Chronicles of a New Therapist: Graduation & Working as a Therapist!
The time has finally come where I can write about the fact that I have finally completed my graduate school degree in Counselling Psychology and boy-oh-boy does it feel good! When I started as a graduate student in September 2017, it was daunting to look ahead at all the time I still had left in school. But, it's truly amazing how fast time passes us by. I'm proud of my accomplishments and how far I have come, both professionally, emotionally, and personally.
Now that I have completed my schooling, the question I get asked the most is, "so, what are your plans now that you're done school?" Well...before finishing school, I managed to secure a great job at a hospital where I work full-time as a psychometrist (aka: I perform psychological assessments, write fancy reports, and have the privilege of helping more people every day). I work with some amazing colleagues including consultants, behaviour analysts, psychologists, and fellow psychometrists. Some of which have become really great friends. I love what I do at the hospital and I enjoy getting to interact and gain more knowledge from those before me. Most importantly, I am privileged to be able to attend amazing opportunities, including training, conferences, and meetings tailored to expanding my knowledge on mental health and improving my practice. This can help me to better assist my clients in their presenting needs, while also giving them the tools that can help them flourish.
In addition to working full-time as a psychometrist, I also continue to work part-time as a pre-licensed therapist. I love being able to continue seeing clients and helping them navigate the crazy world we live. It's safe to say, it's never a dull moment! I have also placed my application with the College of Registered Psychotherapists (CRPO), where I can expand my credentials as a Registered Psychotherapist (RP). Until I complete the required hours for full college certification, I will be practicing as an RP-Qualifying. I'm very excited to expand my practice in the next few months by obtaining a private office space that better reflects my passion for mental health, while offering clients a warm and inviting environment in which they can truly let their hair down and get those nagging thoughts off their minds. There is nothing better than cozying up on the couch with a cup of tea (or ice tea since its summer weather...finally) and just having some time to decompress about an event or issue currently existing in your life. I'm very excited for this new venture and the opportunities that could arise to expand my reach to more individuals. Although navigating the first few months as a full-fledged therapist is scary and super confusing (to say the least), it's rewarding to "be your own boss" sometimes! I've loved meeting new clients who are passionate about improving their state of mind and lifestyle, and continuing to help the clients who have stayed with me since the beginning. We have worked as a team to conquer their struggles, understand change, and see life through a different head space. It's easy to get stuck in our ways, not willing to move. But when we are able to see a new perspective and embrace the changes that come, life can seem so much brighter, lighter, and less of a weight to carry. I have grown so much as I have helped my clients grow, and with this growth, I view myself as a stronger and happier person...even on the tough days.
I think it's fair to say that although all this growth is happening, I'm still learning...we all are. Some days/weeks can be really rough. Working two highly demanding and emotionally draining careers can be tough and there are times when you just need to have a good cry on your long drives into the office. But I've learned that it's okay to let go of those emotions and fuel them in different ways. Going to the gym and taking some time off to spend with myself has really helped on those rough days/weeks. You need this time to decompress and let go of the problems you have taken on as your own. You need to learn your limits and know when your body has hit its max. You also need to be aware of your own health and ensure that it doesn't get lost in the needs of others. Being mindful and continuing this awareness is always a work in progress.
My graduation date is set for June 21, 2019 and although I won't be attending, I am hoping to celebrate the day by practicing some self-care, enjoying some down time (much needed), and reflecting on my journey thus far. I always ask clients to reflect on their journeys and thank themselves for the time and dedication they have put forth to accomplish a goal. Although we can often be our own critics, its even more important to be our own cheerleaders too. For all of those who have helped and supported me along the way, thank you! As much as it takes a village to raise a child, it can take a whole country to finish a degree! As another chapter closes, I am looking forward to a new beginning. So here's to adding another degree to the wall and some extra titles at the end of my name...maybe we'll go back for a third one down the road if I'm feeling adventurous and up for yet another challenge haha!