|Blindsided - Page 7|
Paradoxically, it was against the backdrop of the six months of 24/7 bed rest at the end of 1998 that I began thinking about giving up my disability income and returning to private practice. Why did I decide to return to the practice of psychotherapy? Practically speaking, it's a sedentary profession that I could do from a wheelchair. I could practice from an office in my home and have access to supportive care and medical services that help me function. I was buffered financially by my Social Security Disability Income—I could do a return-to-work program that would give me a year of building my practice while receiving this financial support.
These were all necessary but not sufficient conditions for my return to practice. Of more import was the fact that my life had been out of balance since the spring of 1996. I'd been continually on the dependent and receiving end of things and had little sense of contributing to the welfare of others. My suffering had prepared me abundantly for feeling and expressing compassion, but I had no effective outlet for doing so. Psychotherapy is a vocation in which compassion is central to the process. In many callings, competition is central and compassion is a hindrance.
I reentered the practice of therapy with humble expectations. Paraplegia teaches you humility. I was unfettered by illusions of brilliance. I just hoped I could make a go of it from a wheelchair in a home-based practice. From the perspective of my bed, it was hard to imagine how fulfilling it was going to be to do psychotherapy again; however, I had only to have my first session with a client to know that returning to practice was the right choice.