Monday, December 31, 2012

Not one but two.....and the dance of therapy

So after moving here in May and spending months searching for an internship only to land one then decide it wasn't going to offer everything I needed or wanted and then start searching for another only to land that one is awesome! Yes you are reading that right I have not one but two internship sites now! I start the 2nd site next week by becoming involved in a process therapy group. Excited. Nervous. Stoked. Unsure.

You see while you are in school and before you starting doing your "real" experience courses unless you have been previously involved in therapy in some way it sounds magical. Magical in the sense that what you read or hear from others sounds like a magical process in which two people dance together so seamlessly you can hardly tell there are two dancing. Therapy is a dance. But I don't believe it is seamless at least not in the beginning.  It takes time to learn each others moves and begin to step together at the right time.

So I am nervous but excited to begin this journey. I am ready. I am ready. I am ready (maybe if I repeat enough it will do something to the nerves?).

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Love 'em enough to let them have their pain




I was completing a discussion post within my group for my multicultural course and another student (Larry!) made this statement which got me thinking. As counselors is there a time where we have to love our clients enough to let them have their pain? As a future counselor I want to take away pain or at least that is what I thought I should do but this statement...loving them enough to let them have their pain really made me take a step back and understand just how important it really is. Sometimes we need to sit with the pain, to really feel it if we are to make an effort to create change. Without the pain we might not ever step in the direction of the goals we have created for ourselves.So counselors and future counselors....sometimes you have to do as Larry says and love 'em enough to let them have their pain.




Saturday, December 1, 2012

Grad school burnout.....


 


Yep I have it. I have realized why many people do not choose  to seek a graduate degree. I am 3 semesters into my program with 4 to go and I am burned out. I am not sure what is causing the burnout. Is it just school? Boredom with my classes? Lack of learning? Family issues? Life issues? What is the cause and what am I going to do about it. Taking a break in my program is not an option nor is quitting. So what do I do?

Well today I decided to just be and read some funny therapy comics to which I am going to share with you of course!







Enjoy :)
Source 1, 2, 3,4, 5

Thursday, November 1, 2012

YES YES YES!!!!!!

After months of searching MONTHS I tell you today I got an internship offer. I have been looking since May. Yes May. I have called at least over 50 sites. Some where not taking interns at all, some were not taking interns till next fall ( my practicum starts in January), some just were not interested in me. But you know what I learned today? It was ALL for GOOD REASON. Because today I landed hopefully what will turn out to be my dream internship.

If you have been following this blog you are well aware that I have interest in addiction, sex offender treatment, and prisoner counseling. This internship will allow me to be involved on some level with all of the above hence my excitement at landing what to me is the perfect internship. I am looking forward to beginning my work with this agency!

Hopefully in the coming months I will have more to talk about :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Is it possible to be too passionate?

Is it possible to be too passionate? This morning after I dropped my little guy off at school I decided to come home and spend an hour just doing something for me. So I decided to lay in bed and watch TV. On Netflix I found a show called For The Bible Tells Me So which is about being gay/lesbian and how  Christians use the bible as justification for their hatred of gays (if you are one of the few Christians who do no do this kudos to you! ). After I finished the movie I started to wonder if as a counselor it is possible to be too passionate?

Image from google.com search

By that I mean supporting and advocating for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) community is something I feel I should do. I hope to one day work with LGBT in my counseling practice and I hope that I can be a voice of acceptance and hope for them. But I also feel this way about addictions, grief (specifically infant loss), and the overall mental health population that deals with the stigma of mental illness. There are many areas of great interest to me and many areas I feel that I should help. So as a counselor can you be too passionate? When does it become an issue? How do you narrow it down so that you can become the best in something?

Image from google.com search


I think for me I am going to have to do some soul searching. I think part of the beauty of this profession is that we do get to work with individuals from all walks in life. I will have many opportunities to work with LGBT, those who suffer from addiction, grief and many stages of mental illness. The issue I am currently having is deciding where I feel my effort is best focused. All of these are in great need of advocates. All of them. So my journey continues and so does my passion. I am going to allow the passion to lead me where it goes. I am hoping that some of the questions I have will be answered while I am doing my upcoming internships.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Women and body image

I follow many blogs and this one I happen to follow on Facebook as well and today she posted a link to this post that I will link you to below. What this post has to say about women and body image issues is so true and might ring true for many of you.

We are good enough at Sophisticated pair just might make up stop and give pause to your own issues with your body. So read her post and pass it along!

Allie

Monday, October 8, 2012

Overwhelmed

Image from Pinterest.com

Yep me. It takes a lot for me to feel this way as if you ask anyone who knows me they will tell you I am always going and doing. The last 2 weeks I am just overwhelmed. I don't know if it is a combination of things or a single thing but I am overwhelmed and it is starting to interfere with my schooling, my  work as a photographer, and being a mom and wife. My energy is down, my drive is down, and my motivation is gone.

