Real-Life Resources for Students & Early Career Professionals
It is important to realize that therapists need to take care of themselves as much as we tell our clients to take care of themselves. After all – we are human, too!
With heavy workloads and complex cases, it is easy to forget the impact our work can have on our physical and mental health.
Often we work in isolation, with people in crisis or pain. Alongside the normal life ‘distractions’ we have additional responsibilities in the form of professional ethics, codes of conduct, licensing issues and insurance requirements.
All these elements can add up to a big emotional and energy cost for the individual therapist so it is essential to take steps to protect ourselves. Continual professional reflection can help to identify areas where we need to take steps to ensure the weight of the work we undertake is not taking a toll on our own health.read more
It’s really easy to forget about your loans in graduate school because there are so many other things to think about. However, your loans will eventually catch up to you, and you’ll need to start making payments on them. Unfortunately, this tends to start happening right as you’re midway through a fellowship and trying to apply for jobs, or when you’re trying to apply for licensure and take the licensing exam. Having to start paying on your student loans can come at a very overwhelming time, and also be an overwhelming thing to think about. With some simple organizational strategies, you can feel more confident about the financial responsibility that awaits you.read more
Growing up in a home with physical abuse, emotional neglect, mental illness, alcohol use, or drug use are some examples of childhood adversities. The seminal work of Dr. Vincent Felitti and colleagues asked over 17,000 adults to answer questions about adverse childhood experiences — or ACEs — and current health . Results were shocking: More ACEs led to poorer health in adulthood and early death.
It is important to understand that ACEs do not directly cause poor outcomes; there are likely many mediating mechanisms such as maladaptive coping, unhealthy interpersonal relationships, negative health behaviors, dysfunctional thinking styles, and insecure attachments that contribute to these outcomes. In addition to prevention efforts, these are all potential areas that therapists can intervene to mitigate the long-term effects of adversity.read more
It takes a lot of guts for patients to make the decision to break up with obsessive-compulsive disorder. They have been living many years with tormenting thoughts and fears, dictating how they go about their days. When your patient is on board with breaking up with...read more
Multicultural supervision requires a unique skill set, and there are important factors that supervisors and training sites should take into consideration when working with trainees of color. Many trainees of color in mental health fields find themselves being the only one that looks like them in primarily white spaces.
In reading these four suggested points, I hope that existing supervisors, early career therapists, and trainees who wish to one day supervise will take note. The face of our field is forever changing, and it is time that we consider factors that can promote the success and well-being of all future clinicians.read more
One of the scariest things therapists work with is suicidality.
Suddenly, therapy feels like, and sometimes is, a life-or-death situation, one where clinicians hold a great deal of responsibility. To make matters worse, suicide continues to be one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. , and many believe the prevalence rates are a gross underestimate .
The numbers highlight the inevitability of encountering suicidality in our line of work. Early-career psychologists and practicum students may feel overwhelmed by the intensity and risk of working with suicidal clients.read more
I vividly remember my first experience providing psychotherapy for a patient with psychotic symptoms. In fact, not only was this patient my first with psychosis, but they were my first individual therapy patient ever. As a practicum student at a partial hospitalization program, I was caught off-guard when my patient endorsed auditory hallucinations during an initial intake. Thoughts and doubts such as “I don’t know what I’m doing” and “Could I make my client’s symptoms worse?” flooded my mind.
Ultimately, it was a rewarding experience, and I enjoyed bearing witness to my client’s growth, impressive resilience and resolve. However, there are many things I wish I had known ahead of this first experience. Therefore, this article aims to use my experience as a reference point to provide a brief snapshot of important domains to consider when treating psychosis for the first time.read more
Burnout is believed to be coined by the psychologist Dr. Herbert Freudenberger who defined it as “failing, wearing out, or becoming exhausted through excessive demands on energy, strength, or resources” .
At times, graduate school seems synonymous with burnout – it is a multi-year, grueling process of hurdle after hurdle.
There is often a mentality in graduate programs that this “suffering” is a right-of-passage of sorts, an initiation that all therapists before us endured and overcame before entering into the profession.
However, the reality is that these expectations and this laissez faire attitude, when left unchecked, can produce burnout that is of detriment to not only the physical and mental health of graduate students, but also to their productivity and quality of work. Unfortunately, for many in the psychology field, this experience does not end with graduate school.read more
A new client recently asked me where I would be traveling for an upcoming trip as we looked at our schedules to make her next appointment. When she expressed further curiosity about the conference I would be attending, I explained that it was an annual conference of the society for psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychology. A fairly surprised look appeared on her face, and she questioned, “like Freud?”
I readily picked up on her discomfort with the thought of psychoanalysis or being psychoanalyzed. I clarified that she was not meeting with me for psychoanalysis and offered some explanation of basic psychodynamic principles and how these applied to our initial goals for therapy. She seemed to accept my explanation, but mostly just seemed glad to know she wasn’t meeting for psychoanalysis.
Psychodynamic therapy is one of several approaches to therapy used today. However, it is often misunderstood and dismissed as an outmoded approach or historical artifact. It is also often misrepresented in popular culture and sometimes seen as irrelevant to the quick-fix demands of the public and the limitations of insurance.read more
If you don’t have your own website yet, the time has come.
Gone are the days when a new clinician could hang out a shingle, buy a Yellow Pages listing, and be assured a steady stream of clients. If you want to reach new clients today, you need an online presence. Even if clients find you through referrals or word-of-mouth, they will still want to research you online before booking their first session.read more