Thursday, August 29, 2013



Dr. Jeanne Schur, Ph.D., L.P.

Another deadly heat wave – 90+ degrees - was about to descend upon us Minnesotans, not a good sign for allergy sufferers and people attending the state fair.  I was out on my deck early, drinking coffee, before the humidity hit.

A dragonfly gently landed on my out-stretched legs, attaching itself to my crossed-over ankle.  I was amazed at how securely attached it was – not budging when I shook out my leg.  It must be trying to tell me something.  It is one of my seven totems and stands for Breaking through illusions to find the truth. The timing couldn’t be more perfect.

I have been in a stalemate in my career and personal life.  I am very good at what I do but the hassles with the insurance companies, dealing with politics and with the fear of Medicaid fraud growing even more intense, those of us who have devoted our lives to working with urban populations are easy targets for audits.  Even with nothing to hide and records intact, the hassle of repeating the same thing over and over and dealing with auditors that are not psychologists is so frustrating, as they don’t understand the nature of the evaluations and the need for crisis intervention, although they purport to comprehend it.  Everyone wants to feel appreciated, especially when one devotes their life to helping people in need. But, when the administrative rules take over the need for quality services (as one auditor told me, we are not here to evaluate the quality of your work) and even though all documentation is intact and according to CMS guidelines, who wants to spend their time defending their paper work?  It is part of doing business, but in my opinion, the majority of potential fraud is not with the actual providers, it is with people who never see the clients and bill for it anyway!  I would make a great fraud consultant, but there doesn’t seem to be a need for one. Smile. I recognize the auditors are efficiently doing their job, but my job is to defend my billing practices and explain the codes and how they are utilized.  It is just so time-consuming and non-reimbursable.  I was contemplating how I could use my skills in another capacity when the dragonfly landed on my ankle.
One of my favorite movies from 2002 starred Kevin Costner and was titled, Dragonfly.  I read a long time ago that he agreed to do the movie because he was fascinated by the supernatural aspects of it.  It was allegedly based on a true story, with embellishments to the movie script.  His character, Dr.Joe, an atheist, kept seeing dragonflies everywhere after his wife died in an accident overseas, but he doesn’t understand the symbolism. He is guided by the signs until he finally discovers their meaning. Ever since watching the movie, a dragonfly has appeared when I am in self-doubt or stuck as to what is my next move in a problem-solving process.

Why is it that we are so slow to trust our judgment and our abilities?  I am a baby boomer and honoring our parent’s opinion and guidance was paramount to my family’s way of life.  I lucked out and had wonderful parents but being encouraged to trust ourselves was not primary to their parenting style.  Following the rules, being kind to others, following the tenets of our faith (Catholicism) and always sticking up for the underdog was paramount in their values.  They have served me well in many aspects of my life, but I wish sometimes that I had more confidence in trekking out new paths.  I do very well when I understand what is expected of me and I am a rule-bound person (which is why the audits frustrate me).  I have the ability to see beyond what is obvious but where I falter is in explaining and expressing my perceptions and intuition to others.  It is breaking through appearances and seeing beyond what is obvious.  I have had this ability since I was a little girl and it frequently made me a target for bullying.  I was outspoken and thought everybody had the same ability, until I was teased, starting at around age 4 for being weird, lying and making things up.  You learn to keep your opinions to yourself, but as my mother used to constantly say to me, “You sure have a good imagination.”

I can only be myself, in a world where there is pressure to conform to other’s ways of thinking, whether professionally or personally.  There certainly is a need for conformity in society, especially when following rules for safety and belonging. It doesn’t seem to work for seeking significance, the need to be recognized for creativity and uniqueness.  Social psychologist Dr. Alfred Adler’s trifecta of what all people are seeking - significance, belonging and safety - doesn’t come with guidelines on how to achieve it.  One thing I do know, is that when you are in a quagmire, pushing against the rules or forces that be, doesn’t work.  It is like quicksand, you just sink deeper.  It is best to do your best to comply, sticking to the facts without acquiescing your values or compromising your integrity, and then look at alternatives, if this is a sign of things to come.  The best way to get out of quicksand is not to struggle against it, but to be still and be lifted out by someone or something bigger than you.  I am willing to see this differently  is a great affirmation when in a stalemate. It takes you from a place of anxiety to one of peace, and then you can choose differently.  It is said the answer always lies next to the problem; we just need help from our higher power to recognize it.
The dragonfly is a reminder for me to trust, to have faith, and believe that all is well…because like the movie says, It’s belief that gets you there!  Do not judge by appearances – all is well!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to give us your comments!