Posts Tagged ‘supervisor’

Knock On Wood

April 17, 2018

I’ve had a few days with either mild reflux or no reflux.

And.

Today, yes, I have felt some relief from the weird bloating I’ve been experiencing for the last couple of weeks.

I’m quite happy.

I can still feel that something is up, something is not quite right, but it seems to be settling, at least for the moment, and I will happily take that.

Other things are settling too.

Like.

Holy shit.

I only have one more week with my solo supervisor.

I have worked with him for a year and a half.

I am going to miss him.

And I’m not going to miss him.

I am going to miss the guidance and the deep learning, but I am not going to miss having to haul across town during mid-morning commuter traffic, today in the rain which makes everyone gonzo, to get to Hayes Valley at 9a.m.

I am super happy to only have to do this trip one more time.

I’ve been quietly debating whether or not I tell the mom that I will have Mondays available now to come in at 10 a.m. instead of 11 a.m.

Or I could see a client in the morning before work.

Or I could sleep in a little.

Or.

I don’t know.

Go swimming or yoga, not that there’s a yoga class at my studio that would accommodate my Monday morning schedule, although they have added a few more early morning classes.

On the weekends.

Which I really don’t get, but the classes showed up on the yoga class schedule recently, 7:15 a.m. classes.

Which is not a bad thing I just wish that there were more options during the weekdays.

I’m actually feeling like I could get back into it this weekend if the reflux is staved off and I am not bloated and nauseous.

We shall see.

For right now I am happy to have had a reprieve.

I feel more like myself than I have in sometime, cautiously optimistic that this will continue.

A girl has got to hope.

I will still, of course go see the GI on May the 2nd when I have the appointment to see this new specialist.

Oh!

And I just realized.

I have two free chiropractor sessions to use yet!

I have totally spaced that.

There!

That was perfect.

I was able to get into a 10 a.m. on the Monday, April 30th.

That is my first Monday without having to be in Supervision and since I don’t have to be at work until 11 a.m. I will just keep that under my hat for the time being and let myself have that chiropractor appointment and then use the next one for the following Monday as well.

I have gone in a lot the last couple of weeks early for the family and I think it’s ok to let myself do some self-care this way.

It’s much-needed.

Although.

I will report.

Yes.

I took yesterday off.

Oh.

Sure.

I had commitments, three to be exact, but I also decided to not work on any papers or school work.

I had time to do so, but I just needed a “free” day.

So I didn’t write a paper, I didn’t do research, I had a nice morning breakfast and did lots of writing, did some grocery shopping, did food prep for this week, met with two lady bugs, then, yes, I went and got a manicure.

And I took my time going where I needed to go next and I did a little shopping and picked up a couple of picture frames and some glitter lip balm, because really, I had too.

It was pink and called, heh, “Unicorn Snot.”

Bwahahahaha.

Perfect.

I am a sparkle pony.

I was feeling it today, even wore blue eyeliner.

Pushed myself a little outside of my usually therapist attire, even did wear the glittery lip gloss for part of the afternoon, although, I will admit, I tamed it down before I went off to client sessions.

But it was fun to sparkle a little today.

And last night after my commitment I had the most wonderful time with my best friend and a really great meal at Frances in the Castro.

Highly recommend it.

The company was superlative and the food was nice too.

I didn’t get as much sleep last night since it was a late dinner and I wasn’t home until after eleven and not in bed until after midnight, up at 6:30 a.m., but without much reflux, I had a tiny touch last night when I went to bed but I chalk that up to eating a bit late, and none so far today, I felt really good all day.

I also felt greatly appreciated at work.

I helped out a lot today and the mom came home from running errands and gave me flowers.

God I love getting flowers.

It was such a sweet gesture and it is so nice to be appreciated.

My dinner went over really well too.

Homemade meatballs, spaghetti and homemade tomato sauce, mixed greens salad.

Super simple.

And satisfying, for me, to make.

Although I ate none of it, I do so like cooking and it is such a pleasure to make food that people like.

Then off to my internship and my sessions went fast and I got home and found parking, had a good dinner, and yeah, it was a good day.

I’m going to make some tea.

Do some reading.

Watch a spot of a video.

And call it a day.

Not bad for a Monday.

Not bad at all.

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Dot An “i”

April 9, 2018

Cross a “t.”

