Posts Tagged ‘MFT’

Being Proactive

July 9, 2018

I got a lot done today!

I also forgot a couple of times what day of the week it is.

Heh.

It is not often that I have the luxury of forgetting what day of the week it is, but I did today.

It was sort of nice to just do the next thing in front of me and let go of the results.

Life goes pretty smooth when I do that.

I am happy to report I got up and went to yoga.

Two days in a row!

And despite having the next few days “free” in the mornings, I won’t make another yoga class until Thursday or possibly Friday.

The classes available don’t quite fit my schedule.

A schedule that does have a few time slots of delicious opening, but that I have made some time to see friends and do lunches, grab coffees, catch up and connect.

I’d rather connect with friends right now than worry about making another yoga class appear in my schedule.

Suffice to say.

I am glad I went though, it felt good and I felt good for going.

I also did meet with a lady today and do the deal and I got a lot of work done to apply for the paid internship that I have been researching.

Namely.

I updated my resume for the position and I reached out to two supervisors to write me letters of recommendation.

Both gave me a resounding yes they would be happy to do so.

That felt really good.

I’m about half way done with what the application requires for the internship.

There’s a lot they want to see.

The rest of it is a matter of sitting down and doing some writing and figuring out a mission statement for myself and my vision of a private practice.

Fortunately, in my last semester one of my classes, Integrative Seminar, made a big point about this and I feel like all I have to do is go back through the notes I took to be able to give the internship what it’s looking for.

I also have to do a business plan.

That feels a little more challenging, but they have some templates and I’ve been reading over everything and I believe I can come up with something that will do the job.

It is certainly good practice no matter what comes of it.

I do feel good about the internship though, my friend whom I spoke to about it really felt that I would be a good fit and after speaking with her, I feel the same.

I also have to acknowledge that in the 8 days since I found out the internship that I thought I would have had fallen through I have done a lot of footwork to find a new one.

I have researched and reached out.

I had a coffee date to sit with my friend and find out if it was a good fit for me.

I reached out to two supervisors for letters of recommendation.

I also reached out to the woman who I was going to intern with and asked her if she still had any interest in renting out office space to me.

I don’t know that it makes sense for me to rent my own office.

In fact.

I don’t think that I could afford it.

Hell.

When I look at what’s available on craigslist as I navigate through my current living situation, I can’t afford what’s out there to rent, let alone a full-time office space.

The best bet for me is to do what my friend does, she shares the office she works out of with another therapist.  She’s in her office two days a week with clients, the other five days the licensed MFT is using it.

I figure that the woman who was going to supervise me does have office space availability, I mean she did when we talked and unless something has changed she probably still does.

Thus the email inquiry.

I also asked if she might still want to supervise me, but under the auspices of the internship who would pay her the rent on the office and pay her a fee for supervision and then the internship with take out admin fees from my account and whatever is left over would be my paycheck.

It will probably take some months before I even get money, but if I do it right and I work at it in a steady way, I could be making a decent amount after about half a year.

Not enough to quit being a nanny, not by far, but enough to help pay the bills and maybe go down to part-time nannying instead of full-time.

Of course.

I also have my school program coming up to contend with.

I have been thinking it will be much like my Masters degree the last year of it, working pretty much full-time as a nanny for my current family, seeing clients after work, and then doing my homework on the weekends.

I will slowly accrue hours.

And that will be alright.

As long as I’m not stagnating.

It’s work, but work towards an end goal.

And I really like being a therapist.

It feels good and right and it feels like this is how I bring more love into the world.

I saw the Mister Rogers movie, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” today with my person.

It was so good.

I was so happy he persuaded me to put aside our recovery work for an afternoon and just go duck into a movie theater and watch an amazing movie.

If you haven’t seen it, go!

It was astounding.

And I grew up watching Mister Rogers, so it felt especially poignant.

I also appreciated it and the principles of spirituality, basic child psychology, inclusion, and love that he was obviously basing his life work around.

It was a beautiful movie and I left feeling hopeful and happy that as things progress it’s all going to work out.