I am asking myself why. What is going on in my life? What have I been neglecting? What am I not admitting? Slowly the why is coming to me. So I have decided it is time once again to set up an appointment with a local therapist. After all I can't really counsel myself can I?

So if you see little activity it is not because I am not longer writing I am just taking a break. Sadly this is the one thing I can skip out on without feeling like a failure. Sorry! I will be back to regular writing soon.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Shortcomings....

 Oh yes you know...those things that we don't like to admit that we have....faults. Most of us go through our days totally unaware of our own faults and how they affect our lives and the people in our lives. I am no exception. I am beginning to think that a large point in going through a Masters in Counseling is to become aware, begin to work on, and change that fact...denial of our shortcomings.

So this is going to be a short post as I am pondering.....what my own faults are? How can I change them? Do I want to change them?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Quotes

I admit it I love quotes. I love how most often such smalls words placed together can really say something to me. So today I am going to post some quotes I have seen most recently that have said something to me. 

Expectation is the root of all heartache - Shakespeare

We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have : but rather comes as the result of recognizing and appreciating what we do - Keonig.



I am not telling you it is going to be easy: I am telling you it is going to be worth it--unknown.

And my favorite as of lately that I fully intend to hang on my office as a counselor........

 
All images are from Pinterest.com

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Holding my thoughts

As I responded to an assignment in one of my courses I found myself holding my thoughts instead of putting them down as asked. Holding because the nature of my thoughts most likely would have offended someone within my class. This got me thinking.



Do clients withhold thoughts because of the same thing? Do our clients not feel free to speak their minds for fear of judgment by us or those around them even if we have established (or think we have) a atmosphere of acceptance? Here I was sitting within a course full of those who have proclaimed acceptance (although some more than others) and I couldn't open up and be honest for fear of being offensive or taken out of context.

 Is this the experience for clients? If so as counselors/therapists how can we work to change this or at least make our clients aware that we are aware?

Image from google.com

Should we push clients?

In a class of mine the subject came up this week about allowing clients time for their self admission of history and possible issues. This got me thinking. If we allow our clients to dictate the flow of counseling is this helpful or harmful? Now you might be sitting here thinking of course clients should dictate when and how they admit and discuss but stop for a moment and consider. If clients are allowed to go at their own rate without being "pushed" by the counselor would we really get anywhere? By this I mean if clients are never pushed by the counselor or made to feel a slight discomfort will the counseling process really go anywhere? Will clients see goals met? Grow? Change?

I don't advocate the choke and puke method (thanks Don B for that term over summer intensives) where clients are held in a head lock with you sticking your finger down their throat so they "puke up" their deepest darkest inner workings at every session however I do believe clients need to be pushed. They need to pushed beyond their comfort level a little more each session because this discomfort to me is what creates change and is really getting down to business. If clients want someone to continue to allow them to hold back and stay in their comfort zone they don't need a therapist for that, they need a buddy who will sit and listen and say oh man that sucks without requiring any action on their part on how to change it. Sorry but that will not be me as a counselor nor do I want it to be.

I hope to allow my clients to talk but I also hope to give my clients the skills for action. Actions that will change their lives and I am not sure I can accomplish that without pushing. Of course there needs to be a healthy balance and as counselors we have to know when to push and when to back off and allow the process to just flow that goes without saying I believe. But we have to be willing to PUSH when needed and I think that is harder for counselors to learn to do. 

Is there a place and pace for self admission? Of course there is. We must first work to establish the counseling relationship and trust between client/counselor before we begin to push the client to move out of their comfort zone but in my opinion we must push to see real and long lasting change for the client.

Thoughts?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Control In Therapy

As you may or may not remember I am still semi in the process of deciding my theoretical orientation for counseling. I am 99% sure that I am going to be a Gestalt/Reality therapist with a little solution focused, cognitive and existentialism and Adlerian thrown in my mix as needed when clients deem it appropriate.  I have been reading a book called Life Techniques in Gestalt Therapy. I just started it a few days ago and I came to a section about control in therapy that got me thinking about control in the therapeutic relationship and how it works/doesn't work.

If we stop for a moment and consider the very nature of the relationship between a therapist and their client we will see the "control" although I am not sure I like to call it that. A counselor in essence must be in control and the client must be willing to allow the counselor to be. I do not mean control in the typical sense but a client must believe the counselor knows what they are doing and has to believe that the suggestions and advice given will lead towards the clients self professed goals. So by control this is what I mean.

This might come as a shock but I never looked at it this way until I read this chapter. Never. Not once did I consider the counselor having the need to control the counseling relationship and until I read this chapter I most likely would have said the client should be in control. Now I am not so sure about that. So this chapter has me considering how control will play into the counseling relationships I form with my clients...interesting.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Meditation



Do any of you meditate? For my addictions class we have been asked to meditate and keep an online class journal of our experience. So this week I will begin to meditate and keep a journal, but before I did I thought I would spend some time looking over things about meditation. Typically it is associated with Buddhism, but you do not have to be a Buddhist to enjoy meditation or take practice of it you can meditate no matter what your religion is or is not.

