I am a student in a master’s level Counseling Psychology program, studying to – well, to get better at a lot of things, and hopefully as a result of getting better at those things and getting a degree to demonstrate that I’ve done so, to work toward getting certified as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.
I’ve already done a fair bit of work in the field of mental health, in some good jobs and a lot of not-so-good ones. I need to do more work, with supervision, before I can be certified, which I happen to think is a damned good thing, although I suppose that depends on the quality and nature of the supervision. I choose to be optimistic about that.
I’ve also been in therapy a fair bit for my own issues. That’s pretty standard for the field; it’s hard to really care passionately about mental health care if you’ve never had a personal reason to. I need to do more of that, too.
The two things are inextricably intertwined, so although I started this blog primarily to be about my experiences as a student, and in becoming a professional counselor, part of that becoming process is inevitably going to involve some of my own more personal struggles. It’s not that the lines aren’t clear, it’s that the lines are extremely complex.
Some of what I have to do is lose things: beliefs, attitudes, preconceptions, patterns, blind spots, and assumptions. I need to learn how to loosen my hold on some things that have been part of my identity for a long time. That’s why this blog is called what it is, after the Elizabeth Bishop poem I put up in my first post. A good deal of learning to be a counselor seems to involve mastering the art of losing.
My specific areas of interest:
I primarily work with kids – children and adolescents. I like working with them. I tend to enjoy the company of kids, even the ones with a lot going on. I don’t ‘love children’. I’m generally deeply suspicious of anyone who proclaims that they love children; I suspect they actually don’t know any. But I do respect kids and enjoy working with them.
My biggest areas of interest are trauma, specifically abuse and the long-term cumulative effects of living in a threatening or otherwise hostile environment, and thought disorders, including but not limited to psychosis. Those two things are pretty different as areas of special interest go, and one of the things that distinguishes them is that there’s a lot of work being done already on trauma, and very little on thought disorders in children, especially anything besides schizophrenia. But I’m interested in working with kids and the people who help take care of them around both issues, so we’ll see where that goes. If nothing else, I can focus more on trauma while I’m a student, and seek out more training on thought disorders afterward.
Please feel free to comment in the blog. Please also feel free to contact me directly with the form below, if you don’t want to make a public comment. Please be aware that I am not a therapist yet, let alone an experienced one: if you or someone you know needs help, I am not yet the person you need. Please contact therapists you can locate online, or if it’s a crisis, use emergency medical services, not me. The form below is for people who want to connect about the things this blog is about: being a student, learning this work/life.