I just have to keep love in my heart and be honest in my person.

I have faith I can do that.

I really do.

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Shaky Hands

June 10, 2018

I actually had some nerves today.

Oh.

I suppose, I have a touch of anxiety all the time, but I do manage it for the most part decently, but today, I noticed, shit, my hands are actually trembling.

Big.

Deep.

Breath.

Everything is ok

And of course it was.

Everything was fabulous, but I was still nervous.

I was putting together all the pieces for my BBS application for my AMFT#.

This number which will prove to the therapy world in general that I actually graduated from an accredited university with a program that fulfills all the BBS requirements for eventual licensure.

Graduated with a 4.0 to boot.

Not that I think any of my clients are every going to ask what my GPA is, none have so far.

I certainly didn’t think about asking my therapist that, didn’t cross my mind.

Didn’t really need to.

I know she’s licensed and she was transparent with me and let me know that she had gone to CIIS as well, which was so helpful, has continued to be helpful, and she has become such a resource for me.

She was an advocate for me going after a private practice internship and she told me point-blank that she would refer clients to me.

That’s probably a better recommendation for a client to know than my GPA.

Granted.

I am damn proud of it, I worked my ass off to get through his program and I got through.

And sitting at my table watching the YouTube instructional video on how to fill out my BBS application really brought it all together.

How much work to get to this point.

Filling out this huge application.

Getting LiveScan fingerprinting, which basically goes to the DOJ and the FBI and then to the BBS to find out if I have anything wonky on my record, which, of course I don’t.

I mean.

I have been background checked for two different nanny jobs, plus my school’s program requires it before I am allowed to go into practicum, as I would be seeing clients, so I knew nothing was going to come up.

But the DOJ and the FBI?

Wowzers.

Next to the stack of application were my two envelopes stamped “Do Not Open” in bright red block letters, from my school.

One envelope held my transcripts.

The other envelope held the program requirements and verified that my program met all BBS requirements, like that I took Child/Elder/Spousal Abuse, or Psychopharmacology, and of course the big guy, the class on the DSM V.

Attached to the application was also my passport photo that I got at the Walgreens in the Castro last Saturday.

“You’re really pretty,” the young woman said who took my photo.

Thanks sugar, I was busy scrutinizing the furrowed lines in my brow and wondering if they had come about from all the reading that I had done over the last three years.

Then.

Another check, this time made out to the Behavioral Sciences Fund.

I don’t have a clue what that funds, but hey, here’s some money.

Now please.

Process my application and get my number to be ASAP!

Please and thank you.

And when I was in group supervision today I found out that the turn around time on the AMFT# is far quicker than I had thought.

I was told I would probably get my number in a month!

Holy cats.

So.

I let said cat out of the bag and told my supervision group that I had obtained a private practice internship and I would be leaving them for her.

It was really nice to receive the congratulations and the acknowledgement of the work that I have done and also that I was super lucky, one of the members in my group has done work with my soon to be supervisor and we both gushed about her.

It was good timing to, for me, to find this out, because it started me in the mode of what I will do next to wrap up with my clients.

I will begin telling them soon, giving them all the opportunity to find closure with me and also that I will be available to them if they want to continue working with me.

It feels super great too that any clients that opt to come with me will be able to continue to go to the same facility.

I won’t be moving at all.

I will just be in a different office, instead of in a different office every night.

So.

Yes.

I noticed the shaky hands and I told myself it was ok, that I was doing great, that I had it all filled out correctly and if I had somehow fucked it up that would be ok too.

But I don’t think that I did.

I am pretty damn sure I crossed all my t’s and dotted all the i’s.

I headed to the mid Sunset and dropped it all into a fat envelope and spent the extra money, as the YouTube video insisted that I do, for tracking and I sent it certified mail so that it is signed for and I will now when they receive it.

I was told they would get it by Monday!

Holy crap.

So.

Sometime in July, fingers crossed, I shall get my AMFT# and I will be able to make the transition to the other internship.

An internship that I am very ready for.

I also called CAMFT and talked to a person there about what my supervisor and I need to do to set up the private practice internship.