I spent some time yesterday evening and this morning looking around for various information about meditation and I found the same information posted over and over so either all these people are copying from the other or all of these people have experienced similar results from meditating with the main one being : just being. Yes you read that right just being. We are all so consumed with our lives and daily happening that we often neglect to just be. I am guilty of this. From what I read meditation is supposed to help you become okay to just be. I personally am hoping to learn some patience.......

So I have decided that I will practice meditation for 10 minutes daily for 4 weeks, 15 minutes daily for 4 weeks, and 20 minutes daily for 4 weeks and see how it goes. Weirdly enough I believe I am going to use my closet floor as my "spot" because it seems to be the most quiet/darkest place in my house and I want it dark. I am going to focus on my breathing as a means of staying in the now.

So if you meditate what benefits have you found? How often do you do it? How do you do it?

I will update as I go along in my journey :)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fall 2012 Semester Highlights

Even though I would love to be there for the next 15 weeks...I will be here and give you a snapshot of what is to come for me as far as college work is concerned...

 I thought I would post some highlights for my upcoming semester. I will begin posting what is required in my courses again on occasion but remembering to do it weekly seems to be tough for me...

Some highlights of this semester :

I have to attend an open AA class
I have to start and keep a meditation journal
I have to practice doing intakes and treatment plans
I have to design an addiction prevention plan
I have to write an in depth paper dealing with a specific addiction
I have to get involved in some way with a specific cultural group
I have to design an advocacy plan for a specific population/group
I have to become more knowledgeable about policies that affect my profession
I have to complete a wellness project

I am extremely excited about each and every one of those tasks. I am most excited about doing the work required in my addictions course. As I have posted before addictions is the area that I am most drawn to when it comes to work and so I am glad that I can explore more about it throughout this course.

Life Update


I  thought I would give a little life update before I get back into the swing of things :)

Greyson started Kindergarten a few weeks ago and I must say I am not as sad as I thought I would be! Maybe it is because he has been in Mothers day out programs for so long now that I was semi used to him attending something weekly or maybe it was that I realized that I now have 7 hours during the day in which I can clean the house, work with clients/edit photos and do my school work which does guess what.....frees up my evenings!!!!! This I am excited about because the last few years I have done nothing but work or do homework in the evenings. No TV for me, no personal reading, no knitting, not much web browsing etc once the little guy goes to bed before but now I can hopefully enjoy my evenings and do things I want to do.

Husband is still working in Washington State. We don't see him as much as I would like but such is life I guess. Not much can change that at this point so we are making the best of what we have and I am considering other ways of allowing us to get back together sooner. 

Classes started up this morning. 15 weeks 3 courses 9 credits. I will admit that until this morning I was not really looking forward to it as I semi took my counselor/school hat off for the last month (I don't think my husband would agree with this!) and just enjoyed not having things related to school to do. Now it is back on so bring it on! Still looking for a practicum/internship site and I am starting to get worried that I won't be able to find someone to accept me but trying to think positive in that I will get accepted by the person(s) I am supposed to. A little worried that I really have no idea where I will be at come next May location wise so my internship might still be up in air.

So there you have it mini life update.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Back to it






That image above is my reading for the semester. Some of it is textbooks and others are learning about the different theories realted to cousneling. I want to make an informed choice for my base and even though I am 97% sure already that I want to be a Gestalt/reality/systems therapist I still feel the need to read works by others. I have decided to immerse myself in this because I start my practicum in January (which I still have to find a site by the way!) and I want to be ready.

 Tomorrow my semester officially starts. I have a blog list of posts that I hope to accomplish this semester so i will be posting more regularly again :)

Enjoying my last free day.....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wow it has been ages!!

I am so sorry I haven't been much of a poster the last few weeks. Quite honestly I have been enjoying my time off and my time not thinking about school. I have spent the last few weeks taking photographs, making hand made items, picking out new knitting projects, browsing Pinterest, and any thing else that stroked my fancy.My little guy also started kindergarten last week so we have been adjusting to that.

I am still off school until the 27th and I plan to use the little time off I have left to just enjoy life and hopefully sometime in the next few days I will start 50 shades of Gray which has been on my nightstand for almost 2 weeks.

I will start posting regularly again once school starts back up, hopefully some of you will still be around :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Religion as justification

I am sure that you have heard all the hype related to Chick Fil A and Dan Cathy speaking out about his belief in traditional marriage although that was not exactly how it was put in his interview but that is the jist of it. I would like Mr. Cathy to help me understand how religion is what defines marriage? When you get married you have to get a civil license to do so not a religious one do you not? Legally you are not considered married unless and until you have obtained a marriage license from where?? Not a church!

I have read articles from both sides and I have to say I am disgusted with the use of religion as a justification for hate and for those supporting hate. People are using the bible and what it says pertaining to being homosexual as a justification for promoting a company that so clearly is advocating for hate. Chick Fil A has given millions of dollars to hate groups who have went so far as to say that being gay should be punishable by law. Really? So you cover up your hate by using the bible and what God wants by twisting what indeed was taught by Jesus and the bible into what you believe was meant. Jesus taught love and acceptance for even those who have sinned, if you believe being gay is a sin. But please show me where you have never sinned. I have stated this before numerous times...a sin is a sin is a sin the eyes of God. 

