel a kinship with warriors in areas in which I’m seeking accomplishment.

The characteristics of warriors include:

– Lead with their physical embodiment of action and forward movement

– Protective of the values and people they hold dear, automatically creating a safe structure to engage them

– Vitalize the physical efforts made by the group

– Treasure productivity and doing things with less effort over being related to others

– Their presence catalyzes and clarifies the actions required for success

– Impose their own structure on others in the name of being efficient

– Seem to enjoy physical activity and getting things done on a physical level

– Have trouble allowing other people to get close

When we sat down in his office and started talking, I noticed he was not making eye contact. Hmmmm . . very strange. He was fully engaged in the conversation, he just wouldn’t look at me. He looked at the ceiling, at the floor . . . especially at the wall right behind me. We were a good ten minutes into the conversation before he held solid eye contact with me for any amount of time.

'Warrior' creative energy

He answered my questions quite intelligently . . . actually, the conversation was very intellectually stimulating for me. He seems to know a lot of clinical information about a number of approaches and he was very willing to share it with me. I learned a lot from him.

I did notice, however, he had trouble staying on topic. He meandered from one topic to another . . . sometimes it took him 5-10 minutes to answer one of my questions. Again, I learned a lot, but I also found myself getting frustrated with his slow-paced meandering. I kept wanting to finish his sentences for him just to help him complete his thoughts quicker.

From this, I learned I value focus and a moderately quick pace in a conversation. I know I don’t deal well with a very quick pace because then I feel like I don’t have time to process new information. But, a slower pace frustrates me.

Something else I noticed . . . his energy felt stifled and confined to me in this setting. I sensed it was all he could do to sit and have this conversation with me. It felt like he really wanted to be outdoors, maybe having this conversation while hiking rather than while sitting. I don’t think sitting in an office, wearing dress shoes and a tie, is at all natural for him. He looks good doing it, but it feels out-of-whack to me. It felt like his meandering and lack of focus was coming from the fact he was forcing himself to be softer and more “touchy feely” in his interaction, which resulted in an ineffective approach.

Also, his office was rather small, dark and overcrowded with furniture. He kept the overhead light off (bright florescent light) and used only floor lamps for lighting. I think he was going for an intimate feeling, but instead it felt claustrophobic. It felt like an ineffective attempt to create an environment he believed he “should” have in his office. It didn’t fit his personality at all.

Anyway, because of his meandering, he only answered about half of the questions I had. Our interview was scheduled to last an hour . . . it lasted an hour and 15 minutes. He said he was enjoying the conversation so much that he lost track of time.

His answers to my questions were pretty generic . . . he is pretty conventional in his religious beliefs and his opinions about paranormal abilities.

His approach was pretty traditional. He uses EMDR but is not overly attached to it.

He doesn’t create a specific plan for a client’s therapy . . . he just lets it happen as it happens. He believes the client usually knows when it is time to change the course, take a break or stop altogether. He really doesn’t like to be tied to too much structure.

At one point, we got to talking about Mark. He said it sounded like Mark sees himself as a mentor, a healer, a savior, and he sees his clients as broken people who need him to sweep in and save them – that he has all the answers and his clients desperately need his help.

Steve suggested Mark doesn’t handle it well when someone, especially a “broken” female like me, takes charge of designing her own healing path, stands up to him and tells him her way is better.

Yup . . I’d say that’s pretty accurate!

He also put forth another theory . . .

It is reasonable to expect Mark to know a lot about therapy in general, and for him to know a lot about a few specialized areas. But, it is not reasonable to expect him to know a lot about everything.

Because it is in my nature to do a lot of research around therapy-related topics that are relevant to me, it is very possible I know more than Mark in those specific areas. (I told Steve that, yes, I am already aware this is the case, which is why I have tried to share that information with Mark.)

Steve wondered if Mark felt threatened by that . . .

I agreed that could easily be the case . . . and I wondered why Mark (or any therapist) would not see the additional information as a bonus . . . ?? Wouldn’t it be better to have two well-informed people working towards a common goal?

Steve said that yes, logically that makes sense. However, if Mark were not feeling confident in his abilities, he might see it as a threat.

Okay . . . that makes sense.

At any rate, as I walked out of the interview, I realized I had experienced zero “heart connection” with Steve.

He seems to be fully capable of doing his job and he seems very smart and very well informed. But, I felt no emotional connection with him. During the entire conversation, he seemed to not be present with me. His brain was engaged, but his spirit was otherwise occupied. There seemed to be an overall lack of congruence in his person.

So, given that, along with the fact I found myself getting frustrated with his communication style, I easily concluded Steve is not a good fit for me. So, he is out of the running.


  1. It sounds like Steve would be an interesting therapy client.

    My guess is that many therapy clients not only know more than the therapist (certainly about their own situation and experience) but are often saner too: how many therapists would have survived as well as their clients what their clients went through? I suggest the number is small, just my guess.

    • Hey, Evan –

      I hadn’t thought about what it would be like for Steve to be a client of a therapist! I have a feeling that he will get it figured out in time . . . I got the sense he was working on finding his way through.

      – Marie

  2. It sounds like at least he gave you some good and useful feedback about your experience with Mark. Your description of him (Steve) was fascinating … especially your sense that he was trying to create what he thought his office should look like, rather than creating what it would look like if he really let himself be “in” the space.

    • Hey, David –

      That is true! The interview yielded valuable information even if he turned out to not be a good fit.

      It was interesting to me, also, how pronounced the misalignment between him and his environment seemed to be.

      – Marie

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