Monday, August 7, 2017

IDAA 2017 Snow Bird UTAH - CME - Trauma of the Monitoring Program, Dr. Penny Ziegler

I love Dr. Penny’s lectures. I think of her as the Joni Mitchell of the lecture circuit. Her insights are as deep as  Sarah McLaughlin lyrics. Her experience is as broad as Carole King. I always hear that huge heart of hers as she speaks , her compassion for patients so readily apparent.  She is the therapist who speaks the language of the heart.   I really want to be like her whenever I leave I a lecture of hers. It’s like watching a scene beside some guy named Monet only to find that when you’re asked to draw that scene later , you’ve got stick figures in black and white and that Monet guy  has this wondrous picture of colour and form.
This lecture was no different.  It was also cat lady funny, not in a "laughing at" but a "laughing with” way.   We all deal with difficult people. We survive them. We love them. We want so much to make things work for them. We see them doing things that must have worked at some time in their lives but have long worn out their usefulness.  Dr. Penny helps professionals having difficulties in the workplace.  She described “all the usual suspects”.
The licensing board is a legal entity established to protect the patients and at the same time manage the business and law of health care professions.  Dr. Penny worked with the professional assistance program providing therapy and monitoring and helping the individuals over the hurdles and trying if possible to restore them to their workplace.
She presented a number of case studies which she’d clearly made confidential but maintained the conflicts and dynamics. Some of us recognized ourselves in the scenarios. I identified with them all.  There’s a quality in coping strategies that they are valuable but it’s the subtle or not so subtle differences like assertiveness and aggressiveness. Not only could we as professionals see ourselves in the cases but we could see our colleagues and some of our patients.  What was clear in Penny’s presentation was that she never lost sight of the humanity and struggling child and the fear that occasioned the behaviours.
It was a marvellous lecture. I love cats. I know how they behave when they’re afraid. It’s a worthwhile lesson to remember for my own practice and to remember with my own behaviour.   For the academic and therapist in me it was like getting to hear another performance of Stevie Nicks. I’m forever thankful that there are psychiatrists like Penny who remind me to the core of the compassion that drew me to this field.  There was  spirituality and  mystery.  There was also the  reminder to us all that individually when we think of ourselves as one T.S. Elliots’ CATS, we may well be coming across as one of Dr. Penny Ziegler's Cats. Callico Cats! Callico Cats!

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