I know it’s been a while and I have a LOT of posts to catch up on. First things first, updates
Since I last wrote, I have (1) graduated from Capella University with my Masters in Mental Health Counseling, (2) gotten hired on at my previous pre-graduate internship site, (3) taken and passed the National Counselor Exam, (4) Applied for and been accepted as a Counselor Intern (C.I.) with the Louisiana Board of Examiners, and (5) begun researching the National Health Service Corp.
When working on graduating, taking the licensing exams, and networking in a down economy it is essential to minimize distractions. Any one of these activities could be considered a full time job in and of itself, so my recommendation is to not be too hard on yourself and to pick and choose. It’s importance to balance professional pursuits with self-care. While I have done a “lot,” there is also a “lot” that has had to take a second place to self-care (or risk personal overload)! For instance, the article I am working (and hoping to publish) has been untouched since things began getting hectic (as has this blog).
I’m sorry I haven’t been writing/updating the site.
My number one recommendation to Counseling graduate students is to put every effort into putting your best foot forward at your pre-graduate internship site. Now this does not mean that one should feel pressured to be “the best most empathetic intern ever!”…in fact, far from it! The goals that one should set for oneself at a pre-graduate internship site may seem simple and include the following: (1) be 5-10min early for your scheduled shift, (2) call in advance to speak with your supervisor if you will be late or absent, (3) be willing to WORK (and I mean get down and dirty, do whatever goofer work is asked of you type work), (4) try to be proactive with your work rather than re-active (the site will expect you to make mistakes – making it easier for a pre-graduate intern to make a “mistake,” revise and learn from it…so RISK it)!, and (5) show gratitude to the rest of the work staff team (admissions, the nursing staff, doctors, and counseling in a multi-professional environment all work together and their work affects that of each other!…a box of doughnuts on a busy Wed morning can go a long way to meeting the rest of the team and to increase communication/learning opportunities which could later bridge into career opportunities).
I’m hoping to continue updating weekly and will have more details to come.:) Thanks everyone for all your patience while updating/catching up.
One thing I like to say is that change is hard! If change was easy, there would be no need for therapists, counselors, social workers, etc. Furthermore, change is a process that is difficult and can be a lot of work and/or painful (Polcin, 2003). It is therapeutic change, and a break down of client resistant behaviors that therapists strive to engage. Moreover, resistance has multiple purposes and causes depending on the nature of therapeutic involvement (voluntary or non-voluntary) or extent of content to be disclosed (Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2009). Some examples of resistant client behaviors can include: (1) too much talking, (2) lack of talking, (3) late/early arrivals, (4) lack of preparation or too much preparation, and (5) too much or lack of emotional control (Sommers-Flanagan & Sommers-Flanagan, 2009). (See below for References)
Lynn Shallcross wrote an excellent article on client resistance and the role of client resistance/managing that resistance as a counselor. Click the text to go to the full article!
“You can’t change anyone else; you can only change yourself. Many counselors have used this common bit of wisdom to help clients overcome problems, but it’s crucial that counselors internalize that idea themselves, says Clifton Mitchell, a professor and coordinator of the community agency concentration in the counseling program at East Tennessee State University.”
Polcin, D. L. (2003). Rethinking Confrontation in Alcohol and Drug Treatment: Consideration of the Clinical Context. Substance Use & Misuse, 38(2), 165.
Somers-Flanagan, J and Somers-Flanagan, R. (2009). Clinical Interviewing. 4th. Ed. Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ.
This image and quote from the Dalai Lama holds a lot of meaning. In stressing over the future or worrying excessively, many develop anxiety responses. In focusing on the past, trauma and pain from the past can prevent enjoyment of present. In being consumed with pleasing others or being “perfect,” the individual can neglect self.
Now you too can start a “Psychiatric ‘Lemonade’ Stand” Like Lucy in Peanuts. Impress your friends and family, treat that obnoxious anxiety triggered by late night graduate school papers…
CLICK ME TO LEARN MORE
(Note: This product is meant for amusement only…not to be taken seriously. Avoid counter-transference, multiple roles, and use at your own risk.)