One more small bit of paperwork in the works.

I have had this gnawing feeling for weeks now that I was missing some paperwork for my school.

My God.

The amount of paperwork that is required to prove I have been doing the deal for the last three semesters is horrendous.

I have had four supervisors.

Two that I primarily work with.

Two that I accrued a couple of hours with.

Hours that no matter how small, matter quite a lot, little by little those hours are going to add up to me being licenced and every single fucking one of them is important.

So I have four separate pieces of paper with all their relevant information on them for the BBS.

And then I must have another set of papers, not the original signed ones, but facsimiles or copies thereof to show my school.

Plus.

Every hour.

EVERY SINGLE HOUR.

Has to be signed off by a supervisor.

I have had one main supervisor.

I will, in fact, be seeing him tomorrow.

And he’s the one that will be doing the majority of the signing.

I have had another, my group supervisor, who will also be needing to sign a fair amount of paperwork.

What I did not know is that there needed to be a Letter Of Agreement between my site supervisor and my school, CIIS, supervisor.

I had no clue.

No one ever told me.

It just slipped through the cracks.

So that nagging feeling of there’s something missing was not wrong, I just didn’t know what it was that I needed.

I found out yesterday and today when I got done with school I zoomed over to my internship and left the paperwork on my internship supervisor’s desk with a big fat note saying please sign this ASAP, and oh yeah, pre-date it.

Thankfully he got my email and I just now received a response and all is good.

I will still have to pick up the paperwork and take it to my other supervisor who is not affiliated with my organization, and have him sign it, then return all that paperwork to the school.

That will all happen next Monday.

Tomorrow I will just go meet with my supervisor and we will start my review.

I received it today while I was in class and it was something else to read while I was on my lunch break.

Carmen continues to demonstrate an amazing work ethic.

Aw.  Thanks man!

Carmen has done extremely well at Liberation Institute and is currently seeing about eight regular patients. She is on track to complete her hours for graduation.

I have completed them!!

I needed 225 to graduate and as of the last time I checked I have 244.

I actually have more hours than that, 385.75, but some of those hours while counting for the BBS requirements, do not count for CIIS’s graduation requirements.

The school’s requirements though, have been met!  I have enough hours, I will graduate.

Pending signing of a fuck load of paperwork, but my hours have been met!

Regarding supervision, Carmen attends every session on time, is eager and prepared to
speak about many patients, and appreciates the time together. She is a quick learner and
leans on her supervisor to help interpret difficult situations and seems increasingly
comfortable with handling her treatments.  Carmen is demonstrating an aptitude to manage the amount of psychic space and time that she allows her patients to consume and is making mature decisions.
Carmen is ending her last semester of practicum and seems ready for the next challenge.

You bet your ass I’m ready for the next challenge, bring on graduation.

I am also ready for a break, truth be told, but that will have to wait for a little while yet.

Carmen’s treatments have been diverse. She sees both men and women. She sees both
straight and gay patients. She has a culturally diverse practice. Carmen is able to manage
cultural diversity well.

That was nice to hear, I do see a great range of people and I am quite grateful that I can hold more than one type of client.

Carmen has met her goals for practicum. She shown that she can do intakes (consults),
get patients interested in a treatment, and retain them. She can build alliances. Her
patients come regularly and seem to enjoy their relationship with her. Carmen is able to
be herself in session, manage her anxiety, negotiate boundaries and the frame, and deal
with the rudiments of transference (i.e., idealization / devaluation).
Carmen enjoys her case work and is progressing beyond what is expected.

I am enjoying my work!

I really like my clients, and I feel like I am a good therapist.

Carmen shows an aptitude for intuiting transference and countertransference issues.

I am very proud of this.

It may not mean much to a lay person reading that, but I remember how confused I was just defining those terms when I first started my program.  I still need a lot of work around theory, but as my supervisor writes I will have years to work on theory and that my beginnings have aptitude.

That makes me happy to hear.

And then there was this:

Carmen has done extremely well in her practicum. She establishes a solid frame, sets
good boundaries, builds trusted alliances and is increasingly comfortable conducting
treatments with her patients. Carmen is an extremely hardworking and reliable therapist for her patients, listens well, empathizes and provides support. By listening to her countertransference, Carmen intuits patients’ motives and conflicts. She has the capacity to progress her treatments in deep and generative ways. Carmen’s patients are extremely lucky to have such a gifted and committed therapist.

