Posts Tagged ‘client’

So Many Details

April 20, 2018

I had a lot of stuff that I had to remember to do today.

Little things, but things that needed to be attended to.

I had a new client, so I had to print of new client paper work, plus some of my files are shy on progress notes and so I printed off a bunch of paperwork to bring into my internship.

I have learned the hard way that there are often times therapy sessions being held in the office that has the majority of the paperwork so I will print off my own at home to save me the headache of not being able to get what I need.

I was super lucky tonight and managed to sneak in right after a client left a therapy session in the office and I was able to procure the file for my new client.

That was smooth.

I’m back to running with a full eight clients.

Although it is rare that I see all eight clients in the same week, a lot of cancellations.

Which happens when the sliding scale is so low and people decide they can afford to cancel at the last-minute.

I can’t afford to cancel my therapist last-minute, I’m on the lowest end of her sliding scale and that’s $120 an hour.

Not an acceptable trade-off for last-minute cancelling.

However, I have plenty of clients that pay $10 or $20 a session.

It tends to lead to clients cancelling.

Sometimes I think I should be running with ten clients to make up for the frequent cancellations, but then again, right now, what with trying to get through the rest of the school year and get to graduation, I think it’s best to sit at eight.

Speaking of graduation.

I just did a bunch of work for my graduation invitation for the beach bonfire party May 19th.

I’m super jazzed to be able to have a party and so, so, so grateful for my friends who are helping out.

My best friend is in charge and gave me a time line of things to do and I flubbed already, but I’m hoping to redeem myself with the content and copy that I just sent out.

We shall see.

I’m not the best when it comes to those sorts of things.

Hopefully it will be enough.

And if it’s not, I can figure that out too.

My primary focus is just getting through the next few weeks and getting the papers done that I have to write.

I booked myself some time to write this weekend, it may not be all in one go, which is generally how I like to write, but I have some commitments Sunday that take up time.

I”m hopeful that I will get the majority of it done on Sunday.

I will be doing internship paperwork and BBS paperwork on Saturday.

Although I might be able to get a few things jotted down on Saturday as well depends on what comes up in my schedule.

I’m not too worried.

Ha.

I lie.

I’m a bit anxious, but I have faith.

I always get my papers written, this time will be no different.

It’s exciting to be getting so close, even if it is a little nerve-wracking.

Just two more papers!

And then.

A nice chill last weekend of classes, some closing ceremonies with the cohort, some hugs, and that’s that.

There’s a week in between the last weekend of classes and Commencement.

I’m still in the can’t quite believe that I’m graduating, but it’s getting more real.

I think, actually, that working on the invitation was helpful, it sort of solidified it in my head that this is all actually happening.

Even getting my cap and gown in the mail didn’t make it real.

I sense that it will feel real when the papers are done.

I’m ready for that.

And I’m ready for Friday.

It’s been a big week.

A good one, but intense and I’m ready for the weekend.

Granted, there won’t be a lot of down time, but I will make time for it if it should coalesce.

All work and no play makes me a dull girl.

And nobody wants that.

Nobody.

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I Didn’t Get It

April 7, 2018

And I can’t say I’m surprised.

Disappointed.

Yes.

Surprised.

No.

There was something about the email that I got last week letting me know that the decision regarding the Diversity Scholarship had not yet been made.

I immediately began to have doubts that I was going to get it.

I’m not sure why, but it felt like the flavor of what was to come.

I was told the final decision would be reached by today, April 6th.

And I spent all day long thinking, where’s the e-mail.

I didn’t get it, where’s the e-mail?

Maybe I got it.

When are they going to let me know?

I almost texted my best friend tonight in between seeing clients.

I don’t think I got the scholarship.

But I got caught up doing paperwork and then my next client was in and therapy.

I drove home, really bad traffic, rain does that in San Francisco, the weather ups the idiot ante pretty quick, finally found parking and walked home to my little studio to make some dinner.

When I sat down to eat I got the bing that I had a new e-mail.

And there it was.

The notification letter.

I can’t tell you what it said exactly as I already trashed it, but it didn’t surprise me.

Disappointment though, I could have used that $5,000 per year.

I don’t even know how much my tuition is going to be for my PhD program, but I do know that having had some scholarship money for my Master’s program was really integral to helping me do some things.

Like buy my car.

Travel.

And, you know, pay rent.

I have steadily, over the last few years acquired expenditures that I never used to have.

My scooter, scooter insurance, my car, car insurance, dental insurance, health insurance (although that’s felt like a colossal joke), renter’s insurance, monthly yoga, and a lot of those things I helped pay for with my financial aid and my scholarship money.

And of course.

Tuition.

I’m not going to be too upset though.

It doesn’t do me well to dwell on it and although it’s a disappointment, how could it not be, I know that the money will be there.

Maybe another scholarship.

Maybe I win the lottery.

Maybe I come into money.

Maybe I just take out more student loans.

As long as tuition gets paid and I don’t have to supplement tuition with my own money, not right now, my own money goes to rent, groceries, phone, yoga, car, scooter, clothes, travel, cost of living in San Francisco.

If I get enough money to cover tuition I can cover my cost of living on what I make.

I will be ok.

I always am.

Sigh.

I don’t like the idea of taking out more student loans, but I don’t like the idea of not going after my PhD even less.