Do you cut your hair? Shave your face? Have you been divorced? Have you slept in bed with a menstruating women? Have you ever eaten shrimp? Do you have a tattoo? Do you eat junk food?  All of these according to the bible are sins. There are more. All sins are created equal. Any of the above mentioned sins in my opinion are NO different than the sin of being gay (again if you believe that being gay is a sin). What Mr. Cathy said and the actions that follow his spoken words are a sin. He is advocating hatred towards gay people, he is providing tools for people to spread that hatred. Is this what Jesus taught? The Jesus I have learned about was a loving kind man who taught love and acceptance to ALL people even those who had wronged him.

Help me understand how you get to pick and choose what truth in the bible applies to your life? I tend to be an all or nothing type of person. You either believe the bible as your truth or you don't. It amazes me how the bible is taken so literal in areas that you choose for it to yet in other areas oh well it is okay if you don't follow that part. You get to choose to be against gay people but you don't have to eat your children even though the bible clearly tells you to. So PLEASE stop using the bible and religion as a justification for your ignorance and hate. It does nothing but promote intolerance for your religion and causes more and more people to turn their backs on it.

And just in case you want to know where it tells you to eat your children...see here: Leviticus.



Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Break

I am on summer break from classes until August 20th I believe. I am enjoying my break and enjoying nurturing other passions of mine...photography. I will be posting over the summer but only about 1-2 weekly.

Check back for new updated posts!!!

A

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Photography

I am not sure how much I have posted on here about my personal enjoyments. Photography is one of them. I love taking photos and capturing moments for people. It makes me extremely happy that I can give them a moment in time they would cherish forever. I have been doing this on the side for the last few years and I love it. So today I thought I would share with you some of my favorite shots (pictures) that I have taken so far. Warning this might be picture heavy! And since this is my blog...feel free to check out my Facebook photography page : Allie Louise Photography 




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Enjoying The Ride....

The ride of life that is. I found myself chatting with a friend and fellow student last night about just enjoying the ride that life is taking us on. To often we try to control our lives so much that we forget to stop and think about just being for today. We seem to constantly be thinking about yesterday or tomorrow but never about today. It made me stop and ask myself why? Why do we live in the past or live for the future all the time and neglect today? I hate the sound weird here but I have to say it...today is the only day we know we have, tomorrow is never guaranteed and yesterday is already gone. The only day we can control is today. The only day we can change is today. It all starts with today with this very moment.



Hoping and thinking about tomorrow does not do any good if that thinking interferes with your ability to live in today. Remembering yesterday or many days past does no good if it interferes with your today. All of this is so much easier said than done. We all wish for tomorrow and remember yesterday often times in a way that doesn't allow us to live today. I do it. I am sure you do to. My only question is why? Why do we do it?

My thoughts are we do it because of a few reasons. One is that it is what we know it is almost automatic for us. Two is that we are getting some type of pay off by doing it. What are you getting? And the last thing I came up with is because we want to. Yes that is right, we want to. We are making the choice to allow ourselves to be guided by yesterday and tomorrow. It is a choice. The only thing/person that controls you is you. Don't blame your spouse, your friends, your co-workers, your boss, sister, mother, father, brother, and the list goes on and on. YOU CONTROL YOU. You control your choices, actions and thoughts and you know what....the second you understand that....you will see your life change.

So you know what? I am going to make the choice to try to live for today....and like you it is going to be hard because many years ago I felt like I stopped living for the past but guess what I started living for? The future. So now I have to make an effort to live for today after all it is the only one I know I have.

Source 1, 2 Please know that I google for images to use on my blog and I often times do not look at the source. So be aware when you click those links...lol

Friday, July 6, 2012

Busy again...

I have been busy again!! I have had company here for the last 4 days and I had a big get together on the 4th of July and had about 20+ people out at my house for smoked boston butt, baked beans, chips and birthday cake! Greyson turned 5 years old today so we celebrated with our family on the 4th and then headed out to my brothers to set off some fireworks and it turned into a very late evening for us all!

I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th of July and I will be posting a lengthy post over the weekend :)

Source 1,

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It is time for weight loss

 Image from pinterest.com

 A few years ago I was extremely overweight and unhappy and I finally decided to do something about it. So I joined the gym and starting going 5-6 days a week at night (because they didn't have childcare!) and I started counting calories (I ate about 1800 daily). Fast forward 4 months later and I was down 38lbs. I was still working out 5 days a week and I was still counting calories yet the scale was NOT moving. My weight stayed the same for a month which turned into 6 weeks which turned into me not giving a crap. Now I can see it for what it was...a weight loss plateau but then I was pissed off and discouraged that I wasn't losing weight that I began to eat more crap and not go to the gym as I was.

