chapter  8
Has Being a Th erapist Been a Good Career Choice?
Pages 4

I have had to do diffi cult and painful things as a therapist. I have told parents their child is retarded or schizophrenic and watched them sob. Th en I had to help decide if, how, and what we should tell the child. I have had to say good-bye to so many people whom I came to care about. I have had to make life-changing decisions about removing children from their parents, hospitalizing, and reporting abuse and neglect. I have listened to repeated, inescapable horrors that made me hate humans. I remember the three sessions where an immigrant father told for the fi rst time the story of his 7-year journey from Vietnam to America. He almost drowned, was repeatedly robbed and attacked by pirates, frequently faced death by starvation, was arrested and sent to prison camps, experienced periods of total hopelessness, and watched family members brutally murdered. As he told this story to me and his 14-year-old son, who looked like he just stepped out of the pages of GQ magazine, we felt his pain and strengths and understood his unrealistically high expectations and controlling parenting. I remember the 34-year-old mother of four children ages 4, 5, 11, and 12, who told them she loved them but could not take care of them. She stood and left . I froze in disbelief. Th e youngest two crawled under separate tables and cried. Th e oldest just sat as if the air had been let out of him, and the other ran. I had to decide what to do next. I watched a 22-year-old die of kidney failure. His body had rejected two kidneys, and he refused to give up doing drugs, so he could not qualify for another transplant.