Back in the Thick of Things

Hi Everyone! I couldn’t believe when I opened my email and saw that my last blog post was TWO YEARS ago. In that time I have graduated my Master’s program, had my daughter, took a year off to be with her and began working at a new agency where I am officially an outpatient therapist (goodbye “intern” title!)

I had no idea how huge the change would be from intern to THERAPIST; foolishly I thought, “Hey, I was working full time hours between my job and internship, how much different could it be?” VERY different. For one, let’s talk caseload. I remember as an intern thinking I had a decent caseload with all TEN of my individual clients and a couple of groups.  Now, with a caseload over 6 times that amount and a number of groups, I look back on my intern self and can’t help but laugh.

However, something that I was surprised about was the change (or should I say lack of change) that I felt in myself.  During the first few months, I thought I had to bring every question to my supervisor as I was so accustomed to doing so as an intern. I remember going to my supervisor to discuss terminating a client and them saying to me, “Of course you may, you don’t need my permission”.

RIGHT. I’m a professional now.

This got me thinking.  Why didn’t I believe in my own abilities yet? I had the same educational background as my peers. I had a couple years in the field through internship and work, yet here I was, ACTING like a professional, but feeling like I was just playing make believe. It’s taken a few months of working to finally begin to feel like I am not posing as a therapist, rather that I am one that is practicing.

There’s always more to learn, but it’s important for us to be confident in ourselves with what we do know and to be OK with asking about all of those things that we don’t know quite yet.

 

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3 thoughts on “Back in the Thick of Things

  1. Yes! I felt the same thing but now a year later I feel very confident in my abilities.

  2. I am currently an intern working with a women’s substance abuse group. Do you have any idea for group topics, discussion, games? I find that sometimes this is the hardest part of group work. I never know what to do!

    • Hi Monica, I apologize for the delayed response. I would say the biggest issues I have with this population (specifically with women in substance abuse) is the issue of how long it takes to establish trust as a group. As you have probably seen, there is a high incidence of trauma with women in substance abuse and that needs to be taken into thought when thinking of group activities. With that being said, I would encourage you to not use any games or activities that encourage touching of any kind of that force a participant to close their eyes (allowing their gaze to fall to a spot on the floor is a good alternative). Two truths and a lie is a good game to play to help start establishing trust within a group and participants can make it as light as they’d like. Also, this game can lead it’s way into a discussion on the importance of honesty and how easy it is to lie, etc. Our clients are often better than we are at identifying the lies so that leads to a rich conversation as well. Otherwise, when the group is a little more stable, a group topic about trauma in general (NO specifics or examples from the clients as you do not want it to become unsafe). However, a psychoed group about trauma is helpful because many may not realize how many of their symptoms are trauma based, and then they can be encouraged to follow up with their primary therapist on their own.

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