The past two years that I have been in graduate school, I have had some of the most challenging, exciting, and difficult days. Not only am I doing hundreds of pages reading, writing papers, researching for my graduate job, and preparing my Thesis- I have been seeing clients and just began my external internship where I will see more clients. On top of all of that I am figuring out who I am, and how that affects me as a therapist. I have had to write self studies, an in depth paper about my family, be interviewed in depth about my personal strengths and weaknesses, and do live therapy in an observational setting with everyone seeing my strength and "growth areas". My beliefs and biases have been examined to see how those affect me as a therapist. My supervisors believe you have to know your worldview, and how you percieve and think about yourself to better understand how your work with clients is influenced. I don't know how to explain what things have been like for me in this program... Not only is the work of graduate school a heavy load, but there is a whole emotional component to the program that is exciting, but often draining. Sometimes I feel like I am in the middle of a lake, trying to get to the shore- I can see it, but its far and sometimes the swim wears me so that I wonder if I will make it. I am not saying these things at all to complain. I would not trade what I am doing. But the growth process has been tough. Sometimes under a microscope, you like what you see...sometimes you don't.
I remember my sessions after my grandmother passed away sitting there numbly...struggling to pay attention (thank goodness I still had a co-therapist at that point). After a long, tearful supervision discussing the question, "how do I remain an effective therapist even when I'm having a hard time", I learned a lot about self-care and the value of that concept when in a profession that requires you to give your best to people.
Some people say, I could never be a therapist and listen to people's problems all day-When I take the view that I am only listening to problems I loose focus and become overwhelmed. I am not just listening to problems- I am encouraging, I am looking for solutions, and I may be the only one listening. There is so much pain and sadness in the world, but there is also joy and you must look for it. Pain always seems to find people- so work to find joy. It has been an honor and a joy to walk with people through some of their darkest and brightest days.
I can't believe how fast the last two years have gone, and December is quickly approaching. Soon I will be leaving the safety of an environment of having a live supervisor, and friends that have become so dear as we have triumphed and struggled together. I have loved this experience. I have been constantly reminded of how blessed I am to have the family and marriage I have. I couldn't have asked for a better partner to encourage me, and be patient through the late nights and business as I chase this dream. Life is a journey, and I hope to always be growing, learning about myself and others, and finding out how to best be the person God is calling me to be.