Monday, October 8, 2012

Clients. I have clients.

Clients. This semester, I have clients. Seven actually. Three sessions each. That's 21 hours of actual counseling hours this semester. This, my dear readers, is why I haven't been around much!

The clients are volunteers from the university, so I'm not dealing with any major psychotic diagnoses. However, combining the knowledge from all of my prior classes and mixing it with some skills I've picked up along the way-- it's still an abundant amount of work. Mostly emotionally and mentally, but it still leaves me exhausted. That, and I'm still a bit nervous that someone might end up with poorer mental health issues than when we first met.

But! I've survived the process and so far, so good. I've found confidence in many ways and am learning more than a textbooks could ever provide. It's beginning to settle in that I am actually capable (and almost qualified per state regulation) to diagnose and treat mental disorders. Of course, there's still a ways to go-- but I am almost there.

In fact, I've been scoping out internship sites and I even had an interview a few weeks ago. While my number one preference would be to work for an agency that provides counseling and support for veterans regarding reintegration, depression, PTSD, substance abuse, and the like... there isn't one in Kansas City {the VA does their counseling work through social workers, not counselors}. So, I considered the available options and have narrowed down my picks to a couple of homeless and substance abuse treatment facilities nearby. Turns out, over half of the clients in these facilities are actually veterans anyway.

But anyway, back to current events.

Having purpose outside of the home has been a major adjustment! It's not only the hours when I'm at school, but the constant role switching that goes on throughout the day. It's the back and forth that's hard. I'm getting the kids a snack and then I get a ding about a client session. I respond and then I'm back to snack time. Or I'm scheduling and planning sessions during nap time, but I still have to figure out what to cook for dinner. Whew! I have not found my groove yet. {And apparently, this makes me grumpy. Poor Derek.}

Thursdays are long days. I do mommy stuff all morning and then I head to school at 1:00. This week I have sessions from 2-4, class from 4-6:00 and then 6-9:00 and then another session after that! I eat dinner in class. Even though the day is long, it's still easier, in my opinion because I don't have to go back and forth.

The absolutely worse part of the this semester: Planning sessions around seven client schedules, our babysitter's schedule, and the schedule of rooms available to use on campus. It is nothing short of a nightmare. Thankfully, we have a babysitter that is super flexible and that our kids love. We just couldn't do it without her!

Each week is getting a little bit easier. It's really exciting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, in terms of grad school. It was starting to feel like class was etching itself permanently into my planner. I'm trying not to get too excited though because expected graduation isn't until May 2014-- which is still almost 18 months away. But progress is progress.

Lest these posts bore you to tears, never fear. Posts including photos of the kids will resume tomorrow (hopefully... if I'm really on top of things).


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