Posts Tagged ‘Integral Counseling Psychology’

The Last Moments

December 18, 2018

Of my 45th year.

Tomorrow is my birthday.

I will be 46 years old.

It’s a surreal number.

Really.

All of them have been a touch on the surreal side ever since passing 40.

But now, well, as I edge closer to 50 than 40 and my body slowly starts to fall apart, I can say yeah, I’m getting old.

Well.

At least older.

And I’m not kidding about the body thing.

I mean.

I can still shake my booty on the dance floor, or in my house as it stands, I just did some dancing to a really lovely remix of “Take You for a Ride on a Big Jet Plane” and I really did break it out.

But.

The signs of getting older are there.

Despite wearing my hair up in gigantic poufs today and donning pink glitter eyeshadow.

I don’t have clients on Mondays after my nanny gig, so I like to play a little with the makeup and the hair.

But you know.

There’s some wrinkles underneath that glitter and there’s definitely some grey hair in those poufs.

And, you know.

I’m ok with it.

I like who I am.

I have worked really fucking hard to get here and my body has managed to carry me through.

So what if it looks like it’s been well-traveled, it has.

Every wrinkle and grey hair a testament to how far I have come.

I did have a moment though, last night, when I was getting ready for bed and I was like, enough with all the stuff.

My aesthetician did some work to remove a patch of collagen that has been bothering me for years recently and I have to touch it up every night and morning to make sure it goes all the way away and I have begun washing my face with actual cleansing foam instead of soap.

She was horrified when I told her I washed my face with soap.

I felt like I was getting scolded by my mom.

So now, I use some cleansing foam and yes, I always use sunblock, she made that a big ass deal years ago.

God.

I sound all sorts of bougie right now.

I hadn’t seen my aesthetician for eight or nine years, I used to go to her when I had really bad cystic acne.

That is one nice thing of getting older, that damn acne finally went away, but I had it well into my early thirties.

In the last few years I have noticed my skin getting a tiny bit dryer and last year I noticed that I had stopped getting black heads at all.

I used to still get those guys.

It seems that the oil in my skin is drying up.

So now I use moisturizer too.

I’m sure these are things most women much younger than me are doing, but you know, I’m a simple lady with the routines, so this adding in of stuff feels new.

And.

Now I’m wearing a night guard at night so I don’t crack any more fucking teeth and have to get any more crowns.

No thank you.

But it’s weird.

And I have to remember to put it in at night, adding another thing I need to do, on top of also taking my reflux meds.

I swallowed the three tiny pills and popped my mouth guard in and snorted.

It has begun.

I’m taking pills at night and wearing a night guard next thing you know I’ll be wearing Depends.

Ugh.

Anyway.

I’m a lucky bitch and I know it.

I don’t look my age, so now that Mother Nature is actually showing me that I’m not immune to this whole getting older thing, I just want to respect it and embrace it.

I don’t want to struggle against it.

I’m going to be 46 in the morning.

And if it’s anything like 45’s been, it’s going to be a pretty damn good year.

In my 45th year I graduated with a Masters in Integral Counseling Psychology.

I traveled to D.C., New York, Paris, and Marseilles.

I got hired at a private practice internship and started subletting an office space as a licenced Associate Marriage Family Therapist.

I danced.

I sang in my car a lot.

I took walks on the beach.

I loved really, really, really hard.

I cried a lot.

I wrote a lot of poetry.

I started my first semester of a PhD program.

I’m one week away from finishing the semester!  I just posted my final discussion post and turned in my final project for my Creative Inquiry Scholarship for the 21st Century class.

It’s been a damn good year.

I’m happy with who I am and where I’m going, even if I cannot see the final destination, I don’t really need to know that anyway.

Oh!

And I moved!

I went through a buyout and walked through a tremendous amount of fear.

I bought my first ever couch.

And it’s pink velvet, so there.

I’ve done a lot of therapy work and feel better about myself and supported in the work i do as a therapist as well.

I bought art from friends.

I pushed myself out of my school, nanny, internship shell and got back into the fellowship in San Francisco a bit more.

I ate a lot of apples.

I like apples.

I wrote a lot of Morning Pages.

I wrote a few blogs, not as many as I might have considering the issues I had there for a while.  But huzzah!  I have, with much help, gotten the two sites separated and I was happy to post my first blog on my therapy site tonight.

I’ve had a damn good year.

I’m a very lucky girl.

Or woman.

I suppose at 46 it’s time to really step into that women role.

Well.

Except when I wear my bunny slippers.

I don’t care how old I get, I’ll probably always wear bunny slippers.

heh.

