Life after Yorkville's MACP Program: 1-Year Post-Graduation
I hope you are enjoying your Summer so far, despite the current state of the pandemic that is continuing to face our world. It is quite an...interesting...time for all of us, to say the least. As a practicing therapist, my practice has gone through A LOT of transitions during this pandemic, and I'm sure this has been the case for many practicing therapists out there, as well as individuals hoping to become therapists. Over the course of this pandemic, mental health has surprisingly been at the forefront of social conversations, and this has been very exciting for me to be a part of. My goal from day 1 has been to be an advocate for mental health care and quality access to support. I had begun my practice on the basis of making therapy feel easy, comfortable, and accessible to the Millennials and couples who come my way. In part, I am doing my best to help reduce the stigma's commonly associated with accessing care. So naturally, being a therapist during this time has been bittersweet (bitter=it's a not so great time in the world; sweet=more people are accessing therapy and asking for help!)
If you're reading this, you may find yourself fitting into 1 of 3 categories: 1) you are a current therapist searching the web and networking, 2) you are a student or therapist-in-training looking to get information and the inside scoop into life after graduating from Yorkville's MACP program, or 3) you just stumbled across my blog and were interested enough to click and read! Either way...THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE! I receive dozens of emails and private messages per month from perspective students, current students, and therapists-in-training, asking me to chat about my experience post-graduation and the career opportunities that result from pursuing an online degree. Let me share a little bit about my life 1-YEAR AFTER GRAD SCHOOL!
If you're reading this, you may find yourself fitting into 1 of 3 categories: 1) you are a current therapist searching the web and networking, 2) you are a student or therapist-in-training looking to get information and the inside scoop into life after graduating from Yorkville's MACP program, or 3) you just stumbled across my blog and were interested enough to click and read! Either way...THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE! I receive dozens of emails and private messages per month from prospective students, current students, and therapists-in-training, asking me to chat about my experience post-graduation and the career opportunities that result from pursuing an online degree. Let me share a little bit about my life 1-YEAR AFTER GRAD SCHOOL!
One month before graduating from the MACP program at Yorkville, I started working at a hospital 45-minutes away from where I lived, working as a Psychometrist (aka performing psychological assessments). The commute daily was long, but the opportunity to work in my field of study was amazing and I really loved the people I came to work with. I learned so much about psychological assessment, brain function, developmental and intellectual disabilities, and networking with other amazing professionals in the field of Psychology. After 11 months of working at the hospital, I received another great opportunity to work at a hospital in town, that specialized in the field of mental health. This hospital setting, although closer to home and not at all the same driving commitment as previously, was a very different world. Mental health care is so diverse and working in an organizational setting gave me the unique opportunity to give me options...do I want to work with an organization forever and make that my path or do I want to risk financial security/benefits/an hourly wage to pursue my passion for counselling and psychotherapy work with my clients. It's safe to say that my Yorkville degree did not limit my opportunities for jobs in my community in the least!
All while working at both of these hospitals, I opened my private practice in July 2019 and began seeing clients on a part-time basis on evenings and weekends. My time was quite juggled and limited, leaving me feeling burnt out and fatigued through the busy times. One thing graduate school doesn't teach you is the value of YOUR PERSONAL TIME. In the world of therapy, you often hear the word "self-care" being thrown around and we don't often take it as seriously as we should until your compassion fatigue has affected you more than you are proud to admit. Reflecting back on my first year in business as a solo-preneur, I have learned that there are many lessons you won't learn from a classroom or textbook, but from the practical experience of pushing your boundaries and personal limits and experiencing the effects first-hand. While completing my clinical practicum as part of my final stretch in graduate school, I learned how to market myself, serve my clients, communicate with clients around scheduling/rescheduling appointments, and balancing a personal life in-between. From this sink-or-swim practicum I was thrown into, there was some practical benefit to learning the ropes the hard way! My practicum may not have been the most noteworthy or supportive environment, but I made it through with enough passion to start and grow my practice to what is is today!
Long story made short, just recently in June 2020, I decided to leave my hospital job and take the risk into the world of being a solo-preneur running her practice full-time. Now...please keep in mind that I did this during the worst possible time since COVID decided to happen and took a huge hit to my practice, but I knew this was the right move for me on a personal level. Sometimes, you have to take the risks vital in making you grow as a professional. The ties of a stable job didn't give me the freedom I needed to do my therapeutic work to the fullest extent, so to better serve my clients, and ultimately myself, I made the tough but well-made choice. It may not always be the most supported decision by everyone, but at this point in time it was for me, and that's all that mattered. Now one month into full-time private practice work, I feel more refreshed and better connected to my work again!
Many students ask me how I manage my time and energy doing therapy for over 20 hours a week, as well as all the adminitrative tasks that go on behind the scenes. The truth is, you just do it! I don't look at my job as a job...I look at it as a gift that keeps giving. I work with my clients to help them reach their personal goals, overcome the obstacles and barriers that have been in their way and give them the space to feel heard and validated for maybe the first time in a long time. I feel passionate about my work and this passion fuels my energy in a way I cannot put into words for you today. I am also CONSISTENTLY learning. I have now 2 years of therapy experience under my belt and still find myself at roadblocks, standstills, or moments of curiosity to learn and explore more. I have learned to accept that I can't help every client, and I have become more aware of where my skills lie and where I feel most comfortable working within. I have learned that helping clients tackle their 'everyday problems' is my passion and ultimately led me to name my practice "Everyday Self!" I truly believe in embracing our everyday selves, despite the things that make us feel as though we shouldn't. I embrace psychoeducation, I share my knowledge and I share my hope for you.
The most recent addition to my practice is an area I am truly passionate about in addition to my one-to-one therapy work, which is mentorship and consulting for therapists and students! I have been privledged to speak to so many Yorkville students about the fears, insecurities, and worries they face about being a student during this time and how to navigate career planning following an online program. It can definitely feel uncertain and overwhelming, but you are not alone in this. Being a private practice therapist is an amazing career, but may not be for everyone. Having both experienced the organizational and private worlds of mental health care, I am hoping to help students, therapists-in-training and mental health professionals navigate the crazy world of a career in mental health and make the best decision about their career moves.
If you are a current student or therapist-in-training and you are interested in my mentorship opportunity, please click here to find out more about the services I offer. Appointments are offered virtually or in-person, weekday, evening and on weekends. Please contact me directly to find out more information.
*Please note: It is quite a busy time at the moment for therapy due to the current pandemic and adjustment back to a “new normal.” Due to the volume of emails, I receive regarding questions on my experience at Yorkville, I am only able to schedule mentorship appointments for a set number of students each month. Please visit everydayself.ca/consulting to sign up for a mentorship/consulting session with me. Only those who have signed up will be contacted to set up a meeting time. Thank you in advance for your understanding.
Nicole Lobo, MA.
Registered Psychotherapist | Practice Owner | "Your Local, Everyday Therapist!"