I saw my first psychotherapy client at the beginning of my second year of graduate school. I was very nervous and hadn’t slept well the night before. I don’t remember the exact dialogue from our first meeting, but it went essentially like this:

Me: Hi, nice to meet you. How are you feeling today? Client: Oh, nice to meet you too. You seem nice. Me: Um, thanks. Client: I bet you’re going to be a great therapist after some training. I can

tell. I’ve had dozens of therapists over the years. Me: Ummm ... okay. How are you feeling today? Client: Suicidal. Me: Do you have a plan to hurt yourself? Client: Not sure yet. Me: What? Client: Well, I called my two favorite hospitals and their beds are taken for

tonight. I really don’t want to go to the county hospital. So I’m going to wait and call them back in an hour or two and find out if anything has opened up.