Fast forward 3 years and 35lbs and here I sit starting all over. I am unhappy with my body and the fact that I gained back all the weight that I literally worked my ass off to lose the first time around. Slowly the last few weeks I have gotten my head lined up with my heart in that I am ready once again to start my weight loss journey. I joined the gym (that has childcare yay!) and today I ran. I didn't run the whole time but I ran and you know what it felt really really good!!!
Oh yes that is a craptastic gym picture..but hey it's a picture! So tomorrow I plan to repeat today and repeat that day the day after until I have lost 35lbs. Expect to see a few more posts related to weight loss on my blog in the coming months ;)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

To my husband...........




I love you. I am so grateful that I found you and that you choose me to be your wife. At times I have most likely acted as I didn't care and at times I have been hateful, ungrateful, nasty, and sometimes just down right mean yet you have continued to love me in ways that I can't begin to understand and I only hope that one day I can show you the love that you have shown me over the last 10+ years and show you how much I really do appreciate you and everything that you do for our family.

I wanted to say more but I think that is the best and most that I can say right now. I hope you know that I will continue to love you always.

Image from Google.com search. 


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

People can change but you can't make them do it


 As much as the majority of us would love to believe that we are capable to making or pushing a person to change it simply is not the case. I have sat and listened to countless stories told by people often times verbalizing the same past mistake they had shared just a short while before. Humans are creatures of habit and habit dictates that we follow the same pattern or behavior repeatedly often times until we have slapped our faces against the brick wall 27 times before the message that it ain't working finally kicks in.  Being creatures of habit means that most of the time we are on auto pilot and we partake in behaviors that we don't really stop to think about.
How many times do you need to slap your face against this before you realize it ain't working for you?

Can people change? Of course they can! If I didn't believe that I wouldn't be going into a profession that rest almost entirely upon the human ability to adapt and change. But guess what.....YOU can't make them nor can I.  People create change most often because the crap that has been going on in their lives has finally reached a point that they can no longer accept the outcome so they begin working for something better. The problem with change is this.....

NO ONE wants to admit they are/were/continue to be WRONG/MAKE MISTAKES.

There is something about saying and then starting to believe that you have been wrong/made mistakes that makes you dig in your heels. Change is hard freaking work people and it doesn't happen overnight. It can take days/months/years of continuous effort to change something and even then something else comes up. I personally believe that the majority of us are in a constant state of changing and growing and if we understood this better making the big changes that can change our lives would be so much easier! Sadly we don't give ourselves credit for the daily changes we tolerate but instead focus on the bigger things within our lives that need changing yet are so HARD to complete.

As I sit here typing this post I wonder what would happen if we stopped digging in our heels and just embraced change? Is that possible? What do you think would happen if you just allowed change to happen? What would happen if you stopped fighting so hard for something that probably isn't right for you to begin with? Something that is holding you back from being your true self.....what would happen???

All pictures are from a google.com search

Monday, June 25, 2012

Gestalt Theory

"Change occurs when one becomes what one is, not when one tries to become what one is not."  ~ Arnold R. Beisser

 Remember a while back when I posted about my theoretical orientation? Well ignore every single thing that I wrote (well most of it). You see in theory (without actually practicing) the theories that I listed seemed to "fit me" however upon receiving feedback about my style and actually seeing a style in action I have come to understand that the best fit for me, my personality, views and goals for my future clients that I should use Gestalt and Reality theories as my base.

 I spent a week learning and growing from an instructor who used these theories from a systems perspective and I have to say it was natural and exactly WHAT I NEEDED. I didn't have to think about what I was doing and if I was using this or that technique correctly I was able to FEEL that I was. Trust me when I say that you want a counselor to FEEL and not think as when you are feeling you are 100% present with the client. Thinking leads to not empathizing and not fully connecting with a client at least for me it does. 

Gestalt therapy wants to bring awareness to the client and have them focus on the here and now and how to interact at the same time maintaining their personal awareness and staying in the here and now. Working from this perspective means that as counselors we try to get our client to experience today and not live for tomorrow or wish for yesterday. Today is what matters most and today you will become okay to be who you truly are and not who you think someone else wants you to be or who you have been lying to yourself to be. Your goal is to become your authentic self by removing all the bullshit. What is not to love about that??? 

 

Personal Growth


 I spent 8 days at Adams State last week, 8 long exhausting growth filled days. Going into my intensive week I wasn't sure what to expect but coming out the other side I am amazed of all that everyone accomplished in 8 days. I started that week one person and left it someone else.....for the better and I hope in the coming months I will continue to make positive changes.

As counselors we have to continue our personal growth and we have to continue working through our crap. We all have some crap and if you are sitting there shaking your head...well your either in denial or more messed up than the majority ;). The differences lie in the levels of crap we all have. Some people suffer from deciding between where to attend college and some of us suffer from hiding our true selves from the rest of the world. In some aspects the problem and issues it creates is a very personal thing and one is not worse than the other. They are all problems for the person and it is all about perspective.

