“If you want to be successful in this field, you’d better learn to love ambiguity.” A professor said this to her class 12 years ago. As a student in that class, I can almost hear these words today as clearly as they were spoken over a decade ago. This has stuck with me because it has proven to be true.
In my job I work closely with people, come to care for them deeply, watch them struggle and triumph. And then, in the majority of cases, we stop seeing each-other. This is the natural progression of therapy. In the cold clinical sense it is meet, assess, treatment plan, intervene and then terminate. I usually invite (if not outright plea for) follow-up calls, periodic check-ins. Perhaps naturally, seldom is this invitation accepted. Here is the ambiguity that my professor identified. Did this person maintain their progress? Did that issue ever resolve? What happened with their spouse? These questions rarely receive an answer.
But this post is not about me or the ambiguity that therapists encounter. It is about how we all come to terms with the ambiguities and uncertainties in our own lives.