So here’s to making it alive, sober, abstinent, happy, joyous, and motherfucking free, one more time around the sun.

Thanks 45, it’s been fun.

Bring on 46.

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Dorked Out!

March 21, 2018

I am totally all geeked out.

I literally just cooked dinner in my cap and gown for graduation.

Hehehehee.

They came in the mail today!

It’s really really real.

I’m graduating.

It still feels surreal.

I also put the hood on backwards, and then laughed my ass off at myself as I stood in the hallway to my studio admiring myself.

In my bunny slippers.

I will probably wear different shoes to the ceremony.

Probably.

Heh.

My slippers are cute.

But who the hell would take me seriously in my slippers?

They are cozy little things, but perhaps not to walk the stage as I receive my diploma for my Master’s Degree in Integral Counseling Psychology.

I’m so excited to graduate.

It has been such a journey.

I still can’t quite believe it’s happening.

Like that horrible nightmare I used to have every once in a while that I hadn’t actually graduated from high school and I have to go back and take some test or turn in some assignment still.

No fucking thank you.

I received the official invitation to graduate from the school yesterday.

That was nice.

Really nice.

I still have hoops to jump through and forms that will need to be signed, but academically, everything is set, I’ve been cleared to graduate.

I will have to turn in my therapy form–my program requires that I do a year of therapy with a licensed MFT while I am in practicum.

A requirement that I was upset with for a little while, not the therapy part so much, but that I would have to be with a licensed MFT which costs quite a bit more than working with a trainee.

Then again.

I really like my therapist.

She’s great.

And.

Man.

We did some work today.

I sat down and said and today we’re going to talk about ______________.

And we did and it was good and I got some perspective and a different frame then what I had expected and I was super grateful for that.

Sometimes I just need someone else’s perspective.

My perspective is not always true.

And often misleading or anxiety inducing.

My therapist gave me a very different way of seeing things and for that I am so very grateful.

And.

I was able to forward that experience onto a client tonight.

I didn’t disclose my therapy session to my client, rather, I just helped my client see things different.

And the response was great.

I am always so happy when I get to be of service and help someone see something that they couldn’t on their own.

Therapy is work and anyone who tells you different is lying.

It’s hard work.

But.

Fuck.

It so pays off.

Frankly, everyone could use therapy.

I mean, who couldn’t use a person to sit and empathetically listen to them for an hour once a week?

It’s so nice to be able to talk about all the crap in my head and get it sorted and processed and let it go and not stuff emotions and have feelings and see what they are and how I want to move through the world.

Therapy has such great value for me and I am so pleased that I get to be a therapist and I get to help my clients and it really moves me when they get something from the work I do with them.

It’s work on both ends.

Which is exciting.

And I get to constantly learn things.

I had a huge amount of stuff come up around a client yesterday in my supervision then I met with the client in the evening and just sitting there and being with them and using all the work I had done earlier in the day was so gratifying.

It was amazing.

It can be hard.

I won’t lie.

Sometimes I think wow, this is some hard work, but it is so good to be helpful to others.

I am happy that I have found a career that lets me do that.

Of course, I have that too with my nanny career, but this feels bigger and feels like I will have more impact.

Although I do not, by any means, disparage the work I do with children, nor how important it is.

It is really fucking important.

My little monkeys mean so much to me.

And that I get paid to love, well, that is super special.

And I will get paid to love too, as a therapist, that’s one of my biggest goals, to provide my clients with love, empathy, kindness, to help, it’s a different kind of loving relationship than a romantic union or a friendship, it is a special relationship because of confidentiality and knowing that there will be times, many times, when the client needs to work out something and that something is going to be hard to hold.

But I get to try to and in the trying I learn and in the learning I grow.

It’s really a lovely relationship full of reciprocity and though, no, I wouldn’t call it altruistic, there is something of that flavor to it as well.

I never thought this would really happen.

Me, graduating from a Master’s degree program.

Although it was something I always knew I wanted, I never quite knew how it wold happen.

But you know.

I had faith.

And

It’s actually happening.

Really.

REALLY.

Happening.

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!

And It’s Done!

February 27, 2018

I did it.

I got my PhD application in before the deadline–which is the end of this month.

I finished all my writing yesterday and sent the rest of the needed application materials into the admissions department at CIIS.

California Institute for Integral Studies.

Where I am currently in the end stage of my Master’s in Integral Counseling Psychology.

I graduate in May!

And fingers crossed I’ll be back in school in September.

Yesterday I had a lot of things cooking, but I was able to get everything done, well, haha, except for the cooking.

I mean, I roasted a standard Sunday chicken while I was meeting with a couple of ladies and doing the deal, but I didn’t get to make the soup I had planned on making, I was too busy finishing up the application.

