thepathNY

half a tank is all you need…


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Should you stay or should you go?

April brings showers, visions of spring, and the beginning of the end of your field year experience. What are the benefits to staying or saying good bye? Here are some things to consider as you begin the process of winding down your field experience.

“Should I stay or should I go…” ~ The Clash

Termination
Go: While it may seem counterintuitive to begin with the end in mind, this is precisely what fieldwork students should be thinking. A large part of the learning process during the internship experience is learning how to terminate with your clients. Clients will (and should) move on. Knowing how to say goodbye and prepare them for either your departure is just as important as the very first session.

Stay: Even if you decide to stay, termination is one of those phases of treatment that is inevitable and unavoidable. Stay tuned for tips on how to terminate with clients.

New Faces, New Spaces
Go: Experience a different environment, coworkers, supervisors, client population. Building and growing your skill set is an important part of your career. You can use the end of your internship to explore a different side of yourself while practicing and enhancing your skills as a counselor.

Stay: If you decide to stay, be sure to make clear your new role as a professional. Perhaps there are new responsibilities you can add or change so that you are not continuing in the same role that you were in as an intern.

Taking Time Off
Go: If you’re graduating and completing internship concurrently, it might be a good time to take a much needed break. Processing doesn’t stop just because there’s no professor after you for that reflection journal. Taking a break allows you to process your whole experience and the experience of being a graduate. Journal, dream, meet and greet other professionals. You can still be productive in your career outside of the office.

Stay: If you decide to stay, be sure that you’re building in self-care and discuss new work schedule options with your agency.

“If I go there will be trouble…”

Staying On

They love you and they want you to stay. Congratulations! Use the “Stay” strategies above to really define yourself as a professional counselor in your new role. Seek opportunities to grow within your position. You’re in a prime position to help new interns acclimate to the fieldwork experience. Utilize your skills, share what you know, and please do not forget to schedule your first vacation!

“If I stay there will be double…”

Saying Goodbye

Remember to always give a clear ending date and remind your supervisors and colleagues at least two weeks before you end. Treat it like a job, put in your notice and make time to wrap up loose ends before you depart. Maintain the partnership once the internship comes to an end. Connect on your social media and professional networks. YOu can stay up to date with them and they with you. As you job hunt, they may even endorse some of your skills. It never hurts.

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Back to Basics

I’ve been privileged enough to have had several interesting conversations in the past few days. Strangely, they all seemed to have common threads dealing with acceptance and happiness. I ended up with a couple of questions that feel very relevant.
1) Am I accepting of my place in the present moment? and 2) Am I happy or not?
The nuances in the answers to those questions CAN be vast…but for a second I put all of that aside and gave myself the old elementary-style quiz.

happy or not

Life is undeniably more complicated than this. I’m as guilty as anyone of getting wrapped up in the nuances, the expectations, and the anxieties. I know too well the feelings of confusion, frustration, and muddled sense of self that sneaks in even while sprinting down the “path to success”. The simplicity of those questions and boiling it down to the basics helped push aside all of the “should, could, musts” that come along with this existence and helped me tap into the most primary feelings and motivations. In asking myself these questions and allowing myself to sit with the answer without analysis or expectation, things became just a little bit clearer in the moment.

Isn’t that what most of us strive for anyway? A little slice of clarity and simplicity one moment at a time?

accept


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Track Your Time

Internship hours account for the bulk of the final year in a Counseling or Social Work program.  Most of us need to complete anywhere from 600 – 1500 hours of counseling hours, supervision, and indirect service (reports, paperwork, etc).  As if seeing clients, writing reports, finding your place at your agency, and finding an orientation that “fits” isn’t enough, your school will most likely ask you to turn in a break down of your time.  This type of paperwork can be time consuming and frustrating if you wait until the last minute to get it done.

I’m loving the TimetoTrack website which helps clinicians easily track hours and provides a handy printout sheet.  They also post a blog series that’s extremely useful to newbies in the field.  Check out their latest here: Internship Application Season has Begun!

If you decide not use their service (1 year costs $36.95 but they offer a free trial), you can choose the DIY approach.  Excel is extremely handy and you can personalize the columns and let the sheet do the tally.  Here’s a sample of what you can do: Hours_Blank  (If you like the template, feel free to email me and I’ll help you customize it).

Developing a quick and efficient system of tracking your internship hours will help

you when you are working towards your hours for your license.  Remember, you’re responsible for tracking those – not your job, supervisor, and certainly not the state!