I honestly want to say thank you to all the wonderful soon to be counselors that I came into contact this week and a big shout out to the members who were in my group and pre-prac classes who allowed me to work on my own issues. Issues that I have been struggling with for years yet pretended I was okay with. In the coming weeks I will be opening up some more about my own personal issues and what I intend to do about them but for now just know that I am not immune and I have work to do!

Oh and I am finally fully admitted into my program!!!!!!!! 


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Counselors Are Humans First

The last few days have been extremely intense and when I say intense I say it meaning emotionally. I came to my intensive not really knowing what to expect and a bit apprehensive about the process. Today I realize just why they are called intensives. THEY ARE INTENSIVE. As up and coming counselors I think it is hard to realize just how much crap you still have that you need to deal with. I for example have learned so much about myself in the last 2 days and I am still growing and will continue to do so as long as I am breathing. Everyday is a new days for growth and better choices. Today I am not sure I made the best choice.

I witnessed something this evening that as I am sitting here reflecting after the fact, I am not sure was a very counselor thing to do. Within our classmates there are a variety of people from all walks of life some with faith backgrounds some without. I would say I place myself somewhere in the middle. Tonight I saw a girl who very openly almost intrusively offensively so places her self in the religious category take at least 2 hours of people confronting her about her religious beliefs with the intent to prove just how wrong they are. These people who are counselors are in training in all honestly were not acting as a counselor should. I saw no empathy, no compassion and no unconditional positive regard.

As I sit here and reflect back to what I witnessed this evening it drives home the title of this post. Counselors are humans first. We make mistakes. We do things that we should not. We treat people in ways we should not. We hurt people in ways we should not. We watch things happen we should not. We say things we should not. We behave in manners that are not consistent with our profession. We are not perfect. WE ARE HUMANS.WE MAKE MISTAKES. Mistakes are a very human thing to do and counselors are after all human first.

Tomorrow is another day. A day that I will begin to make a fresh start and a day I will reflect and work on the things of today. Today has been a challenge and quite honestly I am so emotionally drained right now that I can't write anymore.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Intensives

Let me say that I am sorry for my lack of postings! I haven't been inspired to write or didn't feel I had anything meaningful to share.

However I started my intensive (week long on campus visit) today and my first reaction is WOW. My afternoon course was truly inspiring, eye opening, and a source of learning. It was also validation for me. You see if you knew me in real life, if you were one of my friends you would know that I am a tough cookie. I am controlling, out spoken, I don't sensor my mouth and often times I can be abrasive however under neath all that is a truly loving caring empathic person but you have to get through all of the above before you get this.

So I walk into my afternoon class not fully knowing what to expect as what we can expect is kept hush hush by any student before me and I am going to honor being asked not to share specifics however I felt validated today and here is why. My instructor. He is so much like me and my personality and it was refreshing to see that I can be me..without feeling the need to be or become someone else and still be a damn good counselor. Holy crap. I went into counseling believing that I was going to have to learn to be more gentle, kind, censored, etc and today I learned I don't have to at least to the degree I was believing I would. For me this is liberating as I have wondered how I was going to be authentic and genuine with clients if I felt I had to be something that didn't come natural to me. Today I learned I don't and I can't explain how freeing that is.

Tomorrow we have the same courses we did today and I am honestly looking forward to them and I can't wait to see how I grow in the next week. I promise to post more starting next week as I will have new material and thoughts from this week I am sure!!!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Internship and Intensives



Stressful.....yes one word stressful.

I have started the process of looking for an internship even though I do not start interning until January. I am hoping to have my site by the end of October. I sent in a ton of information and a crappy resume on Thursday to my hopeful job/intern site and will be on pins and needles until I get a response if I even get one. Who knew that looking for an internship would be like looking for a job. I didn't expect it to be such a process....apparently it is. I mean who wouldn't want to mold someone while having them work for free?????


Next week on Friday I will leave to head to Colorado for my one week intensive that is required as part of my program. I have to say that I am a bit nervous as I have no clue what to expect. I know I will be doing my candidacy interview and will spend all week from 8-4 in classes and we get to practice counseling with other students but other than that it is like getting into Fort Knox when it comes to getting info as the other students are not allowed to talk about it.On top of not knowing...I will be taking the MAT.......

 Enough said....

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Love

I am repeating this phrase as much as it takes to make me believe....

Nothing in life worth having comes easy.



Monday, June 4, 2012

Weight

Such a touchy topic and especially when you're a woman. I haven't met a woman alive yet even the ones who are as thin as a stick who want to talk about weight. I am no exception. I have struggled with my weight for over 10 years and only once (and for maybe 6-8 months at that) in those 10 years have I been somewhat comfortable and happy with my body. See example below of a "happy" time for me...

I weighed about 172-175lbs in this picture....and I thought I was so "fat" of course now I would KILL to be this weight/body shape again. To get that body I worked out 4-6x weekly and I ate about 1800 calories a day. I have since gained back about 35lbs from my lowest weight which was about 162lbs. This is the most recent picture of me that I am willing to show you and trust me when I say I am heavier than this picture would lead you to believe.


