A love letter from your colleagues

Jan 1, 2014 by

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe all have moments when we feel discouraged.

When we could really use some hopeful, kind words.

The road from application to a graduate program in mental health, through internship, and to the other side of full licensure is a long one.

And after that, the journey continues still.

So, in last month’s newsletter, I did a bit of an experiment.

(You can sign up for my newsletter in the column over there if you haven’t already –>.)

I asked all my readers to chime in with words of encouragement, advice, and booboos to help their colleagues along on the journey.

So this month’s post is a pit stop.  It’s a place to refuel.

It’s time to offer yourself some well-deserved praise and recognition.

To receive the counsel and kindness of your fellow classmates and colleagues.

Love from your colleagues and coworkers

Let me start by saying that several of you responded to my inquiry—thank you!

I’ve never asked y’all to really chime in with your thoughts and feedback so earnestly before, and I really appreciated the responses!

So, as promised, here are the little bits of love, support, and encouragement from your peers.  Enjoy.


Heart“Take your journey one day at a time.”

“Have faith that things will get better—even if you’re not quite sure when or how that will happen just yet.”

“My patients teach me everyday.  I’ll never stop learning.”

“You and I met once for a consultation session almost 2 years ago. I have now finished my internship and am an LPC—woohoo!  As a newly (one month so far) fully-licensed therapist, it was worth it. I feel so empowered and free.  It was great walking to HR to change my badge from LPC-Intern to LPC. “

“Make no mistake, getting through graduate school and internship is a big job.  Really appreciate the magnitude of what you’re doing.  It’s a big deal.  It’s a VERY big deal.”



Practical Tips on Getting Ahead

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Pursue any special interests in the field you may have…your specialties set you apart in a sea of therapists!”

“Use Linked-In for networking. Make sure when you’re an LPC-Intern to write who is supervising you on Linked-In. The Board will look you up on Linked-In and will know if you are following their rules by what you post online especially.”

“Surround yourself with other good therapists – consult, vent, collaborate, bond.  Being a therapist can be isolating, but it doesn’t have to be.”

“The Board meets every two months. If they are meeting in your area, I encourage you to go. It is not the most exciting way to spend a few hours, but it’s eye-opening and gives insight into how the Board operates.”

“Depending on where you live, you can get a decent-paying job to complete your internship hours. The Dallas-area especially pays a living wage (I made $20 an hour plus great benefits.)”


burn out“Practice what you preach.  Good self-care and good boundaries can make or break these potentially stressful years of licensing and beyond.

“You’ve heard it before and I bet you tell your clients/patients: seek and use your support system during this internship phase. It can be tough, full of ups and downs. It’s okay to cry, laugh, scream.”

“Seek your own therapy. Your supervisor will probably only talk so much about your counter-transference issues to maintain your professional relationship.”

“Know your limits, learn to say no, take breaks, consult, see your own therapist!”

“Self-care is critical.  The old adage ‘you can’t take care of others until you care for yourself’ is absolutely true!”

Booboos & Lessons Learned

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Send everything to the Board Certified Mail! Call the Board anytime you are unsure about something. Their number is 512- 834-6658. Otherwise you might get to attend an Applications Committee Board Meeting because something was lost in translation.”

“Don’t settle for mediocre supervision.”

“A mentor of mine suggested I take a break….I didn’t follow her advice and ended up crashing and burning just last week.  However, I know now to see that failure as a faith builder for the future.  I guess the bottom line is ‘Don’t Waste The Pain!!!’”

“Choose your supervisor carefully- the extra money might be worth it. Some people I know have found that free supervision on site is lacking and/or uncomfortable. This person is your mentor, confronter at times, encourager, and ultimately needs to support you, be knowledgeable about therapy, the Board’s rules and paperwork requirements, and have your back. You are only allowed 2 supervisors throughout your internship. Choose wisely.”

One more piece of advice…

Whether you’re swamped by syllabi or building a practice, you no doubt have a lengthy to-do list.

So, it’s easy for us to remain focused on the things we still need to do.

But I recommend a new practice to help you step into 2014 with feelings of accomplishment and gratitude warming your back.

Complete an “I did” list.

This is the antithesis to a to-do list.

It’s a look backwards at the things you’ve already accomplished, rather than focusing on what you want to work on next.

And it doesn’t necessarily have to focus exclusively on professional endeavors.

It’s a broad picture look at your life and your time and your priorities.

The “I did” list is a key aspect of the reviews/check-ins I do with my intern every 6 months or so.

And generally it’s an exercise that brings up some warm fuzzies, because we usually don’t give ourselves enough credit for our accomplishments.

If you notice feelings of criticism coming up as you complete the list, notice that you are being critical.  Do your best to complete the list from a space of curiousity rather than evaluation or judgment.  And sort through your feelings with your supervisor or a supportive colleague or friend.  Chances are good that those feelings are bringing you down and, ironically, making it harder to be productive!

So as you begin preparations for the new year, include an “I did” list in there.  It takes 20-30 minutes, tops.  I’m willing to bet you’ll be glad you did.

With hope and vision for your endeavors in 2014—


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