Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I just came across this headline

As I am Googling to try to find more students who are blogging about their experience in a counseling program I came across an article of a student who is in a graduate counseling program in Georgia. The article talks about how this student is basically saying she should be allowed to stay in her current counseling program even though she believes it is okay to discriminate against LGBT clients because of her religion. Seriously?

Can you imagine if all counselors were allowed to discriminate against clients just because of their religion or various other reasons and I am sure people would come up with them. I have to ask myself why in the world this student believes she is a good fit to become a counselor? When I think of counselors I think of people who are compassionate, empathetic, understanding and lastly non judgmental, not counselors who are prepared to impart their views and values upon clients because of their religion and beliefs.

Again I say why does this woman believe she is fit to be a counselor? I am so glad that the state has decided to uphold the ruling of the college and frankly I wish the college would dismiss her period because this is one person the world would be better off to not have helping those who are vulnerable.

My program is no joke.

I decided today to start to re-read the handbooks located on my college website related to the Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program that I applied admission and was conditionally accepted to. Listed on their website are the student handbook, a handbook for pre-practicum, practicum, internship 1, internship 2, and an ethics handbook. As I am reading through the handbooks I begin to realize that this program is no joke! Not that I ever thought it was a joke I just never really sat down and thought about it. Yes I thought about getting my degree and life after the degree but I can be honest here and say I never really “thought” about the program and what it would entail other than maintaining a 3.0 GPA.I was rather limited in my selection of programs because of our current lifestyle and I choose the one I did based on a few criteria.

I never thought about things like a candidacy interview and having to take a 4 hour comprehensive exam plus a national certification exam in my final semester. In the first semester I have to gear up for a week long intensive on campus (in June) and taking and submitting my GRE and/or MAT scores, recommendation letters and doing my candidacy interview. I have to admit that I am already nervous about all of the above. I really don’t enjoy taking any form of test unless it requires me to write a paper…that I am good at and I get nervous that someone won’t like me and this interview could end my counseling career before it even begins. If I don’t do well during my week on campus and the instructors do not think I am a good fit for becoming a counselor I am done. That is a lot of pressure within the first six months of a program!

However I know myself well enough to know that I am born to become a counselor. That it is what I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember and that I am more than willing to learn, take direction, and do whatever work I need to do if it will make me be a better and efficient counselor. So with these thoughts I am trying to be positive about the challenges lying ahead of me in the next year and I am going to study, be myself, and hope for the best. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A head start on reading (counseling theories)

I start my first round of my courses in about 3 weeks. My program places students within a cohort to move through the program so my courses and when I take them is already laid out for me. Once I got accepted into the program I was sent information with what courses I would be taking when as well as a book list for the upcoming courses. I ordered 2 of my 4 books about 2 weeks ago and started reading.

I like to get a head start on reading even though I do not have the course materials to go along with the reading. One of my courses is Theory and practice of counseling. For anyone who has been or is in a counseling program you know what this course is. It lays out the MANY counseling theories that counselors can decide they want to practice with. There are MANY and as an aspiring counselor it can be overwhelming to begin reading and thinking about what theoretical orientation you are going to aline yourself with. Are you going to go with Alder? Skinner? Rogers? A combination of many?

As I sit and read through the first 8 chapters I am beginning to feel like I am leaning towards certain theories that I feel best fit with my goals in becoming a therapist. Having said this though I know already that all of these theories offer something to a beginning therapist and that we (counseling students) have to make sure we understand each and every one of them and how we can apply them in various counseling situations. What works with one client may not work with another and even if we find ourselves drawn to a certain theory we should be careful to place emphasis on others even if they are not naturally attractive to us.

As counselors in training it should be our mission to learn about each theory and what they can teach us about our interaction with future clients. Even if one theory is so attractive to us that we just know we want to base the majority of our working with clients on this theory we have to keep an open mind and learn the others because that theory whatever it may be will not work for every client.

So align yourself with a theory but be careful to remain open to the teachings the rest have to offer so that you can become the best counselor you can be and are not limited in your ability because you neglected the many theories and options open to counseling students.

Welcome to my blog!

I have been searching on the web for quite some time for blogs written by counseling students only to not really find anything. If they are out there I have yet to find them. So I thought that I would blog my experience in a graduate clinical mental health program. My program starts in about 3.5 weeks and I am super excited to begin this journey and to become a counselor.