I’ve been officially accepted into Chi Sigma Iota (CSI), the international honors fraternity for professional counselors:) I also followed up with my potential site supervisor and should (hopefully) have her half of the paperwork before I leave to go to my second residency:)
In preparation for conferences and professional/academic residencies, there some steps I like to take to help improve the odds of being able to network:
- update my digital portfolio which can be found HERE
- order more business cards – I use a site called MOO.COM (they are very professional looking and have tons of fun themes)
- review my wardrobe – (if there is anything I need to replace so as to have suitable outfits for a professional event…it’s better to know in enough time to go shopping)
- skim over post-residency course requirements – for instance after the residency for Capella, we will have to complete a separate Digital Portfolio…(it always better for these big projects to NOT be a surprise)
I can’t emphasize this enough. Whether working toward a degree, pursuing a competitive position, or managing a business…”following up” and taking personal responsibility is essential. It does not matter if it was the “school’s” fault that “you didn’t know” about a big course catalog requirement in enough time to complete it – especially if five minutes spent looking ahead in that catalog could have prevented the issue to begin with.
Well it’s been a while since I wrote…again:) I had planned to post a lot between semesters, but wound up using the break to search for an internship site. If you are in Mental Health Counseling (or seeking an LPC) part of the graduate requirement (per-graduation) is a practicum/internship (the hours required vary from state-to-state). I’ve found a site, all I need to do now is get approval from my university **fingers crossed!** The process of “finding” a site went smoothly, in part because I prepared early and
Tips to finding an Internship Site (Graduate School):
- Create a resume or update yours when (a) you first start school, and (b) once more 9 months before job hunting
- Use University career centers and/or a professor in YOUR field of study to review your resume and edit it! (Every profession has things it looks for, keywords/etc, in resumes. Catering your resume to your field is essential.)
- (Note: Counseling/Psychology fields like “Bulleted” items in their works.) For a sample resume please see mine HERE.
- After you have a polished resume make sure you review/update it before searching for a site.
- Begin searching for a site no less than 6 months prior to the scheduled date of internship – this will give you ample time to complete paperwork for your university and/or have a site rejected by said university (giving you time to freak out and find another if need be).
- If every place you go to seems not to want you, get a teacher or friend to “interview” you informally (try to find someone in the field you’re going into) and critique your interview-ability. Something you are saying (or not saying) may be putting potential sites off you!
- DON’T forget to mention that (A) the internship is UNPAID for graduate school and (B) you will have your own INSURANCE via a professional organization. There are “paid” internships/career openings that you may not qualify for; however, if you are working for “free” the company may employ you anyways to save money and receive help that budgetary limitations would otherwise not allow for…
- You have a site but it’s still 6 months away? Follow up! At least once a month check in with your potential supervisor. Keep up with the paperwork that must be done. Ask about additional training sessions you may need, if you have to foot the bill for these sessions, and ask about background/medical/other checks may be needed in order to work at your chosen site.
- A little work NOW can mean BIG results later. It will also keep you from needing to be committed due to last minute rushing/panic attacks.
Are you a procrastinator??? Well guess what me too! What you don’t believe me??? Here’s a trick I do to FORCE myself to keep ahead of the game:
On my calendar (physical or the one on my cell phone) I set the most annoying reminder with an alarm for whatever I am trying to accomplish. For instance, tomorrow I need to call and follow up with a potential internship site and have been procrastinating because of the false sense of security gained from finding one so quickly. I have the most annoying alarm/sound set to go off every 3 hours tomorrow until I call. Once I call, I’ll delete the alarm(s). Additionally, it’s important to FORCE yourself to do something to prep for future school requirements (like an internship or a portfolio) at least once to twice a month. The act of accomplishing something also decreases anxiety/stress by increasing feelings of accomplishment. There are times that even doing a bit here and there is not enough to keep away the mad rush at the last minute. On the other hand, even when the mad rush is unavoidable, previous feelings of accomplishment and work can make the act of coping with the stress more manageable.