The education is important to me and the work is important and I’m doing it.

The money will come.

It will.

And before I know it, I’ll be attending my first intensive for the program.

I received an e-mail yesterday letting me know what courses I need to register for.

I will be taking five classes my first semester.

Three are credited courses and two are not.

The intensive is counted as a course and there is an online class forum that is counted as a course.

Neither of those will really affect me time wise.

Money wise.

Yeah.

The intensive runs I think at least $1800.

And typically what I have seen is that each credit of course work is about $1200.

So three, three credit courses will cost me about 10,800.

Tuition is going to probably be about $22,000 per year.

I think.

I am not 100% sure, but that was pretty close to what the Master’s Degree cost me.

I could probably look it all up at this point, and maybe I should, but it’s late, I had a long day, good, but long.

I had the first day of my fourth weekend of the program.

I did my case presentation.

I was the first to go and it felt really good to get up there in front of the class and share about my work.

I got some really nice feedback.

It felt really good to hear and it really made me reflect on how far I have come and how much I bring to my clients.

My teacher said, and I quote, “_____________ is really lucky to have you.”

Wow.

That was fucking nice to hear.

As were many of the other responses I got from my cohort.

I felt very much like a therapist as I sat there.

I also felt very much the therapist as I was working with a new client tonight in our first session.

I was marveling at how I have really learned how to listen, to reflect, to mirror, to validate and to re-frame what the client says.

I had a moment afterward when I compared how I felt taking on a new client now versus how I felt when I first started.

So different.

I really feel like I am doing a good job.

And that.

Just that.

I need to recognize.

I am a good therapist.

I am in the right field.

I am doing the right thing.

I am on the path.

I have a career.

I am a therapist.

Granted.

Unlicensed as of yet, with loads of work to be done, but I am firmly situated on this path and I am so grateful for having a purpose in my career and a career that will support me and one in which I will have great longevity.

I will get to practice for a long time.

So.

Yeah.

Bummed about not getting the scholarship, but it’s not going to slow me down from doing what I am supposed to be doing.

And for that.

Well.

I have only gratitude.

 

Teething

March 22, 2018

And screaming.

Ten hours.

Ten hours of baby who is teething two big molars.

Poor little guy.

Poor nanny.

The morning wasn’t so bad, I think I wasn’t as worn out from the constant yelling the baby was doing, plus he had a good morning nap.

The second nap was not so good, he was woken up early by the older kids and was pretty miserable for the last part of the day.

I went in early today to help out and stayed until my normal time.

I did ten hours and I can feel it in my body.

My head hurt when I was leaving.

It is really hard to listen to a baby scream.

It’s hard enough to listen to a baby cry, but scream.

My God.

I thought I was going to lose it for a little while.

He’s a really happy baby too, it’s not normal for him to be so upset.

I felt pretty pinned down by it and I was really happy to leave.

Then I got asked, as I was leaving to come in early again tomorrow and on Friday.

I sort of crumpled.

I really wanted to get a little bit more sleep tonight and to take a shower in the morning before work.

We compromised and I’m just coming in a half hour early tomorrow, I’ll still get my shower, although not the sleep I was hoping for.

Still.

I will have a half hour more than I did last night and that is something.

The day was actually lovely, despite the upset baby, I had a fabulous conversation with my best friend and we made some plans to spend time together and that always lifts my spirits.

Always.

And.

I ran into some friends tonight at my commitment and I discussed the soon to be graduating and the fact that I want to have a beach bonfire party to celebrate.

I’m very excited for that too.

I’m slowly chipping away at homework, every little bit is a tiny step closer to being done with the program, I even managed to finish an article tonight in between getting home from work and heading back out.

I will be doing some work this weekend on a portion of the big paper and writing up a case study on one of my clients which I will present to the class for about a half hour.

I can easily talk about my client for that long, it’s just a matter of making sure that I am presenting good, cohesive, well thought out material to my cohort and to my professor.

When I’ve had some time to reflect on the work I have done with this client I am really quite proud of myself.

I know that I’m doing good work and I know that my client is benefitting from the therapy.

This client was also my first assigned client, though they do not know that, and it pleases me very much that I will get to show a case study with a lot of sessions and a lot of work that has been done.

I’ve got a ton of supervision notes on this client and also a good size file at my office.

I’ll be seeing the client tomorrow, in fact, I should review the file.

I’m also starting with a new client tomorrow.

Note to self, get the file out of the main office before the session!

It’s always a little bit of a crap shoot when I have a new client file that I need to get to.

Often times the office where the files are kept is being used for a therapy session, I have to time it well.

Fingers crossed I’ll get out of work a little early.

Technically I don’t need the file to do the therapy, the first few sessions are really about getting to know the client, I don’t need to see a consultation form to do that, but they are nice to have and I will be taking notes and those notes need to go into a file, so yes, it will be better if I get said file before the session.

Note to self.

I also need to figure out how to sync up my phone calendar with my google calendar.

I know there’s a way to do it.

But I haven’t done it yet and My brain hurts too much right now to look into it.

I feel pretty much at capacity as far as doing anything else today goes.

It’s been a pretty damn full week already.

It’s going to be ok though.

It is.

And I’m just going to wind this down a little early and do some self-care, make some hot tea, eat a snack and get snuggled down for the night.

