I tried to enter therapy in the summer of 1996 with a guy who saw patients on Staten Island on the weekends.

The health insurance plan authorized only five visits because I had a preexisting condition: I was diagnosed with schizophrenia so the health plan wouldn’t allow me to see a therapist.

At the second visit I told Dr. B that I was in danger of losing yet another job in the insurance field. Miraculously, he told me he was a career counselor to upper level executives in Manhattan Monday to Friday. He told me he would do vocational assessment with me so that I could find a better job.

Dr. B gave me the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and gave me vocational quizzes to answer. By the fifth and last session he gave me career options to consider. That’s how I decided to go back to school to get a Masters in Library and Information Science.

Accepted at all three library schools I chose Pratt Institute and graduated in June 2000 with an M.S.

I’ll always be grateful for this random accident in meeting a therapist who turned out to be a career counselor.

This experience has influenced me to champion that a person diagnosed with a mental illness gets practical career counseling right from the start of their recovery.

Square pegs shouldn’t be forced into round holes:  This happened when the OVR state agency counselor in 1989 shunted me into training to become a secretary because I was female. No useful vocational assessment was given to me.

Imagine that: the health insurance plan told a person diagnosed with an emotional illness that she couldn’t see a therapist. You must remember that the Affordable Care Act guarantees that everyone can buy insurance even those of us with preexisting conditions.

I kid you not. I was denied therapy. And like I said miraculously I was able to get career counseling instead of therapy.

Ever since I started looking for my first job in 1990 I’ve had an unusual interest in creating resumes to help people get jobs. One guy I helped got a job as a dentist. A woman got a supervisor job. Another woman got a job as a secretary.

You should absolutely check in with your local neighborhood library to see if a librarian at a branch in their system helps people create resumes.. This is a free service that doesn’t cost you a dime. Check it out.

I would like to send a letter or e-mail to Dr. B telling him I’m eternally grateful that he was the catalyst in speeding up my route to having a better life outcome.

I will talk in future blog entries about finding the work you love and would be good at.


Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

One thought on “Serendipity”

  1. Wonderful, wonderful story, Christina. Yes, by all means, try to contact this person – show him this particular post, too. To think you were denied coverage, by dint of a preexisting condition is painful to contemplate. Thank goodness times are changing.
    Grateful for your blog, Chris.
    Leslie in Baltimore

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