Saturday I got back from being out and about and sat down and figured out how to get into my transcripts for UW Madison and once that happened, it was as though a little magic wand had been waved and I just kept taking the next step in front of me, and the next and the next.

I got the transcripts ordered-rush delivery.

I received notification from UW Madison yesterday early evening that my transcripts were in the mail, which means they will be at CIIS by tomorrow–I did a two-day rush.

Then.

I looked up my resume and tweaked it to reflect what has happened since I had last used it to apply to my practicum/internship site.

It was nice to update it and fingers crossed, it will be the last time I have to put together an academic resume.

Polished it up, submitted it.

And.

Then.

Yes.

I worked on finding the paper that I was going to submit as my example of my academic writing.

I ended up using a paper from my Transpersonal Spirituality class and I did a good clean edit on it, fluffed it out a little, and made it shine.

Then.

Yup.

I submitted that too.

Which only left me the goal statement and the autobiographical statement to do yesterday.

That was still some substantial work, nine pages in toto, but it was such a relief to have done what I’d done to do the back-end work on the application that I wasn’t so worried.

Still.

It did take up all the time I had left between meeting with the ladies and then going up to the Castro to do the deal with my person and to cover my new Sunday night commitment.

I was literally flying out the door to make my 5:30p.m. appointment.

But.

I was flying out the door walking on air, as I had wrapped up the writing and submitted the final two pieces of work.

All summed up: electronic application, 3 pages, resume, 1 page, goal statement, 3 pages, autobiographical statement, 6 pages,  two letters of recommendation, and one sample of my academic writing–10 pages.

That was a full weekend of work and I still went to group supervision, did the deal and got in yoga sessions.

I am pretty fucking proud of myself.

Albeit tired.

Today, though, when I woke up I knew that there were still a few loose ends to wrap up.

First I was concerned that the application never prompted me to pay the $65 processing fee.

Second, I was also worried about my CIIS transcripts getting to CIIS in time.

Funny, but true.

So I sent the dean of the program an e-mail this morning, as well as the admissions office to get clarity and see if there were any other actions I needed to take to process my application before the deadline.

And.

There’s nothing else to do!

Turns out that as I’m an alum.

(Oh my God!  I’m an alum!  I really am fucking graduating with my Master’s degree!)

I am not being charged the processing fee.

It’s waived!

Fuck yeah.

That rather took the sting out of the money I had dropped to get the transcripts.

Second.

The director of the program and the dean both said the same thing, your transcripts will get to us on time, do not worry about it, that the processing agency will get them to the school before the deadline.

Further.

Yes!

That all my application materials were received and noted.

And.

Yay!

That they had everything they needed, the letters of recommendation, and all my materials had all successfully gotten through and it was noted that my application was complete.

I am over the moon.

What I was told by the dean of the program is that they will take a few weeks to go through the applications but that they generally will start interviews by mid March and have made decisions by the end of March.

I’ll pretty much know whether or not I got in within this next month!

I told my supervisor today that I had the sense that I was going to get in.

He agreed with me.

We spend a lot of time talking about what the next few months looks like for me as I will be wrapping up my supervision with him when I graduate.

He asked me about what was next, whether I was looking towards private practice internships and how was I going to get my child and family hours.

I will admit I got a little overwhelmed.

But we were able to have a good conversation about it once I was able to talk about what was coming up for me.

So much of it has to do with the fact of continuing to keep my job so that I have income to live in San Francisco.

My job covers cost of living in the city and though I have a modest life I have a very nice little life.

I couldn’t afford to take on an internship, even a paid one, unless it was as much as I make as a nanny.

I make substantially more than most interns fresh out of their Master’s programs make.

And a lot of the internships aren’t paid.

There’s a great one with Kaiser I was considering, although I am sure the paperwork would be horrendous, until I saw that it only pays $18.45/hour.

No fucking way I can live on that.

I’ll be staying in my job unless something shifts.

Which means that I will probably stay at my practicum site, continue on as an associate there, get as many hours as I can, and then pick up an internship somewhere in the school system, hopefully doing work before class, so I can go to work right thereafter.

I’m not going to get to far ahead of myself.

I did plenty of that this morning.

Rather.

I am just going to take this moment and really let myself enjoy the fact that I have officially applied for a Doctoral program.

I fucking did it!

I applied for a Doctorate!

Tired

March 23, 2017

But.

In a good way.

I got up at 6:30 a.m.

I didn’t get my full night’s sleep, but I got close, I had been up later than I wanted to the night previous, so I was ready for bed when it came last night, but my thoughts were busy being annoying, it took a little while to drop of.