I was given really good suggestions and directed to an article on the topic.

I will be reading that soon.

I have a “next steps” meeting with my new supervisor July 11.

I can’t wait.

I don’t know if I will have my number in hand.

But I know I will have it awfully soon.

And hopefully I will have a steady hand when I open the envelope from the BBS.

Fuck.

Who cares.

I certainly won’t.

But I might whoop with glee.

I have done that a few times today.

It feels so good to take positive actions.

So.

So.

So.

Good.

Summer

June 6, 2018

Or so it seems when I am on social media.

Not that San Francisco is exactly its normal summer beast of fog and cold wind, though, true, it’s been quite windy, it’s just not really warm.

Although I did catch a bit of sun this past weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about how it’s “summer vacation.”

It doesn’t quite feel like that.

I mean.

I got up, went to therapy, worked a full day at work, then saw clients at my internship.

It does not scream summer vacation.

I keep getting this cute, well-meaning messages about enjoy all the time you have now that you’re not in school!

Sure.

And I can’t complain, there is a feeling of easing into this moment of not having to write a paper or get something signed or run around to this supervisor or that, but I still have things to do.

Tomorrow I will get my fingerprints taken with LiveScan and then I am one step closer to turning in my application to the BBS.

I’m really happy to have the process moving along.

The faster I can get that number the faster I will start seeing clients at my paid internship.

 

That too, the paid internship, is going to have some working parts that I have to figure out.

My supervisor has not had a supervisee before, or an intern, I’ll be her first.

So I need to do some due diligence and find out the things that I need and the things that she needs to do.

I have a membership to CAMFT, the California Association of Marriage Family Therapist, so that means I get to call them and ask questions when I need help and this definitely falls under their bailiwick.

I get insurance with CAMFT as I’m still technically a student.

Which is really nice.

And I get to use their legal team too.

Not that I think I need their legal team for finding out what the necessities are for being a paid intern.

I just need to contact them and ask some questions.

Of course.

That has not so much been on my mind.

I’ve been trying to reconnect with the phone counselor who left me a message from the SF Tenant’s Union and not having any luck.

I may just end up going into the office for another quick drop in to ask a few follow-up questions.

Tomorrow I’m planning on getting my LiveScan fingerprints done at a place on Mission Street and if it goes quickly I am thinking I will pop over to the Tenant’s Union afterward, they are open until 7p.m.

I just want a little more direction on what next actions to take.

It feels better for me to be taking action rather than just sitting on my hands.

I am still looking at places, but I think that until I have a touch more clarity I am not going to move real fast on anything.

I know it’s important to keep doing actions though, as I don’t know which action will result in me finding a new place to live.

I, as I have said before, am casting a wide net.

I don’t feel as pressured to find a place as I did when I first got the news since I found out that the 90 day verbal notice is not legal, but then again, as I expressed to my therapist today, processed the shit out of this situation let me tell you, I also don’t like living somewhere I’m not wanted.

And I feel somehow small in this space now.

It’s gone from being a little cozy and sweet, to being cramped and cave like.

Maybe it’s that need for summer, for sun, for light, that makes me feel this way.

But I want something bigger, more expansive, something that will support me in this next phase of my life as I work on my PhD degree and accrue the rest of my MFT hours for licensure.

I want abundance.

I keep writing about what my next place will look like, I try to see it in my head, I don’t always, but I do have a really good sense of what I want.

Of course.

What I really want is my own place.

But that’s a pricey thing in the city unless I go with a studio or, as I just did, I continue to apply to the Below Market housing through DAHLIA, which requires that new buildings in the city rent a certain number of units below the market value of the apartment.

Tonight I applied for a lottery for 33 Tehama.

I’m not really interested in that neighborhood all that much, to tell the truth, but fuck,  a 1 bedroom in the brand new building at below market is renting for $1303-$1450.

I can fucking afford that.

I’m basically paying $1352 right now for my studio.

Few more bucks for a one bedroom in a brand new building with views of the Bay Bridge and a spa and bocce court, yes please, I’ll take it right now.