That last sentence.

Oh wow.

That was so nice to read.

To be told by someone who I respect, and perhaps revere a touch, the man is a fucking genius, that I am a gifted therapist, that my clients are lucky to have me, my God, that just amazed me.

I am so, so, so grateful for this opportunity to get to be of service and to get to use what I know to help others, it means so much.

And it doesn’t hurt that I have a real career that I am investing myself in, a chance to become more and do more than I have done before.

To help others and also, truly, myself.

I am so blessed.

Luckiest girl in the world.

Monday

March 20, 2018

You’re a busy lady, you are.

Got up early.

Showered, did the deal, dressed, made bed, ate breakfast, drank coffee, stretched, did hair and makeup.

Had fucking boss day with the hair.

Mostly wasted on nannying, but felt good to have a good big hair day.

“What is that?” Asked my little lady charge today as we stood on the platform for the J-Church train to Glen Park.

“Hair, and don’t touch it,” I replied.

It was a giant patch of a weave just chilling on the street.

Looked like the after effects of a bad cat fight.

“But it looks so soft, I want to touch it, is it yours?” She asked bending down to take a closer look.

“Do not touch it, and no, I promise, it’s not mine,” I added, gave her a squeeze and asked her if she wanted a snack.

Snacks are always the best distraction.

Hair weaves.

Sometimes it’s really obvious that I live in the city.

Today, many times.

There was a man just outside the door to my office space tonight, laying on the ground, belly down, sprawled out, pants off kilter, just chilling, talking to the pavement and having a nice little conversation.

I couldn’t tell if it was booze or heroin and I wasn’t going to investigate.

8:30p.m. on a Monday night, I just wanted to get the fuck out of there and get home and have my dinner.

Monday’s are a long day.

And that’s ok.

I have six weeks left of supervision.

Six weeks until I won’t have to get up extra early to get out of the house and beat morning rush hour traffic downtown to see my supervisor.

I am ready for that.

Granted.

I will miss working with my supervisor, I have learned such a tremendous amount from him.

I just won’t miss getting up early.

I decided on my way to my clients today, after a longish day with the family, the dad’s been out-of-town for work and doesn’t get back until tomorrow, for a good bit and the mom’s definitely been feeling the strain of doing the parenting for three children.

It’s a lot of work.

Especially when one of them is a baby.

I took the baby off her hands for the first part of the day, then we swapped at school pick up and I had my little girl charge all for myself while her mom took the older brother to piano lessons.

It was a nice day and we went to Dolores Park.

I am always so grateful to get to the park.

It’s a good balance, I think, with my studies and my internship and being a psychotherapist in training, to have a part of the day when I get to be outside and in a park.

It felt really good to get some sun on my face.

Really good.

Especially since the next three days call for rain and it’s been a really rainy past few weeks.

I was ready for that sunshine.

I am always ready for sunshine.

I think about Paris in July and I’m all agog to get sundresses and sandals and breezy clothes and be warm.

I like being warm.

The irony of living in the foggiest place in the city is not lost on me.

The Outer Sunset was never my first choice, but as I have been here now for four and a half years, it has become my home.

And.

Honestly.

I don’t know that I could have handled having a car anywhere else in the city.

I generally find parking on my block or within a block of my house.

I easily find parking at work and so too at my internship.

It’s really perfect.

And it’s always so nice to have the car when the weather is not great and also when I get done late at the internship, to get in my car and listen to some music.

So freaking good.

I have really been getting into having music when I drive, it’s the bomb.

I also feel safer and though the gas is expensive, it’s worth it.

I am really so happy that I got the car.

I’ve grown so much these past few years.

Walking through this school program and showing up for the work consistently, working with clients, getting back into my own therapy, my job with my current family, all the recovery work I have done and still do, it’s been such a tremendous amount of growth.

My best friend reminded me that I graduate in two months.

I will fucking walk the stage at the Norse Theater two months from today on May 19th.

That also put into perspective the work that I need to do before I graduate.

There’s still a good bit.

I got one more thing out-of-the-way today though, got another signature for paperwork that needed to be signed.

Slowly.

But steadily.

And I will get it all done.

I will.

I admitted to my person yesterday that I was having some anxiety about getting it all organized and put together and that I felt a bit stupid and was beating myself up a little.

