Intense Focus

Posted by The 'Gueru

4-21-23 #6

I typically speak with my friend Jermell Fleming Sr (Flem) several times per week if not daily. Flem currently resides in Alaska implementing modernized therapy practices with people native to Alaska. During these conversations we catch up on current events in our circle or reminisce on things we experienced together. This week was no different. We were several discussions in for the week when we both thought of Jerry. Jerry was a behavioral health therapist who worked in one of the hospitals in the central pa area. Jerry became the subject of conversation due to his intense focus he displayed. Flem and I agree, we never saw or heard of that level of focus. Here is what happened. When I met Jerry, I was hired as the first African American therapist in that hospital within the behavioral health department. Jerry already had fifteen or so years on the job and did not like to share information, did not consult other therapists to assist in difficult matters, used an extensive vocabulary to seem intellectual, did most of the most talking but very little listening. We all know that person. Side note, I never understood why people with that spirit and intention decide to work with people. Anyway, Flem was the second African American therapist to be hired at that hospital, so he was present for the intense focus. As I was there prior to Flem, I had the opportunity to share information with him that would make his employment a very good fit for everyone involved. Jerry and I had one interaction in which he presumed to know a bit of information about a patient that he did not know, so I had to politely provide the correct information. Well, Jerry took exception to me correcting him. He also took exception to my therapy style, cooking and baking with the patients, that my groups were standing room only, that patients came in with requests to work with me as their therapist, my note taking etc, that I challenged the patient’s entire support system to provide best outcomes, or my above and beyond attitude. I had no idea of Jerry’s disgust toward me because I went along with my daily routine and always try to ignore general negativity. I think some people do not like to witness anything good if they are not the cause or just in general. One day my supervisor Deb called me into the hallway and began speaking quietly. She stated there is an HR investigation saying Jerry investigated me for six months compiling hundreds of copies of electronic notes from individual, group and family therapy sessions. He also reported to HR that he barely took his designated breaks during the times he investigated. Jerry would also mention doing a great deal of Sherlock Holmsing that was done on the clock. I was confused then smiled and said ok Deb. First, there was no wrong doing on my part, so that part was dismissed immediately. Secondly, his intense focus failed him because the HR department was located in a separate building, so every piece of paper that Jerry took to HR was a HIPAA violation. The HR meeting ended up being Jerry’s last day at the hospital. His focus on me was so intense that he violated all sorts of rules and protocols which cost his employment. For the person intensely focused on the next person, I say take a few steps back to see the bigger picture through intelligent eyes.

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