Posted by: Marie | July 1, 2012

(660) Down to brass tacks

Post #660
[Private journal entry written on Thursday, August 4, 2011]

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last therapy session. I’ve been feeling really good.

Flower by Martin Chen

I’ve been exercising on the treadmill at the gym on a regular basis. I’m still not pushing myself very hard, but I am getting used to the idea of going to the gym regularly. By doing it more regularly, I’m finding the process less triggering.

During the time I spend on the treadmill, I often find myself saying to myself, “This is my time for healing my body . . . I’m doing this as a way to support the healing of my body.”

So, it seems my mindset around exercising has shifted from seeing the exercise as something I have to do in order to become attractive and therefore become likeable/loveable . . . I’m starting to see exercise as a way to support healing and wholeness.

I didn’t proactively choose to shift my thinking, it is something that is happening organically. I think that is a sign of healthier thinking.


This past week, I’ve been negotiating with my cousins on a date for me to visit them:



Well, we finally sat down and figured out our lives (sort of). You can come on down any weekend in September except the first one. So now the ball is in your court. Whatever works for you, just let us know. Look forward to seeing ya.



Hey, Caleb –

I’m glad to hear you’ve figured out your life, LOL! I hear that’s a rare feat!

I’m thinking that the second weekend would be good . . . I could arrive around 7pm or 8pm on Friday evening (September 9th) and leave around 4pm on Saturday (September 10th). Would that work for you?

It will be fun to visit with you! Thank you for having me!

– Marie



OK, sounds good…

We will be looking forward to your visit.




Hey, Caleb –

It’s a date!

My cell (and only) phone is XXX-XXX-XXXX. I’ll eat supper on the way down Friday evening, so I won’t be looking for a meal when I arrive . . .

Thank you!!

– Marie


Yesterday, I received an email from some clients with whom I’ve had a number of issues. The two girls took the summer off from lessons and now the mom is saying she wants them to start back up this fall.

I’ve been debating how to handle the situation . . . I really don’t want to deal with the parents anymore . . . I really care for the girls, but they don’t practice and they don’t really seem to want to take lessons . . . but, I’ve seen some signs of emotional abuse and I am worried about the girls. Part of me wants to stay in contact with them in case they need help.

I keep thinking about what I’ve learned from Edward concerning boundaries and that I am not obligated to continue working with clients if I don’t want to work with them.

I want to believe this family can do better . . . I want to believe they can become more ideal clients. I want to give them another chance . . . I want to stay in contact with the girls . . . but there have to be some changes in the whole family’s behavior.

Anyway . . . here is the email I received from the mom . . . followed by my response:


Hi Marie,

Just wanted to touch base with you and let you know that we will start lessons back up after school begins, probably beginning late August. Can you let me know what you have available in the late afternoon during the week?

Thank you.


Hi, Connie –

It’s good to hear from you and I’m glad you are looking to start up with lessons again!

I have good news and bad news . . . the good news is that I still have a few spots left. The bad news is that I’m booked solid from 3:20-8:15pm on Mon, Tue, Wed and Thur — and until 6:50pm on Fridays. So the only spot I have left, other than Saturday mornings, is Friday at 7:00pm. I know that was a tough time slot for you last year. I don’t know if it would work any better for you this year.

While I have the chance, I want to mention that I have some concerns about attendance and practice . . . the way we have been operating is very frustrating for all of us . . .

We’ve been working on the same pieces for the last 4-5 months of lessons. This does not allow any of us to feel we are making progress. For this to improve, the girls need to practice a minimum amount each week (120 min/wk for Amy and 90 min/wk for Britney). Are they willing and able to make that happen?

Also, it does not make business sense for me to keep a time slot reserved for a client if the client is not willing to maintain the 80% attendance threshold . . . and your current history carries an attendance rate around 70-72%. That concerns me. I really need for the girls’ attendance rate to stay at or above 80%.

So, here’s the “bottom line” . . . if the Friday 7pm time slot or one of the Saturday time slots will work for you and you do want to continue lessons, the girls will need to practice regularly and your attendance rate will need to stay at or above 80%.

I’ll plan to do an evaluation of the situation at the end of October to review your attendance history — if the rate between now and then is below 80%, then I’ll require minimum monthly payment per the clause in our agreement that addresses such a situation. And, if the girls have not been practicing regularly between now and then, I’ll have to consider not continuing lessons.

My preference is for things to turn around and for the girls to be successful in their learning to play piano. I would love to be part of that because I really like the girls and enjoy working with them.

Let me know your thoughts about all of this . . . thank you!

– Marie


And, finally, I sent an email to Edward yesterday in preparation for our session scheduled for tomorrow . . . and, as always, he responded quickly . . .


Hi, Edward –

I wanted to drop a line to say that I’ve just been hummin’ along, getting ready for the school year . . . relatively smooth ride, no big drama . . .

I’m looking forward to spending time with you on Friday!

– Marie


Dear Marie,

So glad to read you’re humming along.

I, too, look forward to our time our Friday.

See you soon.


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