He right sized that shit pretty quick, confirming how organized I am and that my brain was cooking up some “manufactured misery” to wallow in.

I realized he was right, I had to say some things out loud to see how silly it all sounded, and it sounded damn silly as soon as the words left my mouth.

My brain can do that, get all caught up in the thinking and not realize how asinine it is until I say it out loud to someone.

Thank God for another’s perspective.

I mean.

Really.

Thank fucking God.

Anyway.

Me and my rambles are going to wrap it up.

I want to wind down a little.

I’ve got a big day tomorrow.

As per usual.

 

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.

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!

That Was Fast

February 13, 2018

Today just flew by.

For which I am grateful.

I am so ready to get out-of-town and hit the East Coast on my mini-vacation that it was a pleasure how fast today went by.

Hopefully tomorrow and the next few days will go by as fleet.

I had a good supervision session, so grateful, constantly, for the supervisor I have, he just really hits things out of the ballpark for me and he is brutal honest with me about what I need to do and how to work with my clients.

It’s good stuff.

Fucking intense, but really good stuff.

I had a lot to bring him this Monday, last week was a big week for me and I was very happy to be able to process some of the work with him.

I will miss him as a supervisor when I wrap up this semester, I can already tell.

I like the group I’m in for group supervision, but I do not get the kind of guidance from the group supervisor that I do from my solo supervisor.

I don’t really respect my group supervisor, if I have to tell on myself, although I do like her.

She’s ineffectual at holding a frame and a bit vague and nebulous in her approach.

Which always baffles me a bit.

How the hell do you hold a frame for a client if you can’t hold the frame for a group of therapist in training?

I have hopes to switching out to a different group when I get done with my Master’s program.

I’m in the group that works the best for my work schedule and my current solo supervision and therapy work.

Man.

I do a fucking lot.

And I’m still doing my own personal writing.

I am very proud of myself for that.

I stay grounded when I do my morning and evening writing.

I didn’t do a few days of my blog over the weekend, but I did do my morning pages every morning.

I don’t really recall all that many days when I didn’t do either of them.

Probably being at Burning Man last year and not taking my laptop for the first time in a long time, although I still did do plenty of writing out there, I ended up doing it during the heat of the afternoon at the cafe with a big iced coffee and a shady spot under the Center Camp Cafe’s gigantic circus tent.

The fact is.

I am a writer.

I believe that it’s a huge contributor to my therapy work with my clients.

That I am constantly self-reflexive, and continually processing my stuff and finding my way through things.

I don’t know that I would be where I am without the practice.

I like where I am.

Even walking through some really challenging personal times, I still like who I am and that I am trying to grow more, change more, become more myself.

Advocate for myself, for my own change.

The only person I can change is myself.

And I’m not talking about self-improvement, I feel that’s a slippery slope, self-improvement implies that there’s something wrong with me, that I’m not good enough.

It also has connotations of always having to strive to change myself to be better and that when I’m finally better I’ll be perfect and everyone will want to be with the perfect version of me.

There is no perfection.

I am perfect.

Imperfectly perfect.

Humility much?

I can be a perfectionist, so the way through that for me is self-acceptance over self-improvement.

That still means change, it just may not mean change in the way that I used to think it did.

Some miracle wave of a wand and poof!

Happily ever after fairy princess unicorn castle in the cloud magic glitter balloons of joy.

Not so much.

It just means that when I focus on what someone else needs to do so that I can feel comfortable I have to look at myself, what do I need?

How can I change?

Where can I be in acceptance?

There’s loads of room for that kind of introspection.

How can I care for myself when I want to focus on helping others, which is wonderful, but also recognizing that I can’t help anyone if my own needs are met.

Which means that I have to know what my needs are.

Tricky thing that.

I get better at it the more I practice.

The more I get used to paying attention to what makes me happy.

What brings me joy.

And trying to cultivate that.

My writing brings me joy, being a good therapist does, being with people I love, accepting love, travel, eating well, flowers.

My God.

I have a gorgeous bouquet that keeps getting prettier and prettier.

The lilies in the bunch of flowers have been opening over the last few days and it is like looking at a tender heart opening to the sunshine, shy and pink and exquisite.

I feel such sweetness when I look at my flowers.

A girls like her flowers.

And hearts.