So if you are asking the reason for this post?? The reason is to admit that I am unhappy with my weight/body shape and I have decided once again to do something about it. Believe it or not this does go along with counseling....as I have to be happy with myself don't I? Bless my husband who says he loves me no matter what and quite honestly the man has got to as I have been many different weights over the last 10 years but what really counts is my own self image doesn't it?

So I am joining the local gym and I intend to take myself there at least 4-5x weekly and hopefully in a few months I will be running...I <3 to run and I am going to watch what I put into my mouth just as I have before only this time instead of focusing on the number on the scale I am going to try really really really hard to focus only on my clothing and the way I feel/look when I look into the mirror.

Hopefully this blog and posting this will keep me accountable! I am shooting for losing between 25-30lbs which will put me close to that picture up there. So add this to another thing you will be following along with... i will post updates from time to time and I believe this falls under self-care which is ever so important for those of us in the helping profession :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Hodge Podge of Theories

Our discussion in our crisis intervention course this week asked us to identify a theory we felt we most aligned with (Adlerian was not a choice!) and thought might be useful in crisis counseling. Many students chose one or two theories but a few didn't want to choose and this got me thinking . One student went so far to say that she thought selecting only one theory was unethical because it was a disservice to your clients....so I thought about this for a bit. Is it? Or is having a  hodge podge of theories running around in your head in which you haven't truly mastered being unethical? Unethical in the sense that you are not providing the best service you can for your client. So let's look at both sides (very briefly) shall we?


For those who only practice using one theory be Adlerian, Psychoanalytic, Humanistic, CBT or a number of others feel mastery of said theory gives them a hand up. Many also believe that using one means they learn all their is to know about said theory and this is what is best for their clients. You also have counselors/therapists out there who believe so wholeheartedly in a theory and believe all others are wrong or do no fit with their own worldview. 

On the other side of the coin you have eclectic counselors/therapists who know a little about a lot of theories but yet truly haven't mastered one. These counselors believe knowing at least something about all of the major theories gives them a hand up because they feel they can help anyone by tailoring their method of treatment to the client. This all sounds good in theory but reality might be a different story in my opinion.

So where am I at? Glad you want to know :) I am in the middle of course. I don't believe only knowing one theory is best for my future clients, it is to narrow minded and limiting for me personally. However I also don't believe you can truly know/master the significant number of counseling theories that are out there. For me personally I plan to pick 3-4 theories and focus on learning any and everything I can about them so that I have at least 4 in my tool bag for use with a variety of clients. The sheer amount of information about each theory makes it impossible I believe for a new counselor to master them all...so for me pick a few now and maybe add a few later and roll with it while being ready to refer to another counselor that might know a theory I don't.

We can't help all clients....let me say that again...we can't help all clients. We are humans and our ability to really know/learn counseling theories both by learning and practice takes time. There is no need to believe you need to know all theories right out of the gate. Not possible nor will it  be serving your clients best in my opinion.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Close minded And Small Towns

Lately after moving back to my hometown I have realized how narrow/closed minded this town is and how much I am not. I like to think that I am open minded and up for most change (as long as I plan it!!!) and this town seems to be stuck. It has grown the last 10 years yet only when it comes to buildings as their way of thinking hasn't changed.Their still seems to be issues with many areas that I don't give much thought to namely race and being gay. Both of which are not really accepted.

Naturally it has got me thinking.....about my views of the world, the people in it and counseling of course. To be an effective counselor don't you think you have to be open minded and okay with pretty much everything? Our job is to hear and help people work through many issues and I wonder how living in this town will affect my ability and I wonder how it will hold some back from being totally honest in a counseling relationship for fear of what will come. This town is small.....one on of those places where a lot of people know a lot of people and I question if the closed minded town affords the opportunity for many to seek the help they need?

What are you thoughts? Does living in a small town hinder those who seek help? Does living in a town where lifestyles, race, and a variety of other things seem to be unacceptable affect those who seek help? I am still pondering......

Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Choices.....


This post is going to be a bit personal (sorry husband!)

Choices….you know deciding on what/how/when/why you are going to do something. We all make choices everyday many of them mostly by reflex or habit and mostly without giving them much thought. Then we make choices and decisions of things that we have mulled over for days, months, sometimes years. Often choices or lack thereof are what brings people to counselors for help. Counselors see people everyday who have made choices/not made choices and are suffering the consequences of those choices. Us therapists are no exception….we make choices and suffer the consequences just as I am doing now.

I made the decision to separate our family by 2400 miles, my husband stayed in Washington for work reasons and Greyson and I have moved to Kentucky to be closer to my family. I made these choices for a variety of reasons mainly not wanting to move (for a bit at least), giving Greyson a more stable environment, for my counseling program/internships, and because I thought I would be happier. Well guess what….I am happier but also sadder.