My dream is to have my own place, but yeah, unless I win the lottery, and I would love to win this one, or the Yerba Buena Dream House Raffle, which I did buy a ticket for when I got my tax return, living alone may be out of the question.

Unless I get a studio in the Tenderloin and that is just not appealing.

I would be in the thick of a notorious neighborhood with a lot of open drug use and dealing.

I can only imagine how long it would take for someone to break into my car after I parked to go home.

Two minutes.

So studio’s like that are out.

I’m open to studios out here and I have checked out a few, but nothing that compares to what I have.

I’m open though.

And I really do believe that things are going to work out for me and the new place I move into will be amazing.

I really do believe that.

So, yeah, summer.

It’s here but not here.

I’m sure it will feel like it soon though.

Three weeks from today I will be flying into New York City baby!

I cannot wait.

I am so very ready for my summer vacation.

So ready.

 

Kicking Ass

April 27, 2018

Taking names.

Or so it felt like.

I mean.

I just re-arranged my calendar and wrote some e-mails.

But it felt really good.

I had a lot of small things that I needed to attend to today and I was given a beautiful chunk of alone time at the work today to do so.

I knew that I was going to have a couple of hours so I brought my computer with me today.

I don’t normally, but today, with the promise of two to three hours on my own I knew I would be remorseful if I wasted that time.

I read an article for my Research Methods class.

I emailed two supervisors, no, three!

I got my supervision schedule figured out for the next couple of weeks.

Unfortunately I have to skip 1/2 of a class on Saturday of my next school weekend, but as I’ve already turned in my final paper for that class I don’t feel too bad about it.

I usually go to a Wednesday night supervision group if I can’t make my Saturday group and when I e-mailed the supervisor got back to me and said the group was overbooked, she wouldn’t be able to see me.

I was a touch annoyed, but then I thought, ok, I’ll just cut class half way through and I’ll email the professor letting her know why I am.

Basically not playing hooky to go to the beach, but cutting class to spend two hours in supervision so that I can see my clients that week.

Then.

I went over my graduation check list again.

One would think that it would be easy but, um no.

It is two pages, two, of things that need to be done.

From therapy verification forms–my program requires that I attend a year of therapy with a licenced MFT, which I have done but I have not had  my therapist sign off on the form yet, technically I have to attend a few more sessions to hit the 50 sessions required, but I have been going for a year, I’m shy a few sessions from my therapist being on vacation, but my therapist has assured me she will sign the form.

I’ve done 44 sessions, I’ll be doing my 45th on Tuesday and I plan on bringing in the form with me to have her sign it then.

I won’t be ending therapy with her, she’s great and I could stand the support as I proceed further in my career.

Heck.

My career has barely even started, I’m not yet even to the point where I can get paid.

But.

I’m not that far off.

Which brings me to some exciting news.

I have an interview with a private practice to be an intern next Wednesday!

The therapist is a former professor, one of the ones I reached out to the last time I was writing this blog, and she got back to me yesterday saying yes, she would be interested and we should talk, when was good?

I shot her some times and we have a date to talk next Wednesday at 3 p.m.

I am over the moon.

First, because she is amazing and a great teacher and how she held the frame of the class leads me to believe that she is also a really gifted therapist and she’s someone I can learn a lot from.

Second, a private practice intern gets paid.

Not much, but fuck, it’s better than the zero dollars I get now for seeing clients.

I know, I know, all the experience I’m gaining, and though it’s true, I’ve also been training for the last three years to do what I do and I’m good.  I deserve to be getting something back other than accruing another hour towards licensure.

I don’t know how much it would be, but yeah, anything is going to help.

Third, and this is so lovely, she’s got an office at Activ Space, which is where my current internship is located.

She’s in the same damn building!

I could work with her and I could work with Liberation Institute.

I have to stay with Liberation right now until my Associate MFT # is assigned to me by the BBS (Behavioral Board of Sciences).

I cannot be a private practice intern until I get that number.

I can’t accrue hours.

I can’t be paid.

But.

If I’m working for an agency or a non-profit, I work for a non-profit, I can continue to accrue hours and see clients.

