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Posts Tagged ‘licensed professional counselor’

Today I achieved a great feat! I passed the National Counselor Exam to become a licensed professional counselor in the state of Ohio. And I truly am proud of myself.

However, it wasn’t an immediate pride. Why not, you ask? Well because on my score sheet I noticed I had scored “just” eight points above the required passing score and I thought, “I only got 99 right. I just barely passed.” I had briefly disregarded the fact that I did indeed pass and that is what is most important. After all, test taking is not one of my strengths. As I skimmed the breakdown of scores, I felt OK, but had to force the “You could have done betters” out of my head. Actually, I changed those thoughts altogether and reminded myself that I had studied hard and I knew much of the material and I PASSED!!! Period.

Stating “only” or “just” in relation to accomplishments in life will lead to higher irrational expectations, feelings of self-defeat and will add to what may already be a low self-esteem. Examples: “I only got one touchdown.” “I got a bonus, but just for writing one report really well.” “I only won one Associated Press award and it was just for my blog.”

On my drive home from my test today I remembered that when I texted my fiance about the test, I used, or at least thought of using, one of those two terms: “only” or “just.” Doing so could have caused him to see the accomplishment as minimal instead of as the big deal it was/is. And I probably would have brushed it under the rug as if it was just another day.

I think our society permits people to brag endlessly about their expensive accomplishments, while the more important accomplishments are expected to be pushed aside. “Talk to us when you have accomplished something big, like buying a brand new luxury car.” Hmmm, while it took awhile for me to realize this, I do believe a luxury car will not fit in my casket when I pass away. I would rather die knowing I worked hard to achieve goals that were priceless, rather than goals that could be measured monetarily. We are often forced to cover up the accomplishment that isn’t “the best,” doesn’t have the priciest physical reward, or that is universal, meaning achieved by many. And for what? To keep people wandering around this world with low self-esteem, shattered dreams, and a hopelessness that lands them in therapy?

I don’t care whether one million people say congratulations for my accomplishment or one million people agree that I barely passed and scoff thinking I can’t possibly be a good counselor…I achieved a milestone not only in my professional life, but in my personal life as well. And for what? For the purpose of sharing my knowledge and experience with others who may need that temporary guide on life’s journey. I am proud of myself and I will allow myself to say “I passed” without tossing in the “only” or the “just.” The fact remains regardless of how many points above the minimum I received.

Do you find yourself minimizing your accomplishments either due to personal expectations or the expectations of others? Or, are you able to pat yourself on the back and be proud of that which you have been able to do well? I hope the answers to those questions are “no” and “yes” respectively.

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It’s true that my coworker, Katie, actually informed me that April is National Counseling Awareness Month and she is a reporter, not a counselor. I’m the one in a counseling program who’s about to graduate with my M.Ed. Thanks for informing me Katie.

I have very much enjoyed my journey through graduate school thus far and do look forward to my future as a counselor. It has been difficult, but life-changing. I think one of the most life-changing things has been taking what I’m learning and not only helping clients, but helping myself. I can see the purpose of counseling now more than ever before and it has assisted me in my own personal journey.

I do have qualms with the use of the title “counselor” when speaking of individuals who do not have a masters degree in the subject. You’re not a financial counselor, legal counselor, or anything else with the term counselor unless you have completed the rigorous work of graduate school, focusing on COUNSELING. Furthermore, the term “counseling” has been so generically used that it takes some of the pride out of the title. I prefer the word “therapy” over “counseling,” but still… I will be a counselor.

So what exactly IS counseling? Well, it’s many things and takes many forms. The ultimate goal, however, is for we as counselors to assist in empowering clients to be able to sustain their life and concerns that may arise in the future without our direct help. We want to provide tools for you to use when the time comes and we’re no longer your counselor. You, and all clients, must be willing to do the work because if we are working harder than you, we are not doing our jobs.

Counseling IS NOT a place for a counseling professional to tell you what to do, solve your problems for you, become your best friend or be someone on which you are dependent. No, no, no. We certainly want to help, but we’re not the givers of answers. Instead, we’re listeners who care enough to come along side you for a time, help you process, and watch as you change you. What a rewarding experience.

Everyone needs help at times. Each of us experience moments when we may not be able to see through the rain and we want someone to listen to us. You don’t have to be experiencing a crisis or be diagnosed with a mental illness to need the assistance of a counselor and I encourage you to seek one out if you find yourself losing precious time in life to concerns that can be changed.

Tomorrow, National Counseling Awareness Month will end, but we, the counselor trainees and licensed professional counselors, will not stop doing what we do. You are worth the effort and we look forward to serving you in the future.

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