My Mojo is Back!!! :D

Hello Readers,

After writing the last blog, I realized that I just needed to start seeing clients. I needed to help someone. So, after talking to a couple of clients this week by phone (to schedule appointments for next week), my mojo is back!!! :D What a relief!

Umm… I guess that’s all there is tonight. I would have written here earlier but I spent two hours reviewing my AOL mailbox of over 6K (yes, that is 6,000) junk email. Needless to say, I don’t go to that email address much. The last time I visit it to do such “spring cleaning” was 2012? Or was it 2011? :P I kinda “let it go” and sent all my junk email there (when companies ask for your email address, I give them that one).

Need to Get Back into the Game (GET MOTIVATED!!!)

Hello Readers,

Winter II semester started last week and I’m still having the “back to it” blues. :( I thought that if all my other hobbies have failed to motivate me, writing is my last resort. :/ I haven’t been keeping up with  my blogging anyway so I thought I would kill two birds with one stone.

I got my research proposal paper back a few weeks ago (for Research and Program Evaluation class). After reading over about the third or fourth correction/comment, I stopped looking it over and went to see my grade. I forgot what grade I got on it so I went to find it but Southern’s eClass website only allows you to review the current semester (for the life of me, I cannot find the previous semester archives on this website) so I cannot even share what I got. I think it was a B. All that matters is that I passed that class and won’t have to repeat it again. OH! I also learned a lot from that class. So that matters, too. :)

I am currently starting up another counseling group (have an “In Progress” for last semester’s Group Counseling and Procedures class). The topic will be on stress management. It will be held on Sundays instead of during the week.

I think when I actually start seeing clients again, my motivation will spark up once again. I think all of the reading and assignments are dulling me out. When I start practicing it again with real clients (instead of these long drawn out case studies for class) that things will look up. I just show up for class and feel totally “off” at times. I’m so tired of classes!!! :'(

I’m 1/3 of the way in finish reading the second textbook (out of six; not counting the case study book and Dr. Coombs’s compilation book) for Marriage and Family Therapy II. The 10 Lessons to Transform your Marriage was a great book! I’m really liking The Science of Trust. These books seem more solid than last semester’s books. Marriage and Family Therapy I was like a foundation for us to get into the depths of marriage and family matters.

Child and Adolescent Problems and Treatment shows the reality of how complex us humans are. It’s like what Dr. French said last night during class, it’s a challenge to figure out what the root of the problem is when counseling children and adolescents because you are dealing with biological, psychological, emotional, social, and cultural influences that make each individual unique. Because children don’t have the same min set as adults, as counselors, we have to avoid the temptation to say “what were you thinking” because a lot of times, the child doesn’t have the decision-making ability yet. They often do things because it sounds fun. But as counselors, we can help them to develop this process by having them to review (as in hindsight) if their behavior was a good thing or not.

I liked the case study we had reviewed for class yesterday. It was about a 12 year old Hispanic boy who had been lived after being hit and dragged by a car. Although the doctors found no physical reason for him to be experiencing pain in his abdomen, he felt pain. Dr. French gave us the advice to never argue with a client about pain. Pain is real to them. He told us another approach (my mind went blank… it starts with an “I”). The enmeshed relationship with this 12 year old’s mother was not helpful in the boy’s recuperation. The mother kept responding every time the boy was in pain. The boy had to learn how to handle the pain on his own instead of receiving comfort from mom every time he said “oww, it hurts.” Mom won’t be there always and he needed to get off of the meds before he became an addict. Instead of comforting him, the mom could have said “I’m proud of you getting through this painful time right now” or something similar to show that the mom still cares but she is empowering him to know that he can get through this.

Today, I have Clinical Practicum II and Assessment and Appraisal. I need to motivate myself to start research on the person I will use to assess different dynamics of this individual. I need to read, wash my dredlocks, and GET MOTIVATED!!! Take it one step at a time. Remember to do self care. And give myself permission to laugh! ;)

Fall II Semester Almost Over

Hello Readers,

Fall II semester is almost over. Wow! What a semester! My research proposal (for Research and Program Evaluation class) is finally written out. I finished it last week. Now only need to edit it like crazy until I have a final draft.