I still have to get a lot of supervision, 3 hours a week, until I get that AMFT#, but as soon as that’s done I can go to a ration of 10:1 versus 5: 1 (10 clients to one hour of supervision versus 5 clients to one hour of supervision).

Speaking of supervision, that was also something I addressed today, not just checking in to see where I could get it, but also to connect with my current group supervisor to get the solo supervision I will need for the next three months as I wait for the BBS to assign me a number.

She said she could and we confirmed our first meeting.

Very grateful I can keep my client load and still be getting hours.

I know some folks in my cohort are choosing to take the three months off, but frankly that makes no sense to me.

I have to accrue hours to get the licence, I might as well be doing it for the three months while I wait for my number.

I’m going to have some vacation time anyway, but still it seems frivolous to not be getting some hours during that time frame.

Despite all that, I am very excited by the prospect of getting to be a private practice intern and I’m excited for the convenience, should it work out, I’m used to the space, I know I can park, and I know I could fit in my needs there.

So that was a bit of what I did on my big break at work.

I am very, very, very happy with myself.

And!

I got the framework of my last paper set up.

I started in, I got it organized.

I will be able to sit down this weekend and do the writing, I even did a little bit today.

The final paper is no longer than 29 pages long, not including the bibliography, table of contents, title page, and index.

I have 21 pages written.

I only have eight more pages to go.

EIGHT MORE PAGES!

So damn close.

I’m almost there.

Thank fucking God.

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.

Just Do The Next Thing

March 10, 2018

In front of you.

I was talking to a friend of mine in the cohort at school about a particularly challenging classroom situation today.

It was the first class of the day, the first day of class, third weekend, last semester.

Many of the folks in my class described having a feeling of “senioritis” and not wanting to do the work.

I was like.

Shut the fuck up bitches.

I did the fucking work.

You can do the god damn work too.

Alas.

I did not share that.

I took my judgmental ass and sat on the floor for a student led guided meditation for the class.

Guided meditation my ass.

I laughed inside, someone, me, has some contempt about this.

I sat quietly while the person leading the meditation walked around the classroom and beat on a drum.

Are you fucking kidding me?

I could not follow.

I instead choose to ignore the spiritual bypassing schlock and said the serenity prayer in my head on a loop and slowly relaxed.

Until the drumming got intense and insistent and intruded into my nice quite brain.

And that was sort of how class was.

Insistent, annoying, intrusive.

My issued with my cohort or certain members of the cohort is that when they haven’t done the work, many of us who have, bear the brunt of them having to be informed again and again about the nature of the work and their responsibilities thereof.

It’s a waste of fucking time.

My time is precious.

I’m paying a fuck load of money to be in school, I have made constant self-sacrifice to be there, I have taken on tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, I have had little social life over the last two and three-quarters years, and less sleep, I have missed fellowshipping opportunities to do school, have worked and worked and worked and read and studied and, and, and.

SHUT THE FUCK UP WITH YOUR WHINY ASS BITCHING.

Ugh.

There.

Sorry.

I don’t mean to yell.

I just got overwhelmed with it today.

There is a kind of refusal to take accountability for ones actions that rubs my fur the wrong way.

I was rubbed the wrong way a bit.

I felt like a frazzled cat that had fallen in the bathtub.

I did manage to self-soothe and breathe and pay attention to the information the professor was giving us.

And man.

There is a lot of information.

There was a two page  hand out with fine print and websites and dates and timelines and schedules and paper work in triplicate and my God, I don’t know, the encryption codes to the lottery is what it felt like.

There are a lot of hoops to get licensed and today I sat through a three-hour long class on what hoops I have to jump.

There were some folks who had no idea the number of hoops and were bogged down in the why didn’t anyone tell me all this information before and why am I now learning it and fuck, I didn’t do that thing that you’re telling me I need to do, what am I going to do?

Well.

I don’t know.

But you can get your whiny ass self to shut up and listen and perhaps instead of interrupting and wanting to change things to fit your agenda better you could just go with what’s happening, read the material, write the papers, and pay attention.

