Since the start of my academic career at MSPP, the support and encouragement from faculty has never faltered. Whenever there is confusion with an assignment ,or students are just feeling overwhelmed and need some time to debrief, the professors have always shown sensitivity and understanding. One of the biggest risks we take is showing vulnerability in our writing assignments where we reflect on our interactions with clients and explore our growing skills.
On a recent journal assignment, a lot of mixed feelings and emotions about myself and my work with clients was coming up. Two of my clients in particular had recently begun to introduce some more challenges aspects to our work together. Keeping in mind that this is my first year doing counseling directly with adults, I had become comfortable with the idea of a mixed caseload including both adults and kids at a future job site. When the more challenging areas arose, I found myself questioning my clinical intuition, thinking, “I never should have accepted these clients. Who thought I was skilled enough to meet their needs? Why am I their clinician?!”
I expressed these concerns and feelings in my journal assignment. I reflected on my skills and what felt like near unpreparedness for handling the intensity of certain issues. Termination processing, too, has been difficult. To write about these things in a class writing assignment felt like a huge risk because what if the professor determined that, in fact, I was unprepared. What if the professor evaluated my response to these clients as inappropriate or inadequate and it impacted my performance in the course or somehow raised concerns regarding my competency level as a clinician. Perhaps what stood out most in my mind was why now and why at the near end of my program am I stumbling?
Thankfully the professor thought none of those things. In fact, I received a helpful reminder that at the end of the day, the therapy belongs to the client, not the therapist. If they aren’t ready and wiling to take certain steps, it is not a reflection on who I am as a clinician. Now I can finish out the semester in confidence, knowing that there’s still a lot to learn but I am standing on pretty solid ground.