I made Valentines Day cards today with one of my charges that came home sick from school and we had such a sweet time with it, drinking tea and taping the Valentines up on the windows at the back of the house.

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It was a happy afternoon.

I felt a lot of happiness today.

Some sadness at the beginning, some tenderness, some tears, I probably should skip the sorrowful music I had been listening to for a little while, but this morning, for some reason I just indulged.

A sort of get it out-of-the-way at the beginning of the day and get on with the day.

It seemed to help.

That and it just being a great big full day.

Grateful for navigating through, being of service at my job, showing up for my clients tonight.

And.

Showing up for myself with my writing.

Day and night.

Day.

And.

Night.

All the damn time.

 

 

Doing This Thing

January 10, 2018

I have officially made the decision to go after my PhD in the Transformative Psychology program at CIIS.

I talked to the dean of the school this morning and she gave me some lovely insights into the program and what I need to do to apply for the program.

I basically have it all covered except for the personal statement.

I need two letters of recommendation, one of which has to come from my academic advisor in my program–he’s confirmed that he will write me a letter and we are meeting at lunch on the first Friday of the school weekend, basically a week from this Friday.

The other letter will come from my supervisor at my practicum site, who actually offered to write me a letter before I had asked him.

I need to e-mail him and say, yes, please do write that letter for me!

In fact.

Hang on a minute, I’m going to go draft that e-mail now.

Yes.

One more thing out-of-the-way.

I was also very grateful to discover that I had been correct in the reading of the PhD application demands–the scholarly paper the admissions department requires can be one I have already written for my current program!

That is super nice.

It’s an 8-10 page paper written in APA format (American Psychological Association).

The dean expressed that they want to see an example of my writing abilities and that I could absolutely use a paper I had already written, it did not have to be an original work.

Whew.

That is such a nice relief.

I really didn’t want to have to write a paper on top of getting my stuff together for this last semester of my Master’s program.

I’ll still need to provide plenty of other things besides the sample of my academic writing and the two letters of recommendation.

There’s also the application fee, $65, so worth it, frankly.

And a resume with pertinent and relevant experience listed.

My transcripts.

I will be very happy to provide those, especially with my current 4.0 grade point average, thank you very much.

A goal statement outlining what I plan to do with the degree once it is conferred.

And.

A four to five-page personal statement.

I mean, that’s a fair good amount of stuff.

But.

Doable.

So doable.

And, as I mentioned, the not having to write a fresh academic paper for the admissions team feels really nice.

The dean told me the deadline was end of February.

Once the application is sent in the admissions team goes through the applicants and decides who they want to call in for an interview.

At which time I would need to give some ideas about what I want to pursue, although said ideas do not have to be concrete, I can change what I decide to do the dissertation on if over the course of the program I find something really amazing and compelling.

But.

I do think I have been narrowing it down and although my idea is big and there’s a lot to explore, I’m super excited by the prospect of exploring it.

I feel like it will help me heal some trauma and in turn, I hope that I will be better equipped to help others walk through their traumas as well.

I’m super happy that I have made this decision.

I felt so freaking good when I got off the phone with the dean, I knew, I just knew it is what I am supposed to be doing.

I’m supposed to get my doctorate.

I am supposed to be of service.

I get to keep learning and growing.

It is fucking exciting.

A little scary too, but I don’t feel it will be that much harder than the work that I have done to get my Masters.

In fact, in some ways I think it will be easier.

The classes are self-directed and timed, I won’t be going into a classroom, I’ll be doing the work on my own, I’ll have my own agency to move at my own pace.

I suspect that I will want to move faster rather than slower.

The dissertation could take longer, the program is designed to be done in two years, but I sense that more than a few folks take longer to get to the dissertation.

I don’t want to do that.

Not to be worried about at this point.

I have taken as much action today as I possibly could in regards to the next steps.

I went to therapy this morning before work.

I went grocery shopping after therapy and managed to have the call with the dean of students from my car before I went into work.

I worked a full day.

Then.

I went and saw two clients this evening.

I e-mailed my supervisor at my practicum site for the letter of recommendation.

And.

I filled in a few more things on the doctoral application.

My god.

I’m really going to do this.

I am going to get my PhD.

Fuck.

My life is amazing.

AMAZING.

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.

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.

Radio Silence

December 20, 2017

Not how I had planned to spend my day.