Works for me.

Anyway.

I am obviously taking someone’s inventory here.

And you know what?

I don’t want to make that persons amends.

That person has their own path and if truth were to be told, which is what this blog is about, trying to get as close to the truth as my skewed vision can get, I don’t want to be on that persons path.

I like mine just fine.

I have my challenges, obviously, low tolerance for bullshit being one of them, who doesn’t, but I don’t have to allow myself to be affected by another’s.

So I just sat and let the drama unfold and when I needed to take a break I texted with my best friend and connected to the outside world for brief moments.

I am so grateful I did.

Good juicy little reminders of my life outside of the classroom.

Which is sort of the whole point of being in the classroom, to learn the things that I need to know so that I may carry them out into the world and be a better person and for damn sure, a better therapist.

My own personal issues lead me down great paths of discovery and learning and I am not blind to this knowledge.

My biggest challenges over the past year have shown me the depth of love I have, great huge reservoirs of it, and where I really need to grow and allow more in.

There’s always the growth.

And today I got to grow by acknowledging that I’m not doing it perfect either.

I got anxious in class.

I got nervous about all the requirements and the “t’s”to cross, the “i’s” to dot.

But I also gotten to deepen my faith a little more and just focus on the next thing in front of me, having faith that the things that need to get done, will, in fact, get done.

I do have to do some more paperwork for graduation and I do need to get some signatures from my supervisors, my therapist (my Master’s program requires that I am in therapy with a licensed MFT while I am in practicum, therefore I have to get a piece of paper signed by my therapist that says I have done 50 sessions with her–I will actually hit session 50 four days before I graduate) and there are a few other odds and ends I want to make sure that I do.

But overall.

I got this.

Oh.

I know there will be moments of panic, or anxiety or fear that I am doing it wrong but I think of the people who I know who have graduated the program and I know more than a handful, and I relax.

They did it.

So too can I.

I know I can.

I know it.

So all I have to do tonight is pack my bag for classes in the morning and have a nice hot cup of tea.

I have done all that I possibly could have.

And then some.

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!

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.

 

You Look Much

December 31, 2017

“Better than when you came in!”

And.

“I remember you from 19th and Dolores, I mean it, you look amazing.”

He said to me with a big grin.

It’s nice to run into folks who remember me from when I first got sober.

I have changed quite a bit.

I mean.

So much.

It’s extraordinary.

Hell, I feel like I’ve changed a bunch in these last four years and certainly since I’ve been in my graduate program with school.

My life really blows my mind at times.

My great job.

My relationships.

My new car.

Um, hello.

I got her washed today.

First of all, fuck, it’s pricey in the city, but oh, man, she looks so pretty when she’s clean and I just know it will keep the life of the car up to take care of it.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to go check out the place on Bayshore that you can get a membership to and get unlimited car washes for $29.99 a month.

I paid $33 today at the one on Divisadero.

I got a wash a few weeks back, my last weekend of classes, at the place on Van Ness and that was $30.

The one on Divisadero did a much better job.

However, $33 is a bunch of money.

If I can get unlimited washes at the place on Bayshore for $29.99 a month, I go once and it’s pretty much paid for itself.

It’s a place called Shine-N-Seal.

It’s a bit out of my way, but I was thinking today when I left my group supervision that it’s worth checking out on a day when I’m getting out of group since I’m in the Mission and the Bayshore is not so far away, maybe a ten minute drive.

And after dropping the $33 at the place on Divisadero I’m ready for something a little more economical, especially since I’m realizing how much I really like having my car and I like having her clean.

Like.

A lot.

It’s super nice.

Plus.

Grocery shopping today, being warm, being able to bring more back than when I’m on my scooter, listening to music in the car, I really dig on that.

Anyway.

I have reflected a lot today how good I have it and I’m super grateful for that perspective.

I also got hella sleep today.

I was up for a little while this morning but then decided screw it, back to bed.

I didn’t go to yoga, I have a hard time committing to the instructor for the class I could have gone today, I just do not like his classes and when the option to crawl back into bed was happening, well, I just rolled with it.