No more work for today.

Just some rest.

Some very well deserved rest.

Seriously.

Halfway There

March 9, 2018

Tomorrow marks the mid-point to the semester.

I’ll be halfway through the last semester of my Masters degree!

I’m so excited.

And.

Yes.

I am completely done with all my homework.

Everything is turned in.

I did all my reading assignments.

And I worked on my dyad partner’s paper today at work, so that I have comments and responses to her paper, that’s part of the work for this big final paper, we work in groups and read our group mates paper and make comments and help them with their work.

So I did that today at the Upper Noe Valley Rec Center.

I just had the baby out for a walk and he fell asleep in the stroller, so I grabbed a cafe au lait from Xo Cafe on Church and Day Street, walked over to the Rec Center and did the paper and then I did the evaluations for school that I have to turn in as well for the class.

I got it all done.

I’m not sure how I wrote that damn annotated bibliography yesterday and did all the reading and that I saw a licensed MFT this week, after seeing clients, and worked a lot, I put in four hours of overtime at work, paid in cash when I left today, thank you very much, and still got to do the deal.

I mean.

Whew.

It’s a week.

Plus I terminated with a client tonight.

It was a good termination and the client and I parted ways very amicably and it was a mutual termination.

It was nice to reflect on the work that happened over the course of the treatment and to see how my client has changed and how, too, I have.

The client was one of my first clients and it was good for me to see how much I have grown since I started doing my practicum.

I only have about seven more weeks of being in practicum and then it turns into an associateship.

The California Association of Marriage Family Therapist has changed the title from MFTi (intern) to associate.

Once I graduate, I become an associate.

I will be an Associate MFT.

I will have a registered number.

And I will be fully on my way to getting my license.

The next hurdle will be filling out all the paperwork and getting all the signatures.

I first, though, have to graduate.

I need to continue showing up for classes, participating, and doing the work.

But It feels really god, and I want to acknowledge that, to be halfway through the homestretch semester.

I think ordering my cap and gown really put a big explanation point on it.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do for my graduation party.

I need to celebrate.

This Master’s degree is a huge deal for me.

Finding out what I am supposed to be doing and finding my way through school to get me to the point where I can become a licenced therapist is such a huge thing for me.

I felt like I was floundering for years not knowing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, nanny, go to Burning Man, yearn to be a published writer, never get published, nanny, think about applying to a Creative Writing Masters program, not get into it, nanny, go to Burning Man, maybe try living in Paris for a little while, come back to San Francisco, nanny some more, go to Burning Man.

Have huge epiphany at Burning Man.

Quit crappy nanny job.

Get better nanny job.

Apply to grad school.

Get in!

And suddenly I am going to be a therapist when I grow up.

When I reflect back on the journey of getting to where I am now I am absolutely flabbergasted.

How did I make it through?

And I’m still working through it, but it feels so tangible now, the hard work is paying off and I’m almost there.

I can see the diploma.

I will be framing that post-haste.

In a really nice frame.

Really nice.

Just saying.

Anyway.

So, yeah, a party.

But I’m not sure how to do it.

The commencement ceremony is from 3-5p.m. in Hayes Valley.

Do I grab an early dinner with the folks coming to my graduation and then bomb out to the beach?

I want to do a beach bonfire at Ocean Beach.

Or.

Do I skip it and head straight back to the house and get shit over to Ocean Beach and get things set up.

I feel like I need to enlist some friends to get things set up but then I’m responsible for this and I want it to be nice and I want to appreciate the friends in my life who have been so generous with me during my time in grad school.

I think I may skip trying to make dinner plans.

Maybe instead, I can do a nice brunch before hand and then go to the commencement and after ward head to the beach.

That way I can be there by 6p.m. and set things up.

Not that I’m planning anything hard or fancy.

Fire wood in a box, couple of blankets, a folding chair or two, a cooler with some sparkling water.

That’s it.

Folks want more than that, they can bring it.

Mostly I just want a reason to have a bonfire at the beach and I can’t imagine a better excuse than I am graduating with a Master’s Degree.

I want to invite lots of folks, and acknowledge all the people who helped me a long the way, past employers who wrote me letters of recommendation to get into the program, to my current employers who put up with me not working one Friday a month so I can go to classes, to friends and visiting family, and families I used to nanny for, everyone who gave me one single word of encouragement, I want them there.

Or at least to extend the invitation to be there.

And when the sunsets I will have tears on my face and joy in my heart being surrounded by friends, family, loved ones, and my community.

I cannot fucking wait.

Bring on this weekend of classes.

Let’s go!

Long Days

March 6, 2018

I don’t feel much like writing, truth be told.

Habit I suppose.

To sit and write.

Although I’m semi obsessed with a playlist I’ve been making on Spotify.

My head’s just not in it right now, the writing not the music.

I sang my heart out driving home tonight.

Good thing there wasn’t much traffic out there, I did not need to be witnessed in my crazy torch song belt out.

It was a long day.

Mondays are and I have to remind myself of that.

Supervision in the morning was intense.

I had to terminate a client today so there was a lot to cover and I have another termination on Thursday.

It’s tender work.

I’m super glad for my supervisor, he’s a really good match for what I need to be learning.

I have seven weeks left with him.

ON one hand I am rather glad for that.