I am happier because I feel that I am going to accomplish all the reasons above, happier because I am closer to family and seeing Greyson interact with them is great. He has been soaking up all the attention and really enjoying playing with them. There are quite a few of them to play with and since we have been here he hasn’t gone to bed on time once (hoping to change that tomorrow)! The newness of us arriving back in town after me being gone for almost 11 years has yet to wear off and I seem to have a constant flux of company showing up all throughout the day. Don’t get me wrong I am enjoying the company but as I sit here alone this evening I realize I have been putting my relationship with my husband on the back burner the last few days.

This brings me to sadder…..I am sadder because I miss my husband terribly. We have spent the equivalent of 12-13 days total apart for almost 11 years now (before my move) and I feel somewhat lost without him. It also reminds me of how easily we take each other for granted and forget that tomorrow is never promised. It also reminds me of all the things my husband does as each day I am faced with something new that I have to do because it was a job my husband does and I must say it stinks because each task reminds me he is in Washington.

This brings me back to choices….the ones you make that you kind of sort of almost wish you could change and choose differently. I am presently teetering on the edge…half thinking I made the right choice half wishing I could change it and I wonder how many clients in the future I will see that are right where I am right now? It also reminds me that I really need to find a therapist………I need to talk this out just as I suppose my clients will need to do with me. Only time will tell how my choices are going to play out and I suspect if you’re curious you will keep reading my blog J

Monday, May 14, 2012

Traveling with a 4.5 year old

Thought I would give everyone a quick traveling update. We headed out on Saturday morning for our 2440 miles journey to our new home in Kentucky. As of today we have traveled 1687 of those miles with about 750 left to drive. Tomorrow we are making a pit stop and spending the evening with some of our old friends in Missouri and then Wednesday will be the final day of our trip and we will land in Kentucky.

Once again Greyson has proved to be a roadie. He is able to travel 3.5-4 hours without stopping and so we can go 500 miles or more with 1-2 stops hence we are making great time with our traveling. We have the standard traveling items to keep him entertained, a DVD player, Nintendo DS, a few games, crayons, books, toys etc and so far they are doing their job. I have been listening to a book on tape for entertainment when Greyson isn't wanting to play I spy or how much do you love me.

Tomorrow we have a shorter trip since we are about 5 hours from our destination and I have to say I am looking forward to it.....I am tired of driving honestly. So that is our update and once I get to Kentucky within a few days I will start back up posting on the blog :) New semester starts May 21st.

Until then......

Sunday, May 6, 2012

My Courses are OVER!!!!!!

I am giddy with excitement! My first semester in my Masters in counseling program is done...well almost. The official end date is May 11th but I just turned in my final paper for my theories course. I have received my grades for both my ethics course and my lifespan course...a 99.6 and a 96.5 and I assume I will also have an A in my theories course :)

We are in the process of moving and I most likely will not be posting much in the next 2 weeks as I will be in the process of traveling and getting settled. So for those of you who read my blog please check back in 2 weeks for some new and exciting posts!

I am going to enjoy my mini break from classes, my husband, and my remaining few days in Washington State.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Are we products of our environment?


I love Facebook for nothing else than it jogs ideas in my head that relate to counseling.....there is so much crap on Facebook that a counselor can have a field day with and would never become bored.... With that said I recently saw a question that asked how much can we blame the environment in which we were raised on our current behaviors?

My belief about people is that all factors come together to create the person today this includes the persons upbringing, past/current relationships, past/current experiences, employment, friendships etc. To understand a person we have to understand the person as a in whole in their environment and I don't believe you can truly understand a person without considering all of the above and how they have interacted and mingled together to form that person's perception of their world. It is not enough to just know that person's experiences instead you have to know how that person views those experiences as that view will be different for two people who grow up in the same house for example. There are far to many environmental influences on personality and development to list in this blog however a few of the most common that affect a large majority are parental influence, social status, and religion.

So can we blame our past for our current behaviors? Our past obviously contributes to our futures but I do believe that people have the ability to make choices within their lives and so the control of their life lies within them, often times however we fail to understand that by allowing our past to control our future we are in essence choosing. So while our past contributes it doesn't define our future and will only do so if we make the choice to allow it to.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the situations of our lives that we fail to understand we have choices. Do you keep having the same fight with your in laws? The same argument with your spouse? Do you feel like you're held back because of the way you grew up? Have you been holding a grudge for the last 15 years and refusing to change only and until you go back to the age of 12 for example and your mother/father apologizes for their wrong doings? In all of these situations you are choosing that behavior. Often we place ourselves in the role of  victims of our environment when the reality is we choose to be victims (I am not talking about violence such as rape etc). We choose because we are contributing in some way most often by allowing.

Now I am not saying that making choices is easy...quite the opposite....choices are hard which is why so many (myself included!) have such a difficult time making the right choices. But once you can begin to understand that you do indeed have a choice you will feel empowered. You can't continue to blame your past for your current behavior unless your willing to give the choice of how you live your life over to someone else, if your okay with someone else controlling your life then by all means continue, if you want to change I recommend you find a great counselor to help you do so and if your put off by counselors there are some great self help options out there and I would be happy to help you find some :)


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