Real-Life Resources for Behavioral Health Students & Early Career Professionals
Graduate school is an enormous feat for any student. Many graduate students may be employed, have children, or may even be dealing with serious health issues while attending graduate school. I, personally, fit in each of those categories. I’m currently a graduate student pursuing a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. I’m also a mother to a ten year old energetic son, and I’m dealing with health issues as well.read more
If you are reading this article, you are most likely in the midst of building your APPIC application or are gearing up to do so. First, congratulations! It is a lot of work to get this far, and there is light at the end of the tunnel! Yet, like every other aspect of grad school, there is a lot of work that goes into building your application and it can seem incredibly daunting. During my first internship prep meeting, we were warned that preparing our APPIC application and applying for internship was essentially a “part-time job.”read more
Talk to anyone who has completed their clinical training, and they will tell you becoming a psychologist is a process that begins early in your academic career. Laying the groundwork during your undergraduate years can provide a strong foothold into the field as well as into a graduate training program. One of the best ways to get involved as a student is to take advantage of the opportunities provided by your local undergraduate institutions. Universities are active breeding grounds for social science research and frequently employ students for pay or course credit.read more
As you and your cohort settle into practicum, you will hear at some point about the intake process, specifically how different sites may have different ways of approaching an intake. Department of Mental Health sites in your county may have an intake form with questions that go on for several pages. For example, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Adult Intake form has nine sections, with subsection questions for each one!
However, if you find yourself in a site that allows you freedom to conduct a semi-structured intake, it may still be challenging to find the balance between having an organic session with the client while obtaining relevant information that can inform your treatment plan.read more
Many therapists and graduate students would like to do the legwork of starting a private practice while still in training or earning their licensing hours, but they struggle to find the time: How are you supposed to create your private practice while you’re still occupied with your other work? I know this dilemma from firsthand experience: I started my private practice while working full time at a demanding (yet wonderful) place where I had earned my licensing hours.
A lot of the steps below can be done while you’re working a full time job and building your practice, or even just in anticipation of opening a practice if you’re still in graduate school or earning your licensing hours. I laid the groundwork for myself as much as possible so I wouldn’t have to worry about all these things upon licensure, when I’d want to just focus on seeing clients as much as possible. It worked out REALLY well. Here’s how I did it!read more
More likely than not, most of us lamented about being a “poor college student” at one point during our undergraduate years. Despite experiences akin to daily microwave ramen for dinner and sharing a house with ten other people to save some money, we find ourselves seeking yet another two to four years of college life to pursue a graduate-level education. While student loan debt seems to be ubiquitous in graduate school, there are several steps we can take, between applying for graduate school to walking at graduation, to lessen the damage to our wallets.read more
Congratulations! You have completed your degree, finished your training hours, passed your exam(s), and paid your fees. Now, you have a fancy new license number and more control over your professional future.
Becoming a newly licensed therapist is not a magical process — you will not all of a sudden become a mindful, articulate clinician like many of your supervisors. Rather, it requires deliberate actions.
You have proven yourself to your state board and now it’s time to prove yourself to the rest of world, or at least to the psychological community.
The following are practices to consider when stepping into the big, shiny shoes of a licensed clinician.read more
So, tomorrow is your first session with a new client. First, congratulations! Every new client is a new opportunity to assist and provide support to someone along his or her journey. Whether this is your first session with a new client or the very first session of your career, it is completely understandable to feel nervous or experience jitters.
Fear of the unknown regarding new clients can be intense. You may be asking yourself questions similar to these as you prepare to meet your new client: Will I be able to help her? Will he like my therapeutic approach? What if he asks a question I can’t answer? Will she even show up? The following are some tips to help you prepare for your first session.read more
Since it’s all too common for therapists to graduate with little to no marketing training, there can be a lot of lingering questions about what you’re “supposed” to be doing to get yourself out there.
If you’re considering private practice, it’s likely you already know that a website is a necessity. Your therapist site is the core of your practice marketing, after all. But when is the right time to get your practice website?
That’s the question I want to explore more in depth. Just because a website is important doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best idea for you to start one right now — and just because you’re not tech-savvy, it doesn’t mean you have a good excuse to keep putting off such an important part of your business. When should you get your practice website when you’re just starting out? And when shouldn’t you?read more
When I entered graduate school, I knew one thing: I would never become a clinical psychologist. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew psychology wasn’t it, and I figured that spending a few years in a doctoral program was a good way to pass the time while my interests worked themselves out. (Side note: It isn’t. There are much easier ways to spend six years.)
Now I am the one thing I thought I would never be: a clinical psychologist. How in the world did that happen?
The truth is that I began graduate school with a narrow sense of what it means to be a psychologist. Over the course of my training, I learned that there are many ways to match your interests, passions, and values to a career in behavioral health and many opportunities to fall in love with this work.
Whether you have well-defined professional goals or are utterly confused about the path ahead, here are a few questions to consider as you work toward developing your professional identity and choosing a meaningful career.read more