To not have to be in Hayes Valley every Monday morning at 9 a.m. is going to be a relief, to avoid rush hour morning commuter, that would be divine.

I will miss his guidance though, he’s hyper intelligent and has an amazing way of showing me how therapy works.

He also believes that I am a good therapist, kick ass in his words, and that’s nice.

Although I would probably never say that to him when he’s got a critique of my technique or the work I’m doing with clients, I think he’d give me quite the look, “hey, don’t you remember when you said I was a kick ass therapist?”

No?

Heh.

We did a fuck load of work today it felt like two sessions packed into one.

I covered a lot of client material.

And then I got assigned a new client.

Whew.

My head was a little spun today.

Distracted and not really present.

I did try to get grounded and I was able to sneak in a shopping trip to the grocery store in between work and supervision, which was so helpful, I shouldn’t have to do any more shopping before the upcoming school weekend.

Gah.

I am exhausted thinking about that.

I’m not ready.

I have to write another paper and I have a bit more reading to do.

I am tired.

And it’s Monday.

And.

The mom reached out and asked me to come in early again on Wednesday, so that’s a ten-hour day.

After a twelve-hour day, today, an eleven hour day tomorrow, which might morph to a twelve hour day, I have a homework assignment to speak with a licensed MFT and that’s tomorrow after I wrap with clients.

Sigh.

I’ll get it all done.

And maybe going in early on Wednesday isn’t such a bad thing, I can take my laptop with me and do some work while the baby is napping.

Fingers crossed that neither of the older kids are home sick from school.

If I just have the baby for the first half of the day I could actually do some homework at work while he naps.

I did manage to get a little bit of reading done today and I found another source of material for the annotated bibliography I have to put together for the class.

This is the kind of crap I’m not good at.

Actually.

That’s not true.

I am good at most academic work, I just don’t find this interesting and when I am bored with a topic I’m not compelled to do the work.

But.

Well.

Fuck.

It’s a required and I’m almost halfway there, halfway through this final semester.

I’m ready for a break.

I know.

I know.

I just applied to a PhD program, but hey, there’s the summer to come.

Still waiting on my friend’s parents to get back to her, by the way, regarding buying tickets to Paris.

I stopped looking.

I’m just going to sit and wait until she reaches out.

I’m willing to spend what needs to be spent.

I don’t need to obsess on when I buy them.

I have realized though that I won’t be able to do the dream work seminar and retreat that I was going to go on withe some friends in my cohort, it would mean unpaid time off and I’m just not going to do that right now.

I will have to take unpaid time off if I get into the PhD program as there’s a retreat that starts out the program in the fall, but aside from that I really won’t be taking any other time off except for when the family is on vacation.

Who am I to complain?

I’m going to get five weeks off paid.

I won’t mind having an unpaid week off to pursue my educational goals.

I can hardly believe it sometimes.

I got notification today that my last set of transcripts were sent out to the school today.

Which means they department will have all my materials soon and can process my application.

Shit.

Ugh.

I almost forgot.

Fuck.

Fuck.

Fuck.

I need to apply to the Diversity Scholarship.

It’s five thousand dollars.

I can really use that.

Five thousand less in student loans is nothing to sneeze at.

When the fuck am I going to get that done?

The application deadline is March 15th.

That gives me ten days.

Sigh.

I’ll get it done.

Oof.

I am tired.

I was going to go to yoga in the morning before therapy.

I think I may skip it and just let myself get some rest.

Even just a half hour is going to do me well.

And with that.

I am going to bid you adieu.

I am tuckered out.

Seriously.

 

 

Poof

March 5, 2018

And the weekend is over.

Where the fuck did it go?

So fast.

It went so fast.

I did get a lot accomplished today, however, which is probably why it went so fast.

I wrote like a maniac.

I wrote a lot personally and I wrote a paper for class, I have another weekend of school coming up.

I did not write the two papers that I had hoped to get to, but I wrote the one that took the most time to do.

Fingers crossed I will have some time this Wednesday to address the other paper and if worst comes to worse, which I am really fucking hoping it won’t, I will do it Friday after class and before my client at my internship.

I think that I can get it done this week, I just need to be diligent.

I also needed to throw another thing into the mix as I had to get an appointment with another therapist.

Not for more therapy, I have a therapist for that, but as an assignment for my Integrative Seminar class.

We were assigned a coffee, tea, lunch date, to talk with a licensed therapist about what they would have done differently in their journey to licensure and what they would suggest I do.

I reached out to three different therapists in my community and thank God, one of them finally got back to me tonight.

I will meet with her Tuesday after I wrap with my client.

Fortunately I had a cancellation that night so I will be getting done about the same time, it’s not an additional hour on top of having seen two clients.

And.

She works in the same building as my internship, so I will only have to go to her office and hang out and ask her a few questions and be able to report back to my class what I got out of the interview.

I am so grateful that she got back to me, I was starting to freak out about being able to do the assignment.

And now I have a time and I have the paper written for that class I feel ready for going into the weekend with the class.

The other class I have to write an annotated bibliography.

Not really my cup of tea, but I’ll get it done and I’m fairly hopeful that it won’t take all that much time.

I also have some reading to do for the class.

The professor added up some online content that I haven’t had a chance to dive into yet.

I’m not going to beat myself up about that.

Not tonight.