In the “Fall II Semester” blog entry, I had written about two clients (for Clinical Practicum II class). Both of those clients (as well as two others) have been terminated. Two were initiated by clients and two by student counselor (myself). One of these two was because of failure to come to scheduled appointments (missed four appointment times) and the other was in need of a social worker instead of a student counselor. I have six active clients and most of them I will have to continue to see after the winter break. One, I had successfully made one appointment with but the client failed to come to that appointment (about a month ago). Client failed to return calls to make another appointment so I might have to turn in the client’s chart to my supervisor. Already warned client that if I call one more time and no response, I will be giving chart to supervisor. This means the client can still be seen at the Counseling Suite but will see another student counselor (or can still see me if the client requests me).

Whew! What a semester! I cannot stop saying that.

For the Group Counseling and Procedures class, I will not be able to complete a class requirement before the semester is over. I was to create my own group and write a weekly progress report and then write a summary once the group counseling sessions were over. However, I was unable to get four of the same people to come to five sessions. :( So… I will have to do an extension (IP: In Progress) on this class. No worries! It looked as if I wasn’t going to get my 20 direct hours in Clinical Practicum II before the semester was over. But because I got two clients who are striving to get so many sessions in to get extra credit for their class, it has to happen! :D I was down to 10.8 direct hours (or some odd number like that). Now, I have about 15 direct hours (with two weeks, ten weekdays, left). Because 45 minutes are considered one clinical hour, I should get it done. It wasn’t that I didn’t have faith that I could do it. It was up to the clients to show up and not forget their appointments. So I was sitting in the seat of reality for a while. I was comfortable in accepting this as my possible fate.

There’s nothing to say about Marriage and Family Therapy I class. I was disappointed. Although I was forced to take this course, I wanted to learn how to use the skills to help a marriage or family unit. I feel like I need to learn more. It seemed superficial. So… I’m taking number two of this class next semester. I kept hearing about the family systems model but got more about it from Theories and Techniques of Psychotherapy class than in Marriage and Family Therapy I class. So disappointing. :( Even the choice theory and the attachment theory (in which I learned from other classes) was so disappointing. Both books that I had paid to keep in both subjects (“Becoming Attached” and “Choice Theory”) I will be selling to textbookrush.com. :(

I can’t think of anything else to share so I guess that’s a wrap for now! :)

Fall II Semester

Hello Readers,

I will not tell a lie. This semester (Fall II) is the tuffest (Wait. Is that a word? O_o) of the clinical mental health counseling program at Southern Adventist University. Well, at least so far. When I looked over the program calender over a year ago, I had dreaded to arrive to this semester. And now that I have arrived and have been “sitting” in it… living and breathing it… for about five weeks, I kid you not. It’s CRAZY!!!

*Sighs*

But… I did want to take some time to share the blessings from this semester. I have been able to see two clients in the Counseling Suite. Because of confidentiality, I will not go into detail. But I do want to say that it has been a growing experience. I love it! To be able to sit there and just let the clients figure out things in their own life is such a blessing. It keeps me humble. I just give what I have learned and allow the client to do it (find healing and grow) with a guiding hand, I cannot tell you with words what it is like.

Research class (Research and Program Evaluation). Yea… This one is a hassle. But I have enjoyed researching about the topic that I have chosen as a research proposal. I would like to actually see the results of this research so maybe I will submit this research proposal somewhere once I get through this class.

I’m also taking Marriage and Family Counseling I, Group Counseling and Procedures, and Clinical Practicum II. Clinical Practicum II is the class that actually has me seeing clients at the Counseling Suite on campus. Marriage and Family Counseling I is with Dr. Coombs. This is my first class with him but I was warn ahead of time that he will require all the textbooks on the list. Each textbook is a jewel for this class so I’m loving it!

Group Counseling and Procedures has been an interesting class. The first portion of the class is lecture and the second portion of the class is “hands-on”: we actually participate in a group. The class has been split in half and every week, one of the students are facilitating the group.

My notebook is about to die (9% left) so I guess I’m done writing. :/

Summer Semester, Session Three (?)

Hello Readers! I keep thinking to write here but it never got done until now. I would like to take this time to explain in brief detail what occurred during session three of summer semester. However, under the registration for classes, it classified this course as session two instead of session three. But the course sequence list I was given at the beginning of the program entitles this as a session three class. And Mikhaile (the Graduate Enrollment Counselor who could answer general questions concerning the counseling program) had even mentioned to me, around the time of signing up for classes, that it was taught during session three. This is why I put “(?)” in the title of this post.