I mean.

Fuck.

I felt like a million bucks today.

Super rested.

I got lots of laundry done, all fresh linens on the bed, all my towels done, and a run to the grocery store before I left for supervision.

Which was so chill.

There were only two of us so I got to go over a load of my clients and also check in about some school stuff, intern stuff, applying for my intern number, which will happen after I graduate in May.

Some talk about the PhD program I’m considering going into.

Yeah.

I said that.

I am getting pretty serious about it.

My supervisor at my practicum site told me he would support me through the process, he did the same thing I’m considering, like almost to a “t.”

“Carmen I worked full-time, I ran this place, and I got my PhD at the same time, you can totally do it and I’ll write you a letter of recommendation for the program.”

He went to the same graduate school program that I am in.

He also remembers me from 19th and Dolores.

And basically I got, “baby you’ve come a long way,” in no uncertain terms.

I have done a hell of a lot since getting sober, it is incredible when I think about.

Super grateful.

Over the moon grateful.

Blessed.

Crazy graced.

Lucky as fuck.

I don’t know how else to express it, but that I want to keep doing the deal and staying in the boat and doing the work, man I want to live this life and keep getting to do all sorts of amazing things.

Like get my doctorate in psychology.

Because.

Why the fuck not?

I’m only going to get older.

Plus, I can put off my student loans for a while yet, I have a place to accrue my internship hours, I will go for my MFT license and I will be a licensed MFT with a PhD.

Yes, please.

Today I had a few moments before showing up for group supervision, I went to Gus’s Market and got a salad from the salad bar and some stupid expensive blackberries, but gosh they tasted so nice, and a bottle of bubbly water, because I roll like that, and when I was walking down the hall on the fifth floor to supervision there it was.

“Take a Peek!”

A sign on one of the offices.

Oh yes, yes please.

Let me take a peek.

Look at that.

It was a big office, bigger by far than most of the offices I work in out the building.

I totally took a moment today dream my private office.

The space smelled of fresh paint and had a big window, double the size of most of the offices I am in, and it got sunshine.

I envisioned book shelves and file cabinets and a couch and a therapist chair and a place to have a tea-pot and a little mini fridge and oh, I could put down a nice cozy rug and hang art on the walls.

I just got into it.

It’s years away yet, but it’s not that far down the road.

My own private office, my own private practice.

I’ll be Dr. Martines licensed MFT and psychotherapist.

I’ll set my own hours, so that I can go to yoga in the morning and do the deal whenever I fucking want, I’ll make good money, I will have great health insurance and I will take nice vacations, I’ll have parking in the private garage in the building and live in a home that’s not next to the garage and below a barky dog, oh, man, I can see it.

It’s really not that far off.

It was super sweet to just have that moment in the office and I know that I might not be in that office space, but I will be in one, and I’ll be taken care of as long as I keep doing the things that I need to do to stay in recovery.

My life is fucking amazing.

REALLY.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Bonked But Not Broken

December 17, 2017

Perhaps a touch tender, but for a minute I thought I was going to actually get a shiner.

Fortunately I only cut my brow bone.

How did this happen you ask?

Eagerly going in for the salad at Gus’s Market’s salad bar.

I didn’t see that the glass partition was raised, whomever had restocked the salad bar hadn’t lowered the shield and I didn’t see it.

Not at all.

I smacked right into it.

“OW!”

I said and then I started laughing, what kind of idiot I must have looked like?  I’m glad I could laugh at myself, it really was sort of funny, like someone smacking into a glass window while walking out to the patio.

I chuckled pretty hard and the guy across the way said, also laughing, “that is exactly the kind of stuff that happens to me, I’m glad I’m not alone.”

“Here to be of service,” I laughed again and got my salad.

I actually hurt myself worse than I thought.

I was standing in line to check out when I realized I could feel something dripping down my eye.

Oh my God!  Am I bleeding?

I paid for my salad and La Croix and popped open the camera app on my phone and turned it to selfie mode.

Yup.

Sure as shit, I was bleeding.