My employers gave me a brand new Iphone 8 yesterday for my birthday.

At one point I tried to set it up but I had many other things on my plate and figured I would just do it today.

However.

That didn’t work.

The dad helped me out, took the sim card from my old phone and put it into my new phone and then headed off to work.

I actually have no idea what he did.

Just that he did something.

Then I swapped over all the information, got the new phone charged up and started and then.

Nothing.

Nada.

Didn’t work.

At all.

I was bummed.

As it turns out, the mom did some research, I had to have the number off the box the phone came in, um, yeah, left that at home, to activate the account with my phone company.

So.

As soon as I came home I logged onto my account plugged in the numbers, did all the things, and nothing.

Ugh again.

The sim card from my old phone was not doing the deal.

I got through to an online chat with my phone company and I was told I have to take the phone into Sprint store and get a new sim card, the card from my old phone is obsolete.

Of course it is.

It was from an Iphone 5C.

I mean what a relic, an antique really.

I thought about taking the sim cared out of the phone and putting it back in my old phone, but first I have no clue, nor the little tool the dad used, and second I deactivated the phone.

Sprint has that all tied up.

I just need to get the new one activated.

So.

Ugh.

No phone for a little bit more.

Not the worst thing in the world.

I do have a chat on my computer that is working and I was able to make contact via that, although I had no access to any messages that came in while I was away, my laptop was powered down, I just had the old stream of messages.

Sigh.

Oh well.

It’s not a tragedy.

And considering how much I processed in therapy and cried, maybe it was God’s way of saying, take a break, get re-centered, focus on taking care of what needs to be done at work.

I am, however, bummed, I will be going in early tomorrow at work, I won’t have time to go to a Sprint store and deal with it.

I am hoping that the mom will let me out sometime during the day to hop to a store and buy a new sim card and get the new phone fully activated.

It could be a fun little adventure to even do with one of my charges, the oldest boy is all things technology and phones, I could see him having fun in a store full of gadgets.

Fingers crossed.

Otherwise I’ll be doing it after I get off work at six pm.

No thank you.

I don’t like being out of touch.

I had a client cancel and wasn’t able to respond until I got home.

I know I missed text messages.

I may have missed phone calls.

The client who cancelled had even requested a phone session, of course, nothing I could do with that one.

I didn’t lose the hour though.

I did progress notes and I talked with the head of my agency and got some ideas about internship stuff and continuing education and what that looks like.

I also did an hour of client advocacy.

And I picked up my trainee evaluation from my supervisor there.

Which was all high marks.

Very happy to be able to send that out.

I found out I don’t actually have to drop it off to the school, I can just send it in the mail, I am loath to go anywhere near campus for a while, I need a break.

Speaking of, the kids had their last day at school today.

Winter break has officially begun.

I will be working longer days for a bit, earlier start at work while the kids are out of school.

But getting to have next Friday off is such a nice bonus.

I was supposed to go in and see my new chiropractor tomorrow, but the mom was desperate for help and asked me to come in at 8:15a.m.

I will be going in and making pancakes for the monkeys.

It’s a long day.

I rescheduled the chiropractor for next Friday at noon and I’ll just have to keep doing the little stretches she suggested.

I do feel a bit out of whack.

I had to carry the baby a bit today in the carrier and he was having a hard time, a bit sick and fussy and there was a lot of screaming, which so rarely happens with the baby that it can be hard to hold.

But.

Hold it I did.

And when he finally fell asleep I just sat on a chair in the bedroom and closed my eyes and drifted.

No phone distractions.

Only warm, heavy, soft baby, breathing against my heart.

I cried a bit.

I processed some stuff.

I thought too much.

Then told myself to stop thinking.

Figure it out is not a slogan.

Then I just drifted in and out of quiet mediation until the baby woke up.

It was quite nice in the end.

The day went by fast and I had plenty on my hands, the baby, both the older kids, the cleaning ladies, cooking dinner, trying to figure out my phone, giving up on trying to figure out my phone, getting to my internship, and seeing the one client who didn’t cancel.

I wasn’t home until 9p.m. then on the chat line for a while, I had to remind myself to eat dinner and drink some water.

And I should pretty much go right to bed now.

But.

A cup of tea.

Just to unwind.

Just to pause and re-center.

It wasn’t a bad day, just different.

Just quiet.

Nothing wrong with quiet.


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