It was a day.

I did so much work.

I can let myself off the hook.

I can let down my guard a tiny bit and let myself reflect on the work done.

Some of it was super fun work.

Like meeting my best friend for coffee and going to yoga today.

And I didn’t mind my chores either, I went and did a little grocery shopping at the co-op and I made soup for the week for my lunches and I roasted a chicken to have for my dinners.

I met with a ladybug and did the deal.

And then yeah, I hit the paper and knocked out six pages.

The total paper will be thirty pages.

There are four parts and this part was the shortest part of it.

I’ve already written ten pages, so the two combined gives me 16 and leaves 14.

Very doable.

I just need to do seven pages for the next weekend of classes and seven pages following that

And then.

Oh.

Sweet.

Sweet.

Sweet.

Graduation.

I received word that the ceremony will be from 3p.m. to 5p.m.

Which gives me a time frame.

I can invite up to six people.

I have my people chosen.

I am lucky for their support and love.

So lucky.

I have had such a lot of help getting to where I am now.

I have done a lot of the work to get there, but I have also had such support.

One of those supports I met with tonight and got super honest with and did a lot of work with and reading and praying and talking.

Intense heart wrenching work.

I am grateful that I showed up and grateful that I walked through fear.

It is not easy to walk through fear.

I do not know what lies a head but I realize again tonight that I just have to practice having faith.

Fear and faith are very much alike.

Belief in something that you cannot see.

I just tend to get stuck in fear.

I promised myself that I would stay in faith.

In trust, in belief, that I am loved, that I am doing what needs to be done.

It’s scary stuff and I’m just going to have to do it.

I have faith that the outcome will be even more love.

That’s what it’s all about.

Love.

Love.

I can’t put it any other way.

Love and belief that I am being taken care of.

That you are being taken care of.

That the world may not make sense to me right now as I walk down this corridor of experience.

I may feel like I am walking through a dark hallway, not knowing what will happen.

But there is light.

And I will step out into it.

With more love.

More compassion.

And more faith.

God did not bring me this far to drop me on my ass now.

I don’t fucking think so.

Or you.

We are being held.

Taken care of.

And.

Yes.

Darling.

Loved.

I promise.

 

I’ll Just Leave This Right Here

February 9, 2018

For: CARMEN MARTINES

To whom it may concern: I am writing this letter on behalf of Carmen Martines, in strong and unequivocal support for her in applying to the Transformative Inquiry doctoral program. I have known Carmen since she started here in the Master’s Degree ICP Weekend program in 2015. She was remarkable, astute, smart and dedicated then, and she has only gotten better in all the areas of competence, of heart and of relatedness that are central to being a therapist. Carmen has been a consistent, always ready and engaged learner, able to manage course load, timeliness and presence in classes. Evaluations by faculty of her clinical and theoretical work and progress have been consistently high, but more importantly, have emphasized her empathic presence, social justice awareness and interpersonal care. Overall, she makes good choices, works hard at staying personally and interpersonally aware and engaged. I trust her, and truly believe that she will benefit herself, the TID program and the community by getting that doctorate. There are many more positive things I can say about Carmen in support of her application, but I think you get the picture! Please contact me right away if you have any questions or any hesitations about accepting her in this journey! Thank you,

 

Um yeah.

THANK YOU!

So freaking happy when I read this.

I reached out today to my advisor, who also happens to be the head of the department for the program I am in at school, and asked him how my letter of recommendation was coming for my PhD application to the Transformative Inquiry Department at the school I am currently enrolled in as a Masters in Integral Counseling Psychology.

Wow.

I was not expecting the quick response.

And.

The funny thing was that I was so busy at work that I had forgotten I had even reached out to him.

I had this little moment today when I was putting the baby down for a nap that I should check in with my advisor about the letter.

The application to the PhD program is due by the end of this month.

I haven’t done a lot of work on it as of yet.

I have filled out the really basic stuff and I have notified the school that I will be graduating my program in May and thus able to apply to the PhD program.

My transcripts look great.

4.0.

And even if I was to get less than perfect grades for the last semester, it wouldn’t matter, my application will be processed far before I graduate, two months, perhaps even two and a half months before I will wrap my last weekend of classes.

So for all intents and purposes I’m applying with a 4.0 to the program.

Thank you, thank you very much.

I have done a lot of work in the program.

So much.

Intense personal work.

And let me tell you, never was I more grateful for it than tonight.

I had the client session to end all client sessions.

I obviously cannot divulge what happened in session.

Confidentiality.

But.

It was one of the most intense sessions I have ever had, if not the most intense.

I had to work, consciously and with great compassion and awareness of what was happening not just for the client but for myself.

I had to not let myself get swallowed up in the session.

I held my own.

But I have to say, it took some time to shake it off after the session wrapped and the client left.

I did a lot of deep breathing.

I shook myself out.

Literally.

I stood up after writing my progress notes in the file and I shook my arms and legs and stomped my feet and brushed off my arms and prayed.

Then I went to the bathroom and slowly went out to my car.

There was a lot of activity, drug activity, happening on the street, and though I wasn’t parked too near it, I was hyper aware of being a solo woman walking down the street where there were a good-sized group of men using openly.

I got into my car and called a friend of mine in cohort.

I told her what was happening.