Good luck!!


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Bloggers for GOOD

Like a kid in a candy store, I’m overwhelmed and delighted by the innovative ideas of others to invoke change, provoke questions, and challenge what it means to be an active member of society.  Bloggers for GOOD Challenge is bringing out some of the best in the community.  Below are the specifics posted by GOOD:

Blogs are entertaining and influential, and they’re radically changing the way we all share and receive information. Whether your blog is about fashion, football, or food, we think it has the potential to catalyze social impact. Perhaps you are profiling a nonprofit you love and inspiring your readers to get involved, or documenting your adventures in sustainable living and encouraging readers to check out a local environmental organization, or reviewing new books and want to support a literacy program. Whatever your area of interest may be, we have $1,000 for a cause that your work supports as well as a $500 prize for your GOOD work. We’ll also interview you and feature your blog on GOOD.

I have submitted and you can vote for me here:  http://bloggers.maker.good.is/projects/thePathNY

The prize is wonderful but getting exposed to what folks are up to is even better.  Check out all of the submissions on Bloggers for Good.

Happy reading!


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Wanderlust-ing

Salvador da Bahia

It’s been a while since I’ve really been out of my comfort zone.  The experience of traveling to a new country was just the thing to snap me out of my narrow NYC reality and reconnect with the world.  Eleven days, two cities, a handful of Portuguese words, no hotel homebase, no guide.  After 1.5 days I was begging for an English speaker and a little bit of guidance.  After 8 days I was begging to stay.  Traveling to a new country and experiencing it from the inside out is not easy but it quickened my pulse, heightened my senses, and rekindled a love for the unknown that had been tempered by the regimented demands of school and work.

Not only did I realize that I want to travel more (and revisit Brasil, in particular) but I also realized that I would love the opportunity to work abroad.  The experience and growth that comes from interacting with different people from different cultures is one that cannot be overstated.  I was thrilled to learn that Doctors Without Borders (DWB) employs licensed mental health specialists.  If there was an additional reason needed to continue accumulating a mountain of clinical hours and broadening language skills – this is a solid one.

It’s not just the idea of whisking away to different parts of the world that’s appealing.  The big draw comes from the chance to learn about how the work of mental wellness is done in other places, the getting outside of the Western approach to treatment, the infusion of indigenous and non-traditional forms of healing, and working hand in hand with a global network of professionals.  So, onward with language lessons, specialized certificate programs, and amassing hours and experience in the quest to become a viable candidate for MH work abroad, and…in my mind…a better me.

What do you think about working abroad in organizations like DWB and the smaller, but committed, Counselors Without Borders (CWB)?

How can new experiences enhance you as a counselor?  View the past blog: Try something new (and become a better counselor)


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Work/Life (im)balance

For the next few months, the end goal is fairly straight forward: reclaim life.  Being a student and a working professional has created an unhealthy work monster with no sense of what *down-time* means.  The word relax only serves to bring up memories of an 80s era full of synthesizers and classic music videos.

Somehow, I got it into my head that filling up every hour with “productive” tasks would be just the thing that would help me accomplish career and personal goals quickerfaster thus leading to a great big dose of Happy.  Instead what I’ve earned are poor sleeping and eating habits, silent wishes for germ inhabitants so that I can have a valid excuse not to do anything, and a blank-eyed expression when asked the question, “So, when are you free?”

Where is the Happy in that??

I’m not the only one who experiences the work/ life imbalance and I’m often one of the first to chastise others for not taking enough time for themselves.  Just a little hypocritical, perhaps.  So, I’m working on taking my own advice and the words of wisdom from a TEDx Talk: Shawn Achor: The Happy Secret to Better Work.  This time around, I’m not just nodding emphatically to the concept of change but seeking to implement a true change in behavior and in mindset to create more room for Happy.

Could I… Carve out some time for a positive journal writing session?  Make time for exercise?  Take a drive to a nearby park for some outdoor meditation?  The answer is a simple “yes.”  There’s time for work; why not find time for writing, sweating, meditating?  The tips are simple enough yet so often they get pushed to the sidelines by the idea that working longerharderfaster will ultimately lead to some pleasurable sense of being.  The truth?  It doesn’t.  Having a positive outlook and an internal sense of well-being are the things that happiness is made of and more happiness leads to far more productivity, creativity, and success than all the 16 oz cups of coffee and multitasking devices in the world could ever bring.

Change the lens through which you view the world and change your life?  What a novel idea.

“[It’s] the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.” — Shawn Achor