But when I did.

Holy shit

I did.

Slept like a rock.

Grateful for that and that I don’t hesitate to getting out of bed when the alarm goes off, I don’t hit the snooze, I just get the fuck up.

I  read somewhere once that snooze actually back fires on you and it’s better to just get up and go, of course I could just be making that up, but that’s what I do.

I get the fuck up.

I got dressed.

I put on my interview shoes.

I peeped the weather.

Fuck yes!

The rain cleared and I was able to take the cover off my scooter and ride it down to my interview today with my new supervisor.

Yes.

That’s correct, my new supervisor.

I have another.

Score!

Very, very, very happy about that.

It’s a small piece, but I piece I needed to address and I’m so grateful to have it taken care of

And actually.

Scratch that.

It is a big deal and it was more than just a small piece, I put in some work to find this person, co-ordinate my schedule with him, ask questions, collaborate with the practicum placement office and do my homework.

And I showed up.

On time.

Early.

I found motorcycle parking by the Ritual Coffee house in Hayes Valley and I had a full punch card from when I was nannying by the Ritual in the Mission, so I scored a free latte and happily traipsed over to the office on the corner of Fell and Gough.

I let myself in using the code and went up the stairs.

I paced around the waiting room, paid the bathroom an unnecessary visit, just in case, and practiced breathing.

Then.

I met him.

My new supervisor.

We went into his office and talked for an hour.

I told him a little bit about me, how I came into the program, what I was planning on doing with the degree, first my MFT (Marriage & Family Therapist) license, then eventually my PhD in Psychology.

I told him about having taken one class as an undergraduate and then what happened when I was at Burning Man, yes that is where I decided to go to grad school, and how that experience unfolded and led to me applying to CIIS (California Institute of Integral Studies), how I balance my recovery with my work, and where I will be doing my practicum hours at.

We had talked for about a half hour when, and I’m not sure exactly when the shift happened, but it happened, and there I was saying, “well I hope that I will be working with you,” and then.

Then.

Then he looked at me, almost surprised, “oh absolutely, the slot is yours.”

Thank you God.

I opened up my binder and handed over my paperwork that I needed him to sign and yes.

He signed them.

Thank God.

And handed them back to me, I felt like I was handling precious metals and jewels so carefully and reverentially I put back those papers, 3/4s filled out, I just need my school advisor and the head of the department to sign off.

He’s one and the same for me, so that should be pretty easy.

Actually.

I should e-mail him too, set up a time to make sure that I had them to him, he signs, then I walk over to the practicum office and hand them off.

God damn it will feel so good to have this all sorted.

It basically is.

And I like my new supervisor quite a bit.

He happened to intern with my favorite professor, which was a serendipitous conversation, he’s psychodynamically inclined, also a hot modality for me, and he went through the same program that I am going through, so he has experience with the school.

Although he admitted he’d not worked with any interns that were getting their hours through the site I’m at.

And we talked about that.

And we talked about my schedule and we set our first date to do the work.

I will begin with him on Monday, April 24th.

I will meet with him once a week for three semesters while I am in school.

Every Monday morning at 9 a.m. for one summer semester, one fall semester, and one spring semester.

Three total semesters of practicum must be compete for me to graduate.

I will graduate from the program in May 20018.

And I’ll get to walk with that graduating class complete in my practicum.

A lot of folks don’t start their practicum until next fall semester, the majority of my cohort, from what I can tell will be starting then,  and they’ll be able to walk, but not graduate officially until after finishing the summer of 2018 practicum.

I will circumnavigate that and be free to walk as a graduate.

I am so down with that I can barely breathe.

I mean.

It’s a hell of a lot of work.

But.

As it was suggested to me today.

“Take a minute and appreciate what you accomplished today,” she admonished me over the phone, “don’t just jump into the next thing to be anxious about.”

Gah.

I know, right?

Because I was so ready to go there, but there is no there there.

I am allowed to enjoy this moment, this work has been, well, work, and I deserve to acknowledge to myself that I have been showing up to it and meeting it and matching it.

And I have a phone interview in the morning before work to secure a therapist.

Fingers crossed that will be taken care of tomorrow and then.

Shit.

I can go back to just “worrying” about my homework.

Bwhaahahaha.

Sigh.

I did that too, today, I did homework on my lunch break.

Maybe I take myself out to do something sweet this weekend, really take a moment to let myself enjoy what I have done over the last week and a half.

It’s been a lot and it is an accomplishment.

Yes.

There is more work to do.

But.

For right now.

Let me just.

Take.

A fucking.

Moment.

You did good today kid, you really did.

Seriously.


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