Not the contents of the session, again, that’s unethical and illegal, and breaks the client confidentiality.

But.

l was able to share with my friend that I was deregulated and that I had just walked past a bunch of guys using, and I was alone and I just needed to connect with a human.

Thank God for my car.

So, so, so grateful to be warm and safe and able to use the bluetooth to talk to my friend while I drove home.

We caught up, made lunch plans to eat together at the break tomorrow, talked about her kids, my job, life, and by the time I was home and parking my car, I was calm and together.

But wow.

That was one hell of an experience.

Super aware too how much I will have to process with my supervisor on Monday about the session, but for now, well, I can shelf it and attend to getting ready for the weekend of classes.

I am pleased to report my lunch is packed, my books and notebooks and folders are all set, I have my coffee ready to go, all I have to do is take my lunch out of my fridge and put it in my bag and off I go.

I will be taking my scooter to class.

My campus is downtown, a block away from the Twitter HQ.

There is no parking.

None.

Not for a car.

Not on a Friday.

But there is plenty for a scooter.

Parking aside, I also have a lot to do tomorrow.

I’ll be leaving class a little early to go to my first optometry appointment with UCSF.

Then some doing the deal at Irving and 7th and then back to my internship to do a consult with a referral.

I got a referral!

And after.

Dinner with my best friend.

It’s a full day, and a day where I will need to be in multiple places with expediency.

I will need the scooter.

Grateful for the option to use it.

Although, I admit I was sad to park my car, I have gotten so fond of driving her, I even briefly entertained driving it, but to park, if I even found a spot, would be exorbitant.

So, the scooter it is.

I’m ready for classes, all my work done, all my reading, the paper turned in.

I just need to show up and participate.

I can do that.

And if I play my cards right.

I will get my PhD application done this Sunday after I get out of class.

If I don’t, I still have a couple of weeks.

I’m just super happy to have gotten the letter.

It was so nice to read after I got home.

Really.

Really.

Really.

Nice.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

February 3, 2018

The Nourse Theater in Hayes Valley.

COMMENCEMENT!

The date is set, the place has been set, now I just need to get through the next four months of school.

My God.

It is actually going to happen.

I am going to graduate in May!

I’ve never been to the Nourse Theater, but it looks lovely.

I had, for some reason, thought it would be at the Palace of Fine Arts, I seemed to recall having seen photos from a previous cohort’s graduation, but it’s not there and though I love the Palace, I’m happy the commencement ceremonies will be held close to my school.

It feels right somehow.

I’ve a few ideas for what I want to do to celebrate, definitely toss the hat up into the air.

Which reminds me I think I’m going to have to purchase a cap and gown.

An expense I really don’t fucking want to deal with since well I’ll only be wearing it once, but I don’t believe the school rents them.

What I have heard from a few people in my group supervision at my internship, is that folks from previous cohorts may lend them out.

Unfortunately both the people in my group supervision who graduated last year from my same program are a lot shorter than me.

Like, a lot, I wouldn’t be able to fit in a cap and gown that either of them wore.

I’ll suck it up, just one more expense that I wasn’t counting on when I applied to the program.

Like the $5,000 I will have spent on a licenced therapist while I’m in the program.

I love my therapist though, she’s great, also a graduate from the same program that I am in, and I do get her sliding scale fee, $120 an hour, since she knows I’m a student and my school requires that I see a licenced MFT while I’m in practicum.

At first it was really hard to think about spending that kind of money once a week, but having been with her now for 33 sessions, I track them on my Track My Hours BBS app, I can say with not one doubt in my head that it’s been so worth it.

Having an outlet, having support, having a place to explore whatever I’ve been going through while I’ve been in practicum has been such a huge help.

I have worked around a lot of family of origin trauma’s, incest, neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, violence in my family system, with my father, with my step-father, a five-year relationship that went sour and led to being a statistic on domestic violence, my alcohol and drug use, and abuse and subsequent journey into recovery.

It still amazes me that I am sober, that I didn’t do a rehab or a recovery house.

The thought of having to do that scares the living shit out of me, I see a lot of folks in and out of recovery houses and there doesn’t seem to be an answer there.

Perhaps an introduction to a solution, definitely a clean and safe place off the streets, but so often the folks I see from those places don’t seem to have much hope.

Then again, my own perception is probably skewed.

Anyway.

Therapy.

My therapist.

So fucking glad to work with her.

I have worked on self-esteem issues, self-advocacy, self-care, setting boundaries.

I have worked through transference and counter transferences with my clients.

Frankly such a relief to have that as an outlet.

I had a couple of back to back days of intense client sessions.

Really good, don’t get me wrong, but super intense.

Grateful that I get to show up for my clients and be a good therapist.

At least I think I’m good.

The feedback has been good, both from my supervisors and from my clients, but my God, there’s always so much more to learn.

And then there’s all the learning that I have done.

All the work that I have done over the last two and a half years, so much work, so much processing, so much learning, so many articles and books and videos, so, so, so many fucking papers, so much practice, so much showing up, being vulnerable, leaning into the vulnerability and growing.

Painful growth and glorious growth and heartbreaking growth.

I can’t wait to graduate.

The ritual is important for me.

I know it will probably be boring as hell, but there is something here that needs to be done for me, an enactment, the crossing of the stage, the flipping the tassel on my cap from one side to the other, to signify that I have graduated.