I asked one of the cashiers for the manager, who hustled right over.

I took off my glasses, explained what happened and asked for a band-aid.

I in hindsight I was pretty damn calm and I wasn’t upset about it and I wasn’t going to make a fuss, although a tiny petty part of me was like, “buy my salad!” But I was actually just really aware of how I felt internally, that I was happy, joyful, spiritually attuned, and not really ready to pull a class action law suit against the manufacturer of shield glass on salad bar.

I took the band-aid, went to the bathroom, washed the blood off and put the band-aid on.

I actually looked kind of cute.

I had just come from a holiday ladies brunch and holiday party and had dressed up for the occasion.

The band-aid added a certain kind of tough aplomb to my outfit.

The brunch was also the reason why I felt as good as I did.

I had gotten to reconnect with ladies in my fellowship and community that I have sorely missed over the semester of busy.

It felt so good to sit and chat and catch up and see how folks were doing.

I even got a client referral from one of the women there who is a licensed MFT.

That felt really good.

In fact, the whole day felt really good.

I had a great supervision group.

Nobody noticed my eye, the bleeding stopped pretty quick and though I have a tiny bump and an obvious cut, it’s hidden quite well by my glasses frame, and I got to have a merry check in about all my adventures the last two weeks.

Last week I wasn’t in supervision as I was in class so my supervision group wanted to hear all about the lecture and how my semester had finished.

And one of the other interns, who has been there over a year, talked to me about a possible client referral, and he said, “you’re an amazing therapist.”

I just about broke out into a blush.

Later I thanked him for saying it and he added on, “not only are you an amazing therapist, you’re just an amazing person, you really have so much to give.”

I just was so struck by the sweetness of it and we hugged and wished each other happy holidays.

So nice.

Then!

Oh my gosh.

I run into a woman I used to work with at Hawthorne Lane, the fine dining restaurant that was my first job in San Francisco.

It turns out she has an office in the same building that my internship is in!

I was so happy to see her, it felt really good to reconnect and see how well she was doing, she had a big cancer scare a few years back while I was in Paris and to see her healthy and happy and ask after her husband and son felt super sweet.

She told me how great I looked and how happy she was to hear how I was doing, she was in awe that I was heading into my last semester of my Masters program.

Validation galore today.

Then off across town in my pretty little car to do some Christmas shopping.

And may I just say, how nice it is to have a tiny little car.

Aside from the fact that she is so adorable and cute, she’s teeny and I found parking in a spot that no one else could possibly have fit.

As well as when I got home tonight, squeezed right into the tiny spot on my block that almost always is open.

Then some Christmas shopping.

And.

Oh.

Yes.

A little holiday sparkle manicure.

Because.

Glitter.

Then back across town to the NOPA and getting right with God and connecting with my folks there.

So good.

I also found out that two of my friends who I had thought were going to be out-of-town for Christmas are in town.

We made some got to go dancing plans.

That felt really good.

Then the drive home, warm and cozy in my car listening to Music to Slow Dance to, a playlist that I am just in love with, and yup, there was my parking spot waiting for me.

And.

When I got in.

Mail.

Man, I love getting holiday mail.

I have a little garland of stars and green box twine that I hang my Christmas cards to, I got to add two in the last day.

The mail made me very happy.

A birthday card and a Christmas card from my grandmother.

She’s my last grandparent alive.

I was over the moon.

Last year she forgot my birthday and that sort of bummed me out.

But she didn’t this year!

It just felt extra special sweet.

And that was my day.

Sweet.

Funny.

Special in quiet ways.

Tender and in love.

Happy.

And I just signed up for a yoga class tomorrow morning.

Plus.

Yes.

I may let myself go do a little birthday shopping tomorrow.

Because.

Well.

I’m going to be the birthday girl real soon.

And it feels nice to get myself something sweet for my birthday.

Without sounding facetious.

I deserve it.

I work really hard.

But I have no complaints about that.

It is something I get to do.

My life is grand.

Full of love and light and joy.

Happy.

Happy.

Joy.

Joy.

Luckiest girl in the world.


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