Any way you look at it, I took the class (Multicultural Issues in Counseling) and it is over with! :D This was a “heavy” class because of the short time limit (only four weeks) and also personal issues students were having within the course objectives. Hmm… What all to share that wasn’t personal enough to place on the Internet?

The first day of class included a list of what us students and professor would do to refrain from belittling a culture: down puts were to be avoided as well as similar derogatory acts or behaviors. The idea was a good one and, to be honest, I believed we all tried to walk on egg shells when the cultures of classmates and professor was the topic of the day. However, when it came to the Arab descents, people were not too careful. It hurt to hear some things that were said about the group but I won’t say nothing more on the matter.

What I had liked about the textbook, Developing Multicultural Counseling Competence, is how honest it is. There is about twenty different authors which contributed to the textbook but two editors took the credit in regarding which authors to label within citing the textbook. I admired their presentation of each culture, especially the American culture (the chapter is called “Individuals and Families of European Descent”). According to Dr. Freeman, this exact chapter was the reason why this textbook became the one we used for class. In the past, multicultural textbooks failed to present European Americans (or, as the textbook say is more politically correct, White Americans) because the majority of people that went into the field I am entering in was once White Americans. When we looked around the classroom, we only saw two White Americans out of 12 (was it 12 in our class?) classmates.

Back to my original point: The American Dream. According to Hays and Erford, this “dream” is the manifestation of the cultural values of White Americans, stating that America is considered the “utopia” of the world (2014). As many of the readers know, the common belief held in America is that anyone can grow up and be whatever they desire to be: own a business, be a star, etc. This is an example of what the textbook called meritocracy: an individual’s success is based on his or her abilities, personal skills, and work ethic instead of external factors (Hays and Erford, 2014). However, as minority groups have experienced, this is far from the truth. Even though this is an impossibility, many White Americans believe in this “false advertisement” and, therefore, often blame minority groups for failing to push hard enough to achieve their goals.

What I just said right there caused the classroom to feel tense to me. I might be wrong but that’s how it felt for me. It’s been a personal battle on this subject alone. But I won’t go into detail. Instead, I will explain the other end of this pendulum: playing the victim.

The idea of playing the victim was brought up in class. I’m so glad it was brought forth because it is true. One of my classmates mentioned how he noticed many African American males who had this concept that the world was against them and there was hardly anything they could do in a career but entertainment. He heard this a lot while he was a police officer. I feel safe to say this because I am an African American. So, please don’t respond that I am not in a position to agree with this ex police officer. :/

What I had learned from this course is that a competent multicultural counselor would do well to gain awareness of how he or she views cultures; knowledge in diverse cultures; and gain skills to work with clients or patients of different cultures. Another thing I learned is that a multicultural counseling experience can still occur even if the counselor and the client/patient is of the same culture. This is when the concept of worldview comes to mind. One example is spiritual diversity. If two people attend the same church and have come from the same culture, one may be experiencing a different spiritual experience than the other.

I can write about this course for a long time but I realized I’ve been writing for almost 30 minutes so I will stop. If I make this blog entry too long, people won’t want to read it. :P I have learned a lot from this course. I just wished it was done during the fall or winter semester (when we have about 12 weeks instead of 4 weeks to master the course objectives).

I’m so proud of my fellow classmates for going through this journey with me. Dr. Freeman said that one’s cultural identity development is a journey and everyone is one different levels and different models. The class itself was a journey in which I believe every single classmate has changed for the better because of this course.

Summer Semester, Session One

After posting yesterday’s post, I realized I failed to post something about my first summer class at Southern. How did that happen? O_o Drug and Addicts was a fun class. The professor (Dr. Dickinson) and my classmates made the class fun. I learn better when it’s mixed with a “fun, no worries” atmosphere.

Each day, we had a quiz before class. That was challenging because it wasn’t multiple choice (essay writing instead). But I got through it. It helped me to know the material.

We were also to get into groups of two to present a chapter (some had to do do two chapters) to the class. It was neat to see how diverse my classmates were in presenting the chapters. I really liked the Jeopardy game one group had created. :)

For those who were wondering, I got a B in Statistics. Yay! I don’t have to take it again!

I would write more but I must start my day. :)