I need that ceremony.

It feels very important to me to acknowledge the rite of passage.

And I want to have a party.

I really, really do.

I really have thought quite a bit about having it at Ocean Beach, a bonfire, blankets in the sand, some snacks, I don’t really care about food, but some cold bevvies in a cooler, all non-alcoholic thank you.

I think it would be easier for me to facilitate than making reservations for a big dinner party somewhere.

It’s not so much the food that’s important, it’s the people.

I see a big bundle of balloons on the beach, a bonfire, and a bunch of folks standing around and hanging out, simple, easy, sweet.

The only drawback to Ocean Beach is that the beach doesn’t really have bathrooms, there are port-a-potties, but that’s it.

Then again, like I can’t handle that, how many times have I gone to Burning Man?

Heh.

I did have it suggested that I have it at my house, and there’s some appeal there and also not, I can’t decide.  I could have a fire in the back yard, there’s a fire pit, there are tables and chairs and the yard is big enough to accommodate plenty of folks, and there’s a bathroom.

I’d probably need to clear it with the landlady, but I can’t think that she would say no.

There’s also a grill I could use.

I just get a little edgy about having people come in and out of my house, but then again, it could be sweet.

Oh, so many things to plan.

But not right yet.

Not right now.

Now is time for sleep.

It’s been a long week.

Grateful that I made it through.

Grateful for all the love in my life.

So.

Deeply.

Deeply.

Grateful.

For all the love.

 

How The Hell

January 19, 2018

Did that happen?

I’m back in school tomorrow.

I just printed off my syllabus for a class.

I haven’t read a thing, not that there was a thing to read, not that I’m aware of, there probably is a thing or fifteen that I’m supposed to read, but the syllabus that was up for the class I printed off doesn’t technically have text books that I have to buy.

I’ll be using materials from previous classes.

It’s called Integrative Seminar and it’s like a master’s thesis class in which I will expound upon all the learning I have done in the past years of work.

I have learned a lot.

A lot.

“Carmen, sometimes that’s the hardest thing,” my therapist said recently, “you have done the emotional work and you are aware and you are educated and it can be really hard to see things that other people haven’t seen for themselves.”

Ayup.

I mean.

Then again, it’s always easier to see someone else’s problems, they’re not yours, so you’re not invested, it’s a different perspective.

My “problems” are mine and special.

I mean, hello, they’re mine, of course they’re special.

But.

The learning, it has been a lot and I have become very self-aware.

What works for me, what doesn’t, how my emotions are not something to be afraid of but signs to point me in the way I need to be going.

I don’t always care for emotions.

Oh.

That’s not true.

I like some of them a lot.

A LOT.

Happiness.

Love.

Although love has a wicked back-handed sting of pain to it at times that will throttle the breath right out of my body and make me feel like my heart is on fire.

But, um, yeah, love.

It’s so good, it’s so delicious, I want more and more and more.

I usually have to really cultivate it in myself though, how I take care of myself, how I am gentle with myself (not always so good at that, work in progress, you know), how I feed myself, or let myself rest or be kind, like say nice things about myself and acknowledge the work I do.

I mean.

The work.

A lot of that.

Other emotions I like.

Joy.

Excitement.

Affection.

Awe.

Love me some awe.

Hope is a good one too.

Elation.

I like to be elated.

Euphoria.

That one’s super fun.

Wonder.

Ecstasy.

Ooh, yeah, I like that.

I mean.

Those are fantastic emotions, I’m all over those.

But some others.

Meh.

Not so much.

Jealousy.

Anger.

Fear.

Worry.

Sadness.

Oh woe is me, I do not like the sads.

Melancholia, which is just sadness with a fancy name.

Frustration.

Envy.

Lust.

Well, heh, maybe I do like some lust.

It’s well.

Lusty.

Ahem.

Humiliation.

Pity.

Fear.

I do not like the fear thing not a bit, not at all.

Yet.

I have all of those emotions too.

The nice thing is knowing that I am allowed to hold more than one emotion at a time, in fact I can hold many and do at any given minute or moment of the day.

Sadness and love and fear and lust and anxiety today.

As well as happiness and contentment and sorrow and grief.

A great big mixing bowl of feelings.

Hey there, look at that, I’m in psychology, the “science” of soul suffering.

What is it about the soul and the suffering and the journey of it all?

I suspect it’s about love and whether or not I let myself have it, let it in, allow myself to be loved, to accept I’m lovable, enough, that I deserve all the best and most wonderful things and to act in those interests.

Not something I have always been able to do so well.

The neat thing, yes, I said neat, about all this learning to become a therapist is that I get to work on myself, so this Integrative Seminar class should be a good way for me to look back over the last few years and measure, really see, how much I have grown.

The other class.

Well.

The syllabus was not up so I am not worried about having to have read anything for the class.

I have gotten one of the books the professor e-mailed the class about and I’ll bring that with.

I’ve got class from 9a.m. to 4p.m. then I’ll be heading off to my internship at seeing a consultation for therapy and a doing a phone session with a client.

Then.

It’s officially Friday.

Dinner with my best friend and connection, conversation, life, goals, love, shoes and ships and sealing wax, cabbages and kings.

All the things.

It’s a full and busy weekend for me.

I also have to go into the dentist on Saturday and get my permanent crown put in.

I’ll be leaving school a little early on Saturday to get to my dentist appointment by 4p.m.

And I just realized.

Sigh.

That I won’t really have a day off until next Saturday, which isn’t necessarily true either, I’ll have group supervision that day, but it will feel like a day off.

It’s always a long run of days when I’m in a weekend of school.

But this is it.

The last semester to my Masters program.

The final push!

I will be meeting with my advisor tomorrow at lunch to talk about graduation and also to get my letter of recommendation for the PhD program in Transformative Psychology.

That is still definitely on the burner for me.

Whew.

Glad I’ve got my books and folders and notebooks and syllabi all set.

Lunch is packed too.

I just need to figure out what to wear.

First day of school fashion crisis.

I suspect, though, that as long as I show up, it will all be fine.

That’s half the battle, isn’t it?

Just showing up.

Super grateful to be walking into this last semester with a full and thankful heart for the process that has brought me here to where I am today.

I’ve come a long way.

Baby.

I really fucking have.

Reading The Fine Print

January 9, 2018

I just went through the handbook for my Master’s program with a fine tooth comb.

The one thing that I have found challenging in my program is the apparent lack of information as well as the over abundance of information.

I feel like there is so much information that just is not applicable to my experience or the learning and then there’s information that I really need, but it’s buried on page 41 of the 50 page handbook.

I’m glad I found it though.

I have gotten a mixed bag of mis-information from fellows in my cohort as well as interns in my group supervision about how many hours I need to have accrued in practicum to graduate.

I need 225 to graduate.

Of those hours I must have 150 direct client hours–sessions with my clients, not phone sessions or e-mails or paperwork or progress work–face to face sessions.

I had thought that I needed 250 direct hours and I was beginning to get a little nervous.

I should not have any problems getting the hours.

Or so I thought.

I have eight clients that I see on a weekly basis.

But.

They cancel.

Or.

They no-show.

And it’s rare, I’m seeing quite clearly now as I just got home early because a client no-showed, that I actually see all eight clients during the week.

So when I was thinking I needed 250 direct face to face hours by May, I started to get concerned.

I won’t make it, it won’t happen, how is that possible?

How is it possible that I am heading into my third semester of practicum and don’t have enough hours?

How?

As of right now I have 240 hours.

But only 130 of them are direct face to face hours.

I felt flummoxed and upset and annoyed and then I begin to berate myself.

Why did I post that stupid thing about graduating in May and filling out my graduation application?

I’m not going to graduate!

Whoa.

Slow down there.

I don’t have enough information.

I realized that I cannot just go on the information drifting about through the hallways at school or in the office where I do my group supervision.

I have to take responsibility and find out that myself.

So I went to the academics page on the school’s website, signed into my account, found my program.

And.

Voila!

There on page 46 of the 49 page hand book:

Students must complete a minimum of 225 hours [at least 150 direct client contact hours plus 75 Client-Centered Advocacy (CCA) hours] while enrolled in practicum prior to graduation.

Sweet Jesus.

I am fucking fine.

I am only twenty hours shy of having the direct client contact hours.

As for client centered advocacy I don’t have nearly that much, I have six hours.

But I do know this much, it doesn’t matter if I don’t get all the client centered advocacy hours, if I have more direct client hours, I can count those towards graduation.

Ultimately it is the face to face sessions that mean the most and I have to acquire the majority of my hours there.

And I also recognize that I could be actively going after more CCA hours as well.

Client centered advocacy could be doing research on a client and their family lineage, it could be watching a movie about alcoholics, it could be reading a CAMFT (California Assoication of Marriage Family Therapists) magazine or a psychology magazine.

Today I actually had some down time at work, and while the baby napped I read a number of articles in a psychology magazine on workaholism and chuckled to myself, multi-tasking, working and also accruing hours, sounds like I’m the workaholic in this instance.

But I’m happy I did the reading as I had that no-show and I was able to mark down another hour.

I think that I will try to acquire two hours of CCA per week as I move forward, more if I can.

I can also read outside articles, books, and go to seminars and do trainings.

But just knowing that I actually have enough moving forward is a bit of a relief.

I was getting a little worried.

I also realize that I am probably going to have to let one client go with whom I have been doing pre-dominantly phone sessions.

I am not allowed to count Telemedicine through my school.

I can towards my license, but not towards my graduation needs.

I want to be safe and make sure that I’m not squandering my time.

I am excited and relieved to have reckoned all of that out and grateful for a really good talk with my solo supervisor today.

Who happened to be quite intrigued with my dissertation idea and to my surprise, completely supports me going for the PhD.

I told him I had actually had hesitation to even mention that I was going to apply for the PhD because I thought he might disapprove of my decision.

But he did not.

And it was amazing to sit and talk to him about my ideas and to also get some really interesting feedback from him and some areas where I will be honing in more.

I made a call to the Dean of the Transformative department after I got out of supervision.

I wasn’t able to talk to her, she was stuck in a budget meeting, but I left a message and I will follow-up tomorrow.

My advisor got back to me and said he would support my efforts and write me a letter of recommendation and we made an appointment to meet the first weekend of classes.

It’s all falling together.

Even when my brain tells me it’s not.

It really is.

So nice.

So.

Very.

Very.

Very.

Nice.


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