Volunteering As An Associate Professional Clinical Counselor In California

Hello Readers,

It took me a while to finally come back to my blog (via computer) to officially say that I have started to volunteer as an Associate Professional Clinical Counselor at a private practice office. I cannot receive payment while being under this title (as a contractor) nor does my clinical supervisor who owns the private practice has the manpower to add me as an employee. However, she has been willing to use whatever amount that the clients would be directly paying towards her via electronic payment to pay for my weekly supervision meetings as well as transportation to the office. So that is a blessing!

I had met with my clinical supervisor during the last week of September to see if we would be a good fit. I had found this lady when I was in Tennessee through Psychology Today website. I was looking for someone who was also interested in working with clients who were experiencing anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. I had sent her an email in 2017 but she didn’t remember receiving it. After going through a massive exchange with mental health counseling facilities and private practices, I decided to look through my files to pull up names, email addresses, and phone numbers of those that I had contacted way back in hoping to start seeing clients. When I had emailed the lady that is now my clinical supervisor, she had said that she does supervision but needed to see if we were a good fit. I was so happy! After seeing that we were a good fit, we scheduled another time to meet up at her office so I could visualize the place prior to seeing clients.

I started to see clients in October and, of course, I cannot say more in that respect for confidentiality sake. I have enjoyed being there for clients; being someone for the clients to talk to. I have also enjoyed recalling basic counseling responses as well as recalling all the valuable information (ex: electronic textbooks, worksheets, and research journal articles) that I have stored on my computer as well as OneDrive. Although it would be nice to find a job position to work for either the county or the State, I’m glad that I am able to volunteer at this private practice to gain experience. And, above all, I am able to be there for the clients and watch them do the work to better their own lives.

Anger Can Lead To…

Hello Readers,

Throughout my counseling career, I noticed that I had been confronted by the subject of anger from clients, books, and even those that have noticed how this emotion often rises up and is seeking for answers. I have written about anger in a few of my blogs but never really expounded on the subject. What I have learned during my clinical mental health counseling training as well as afterwards has lead me to my own personal conclusions in which I will attempt to share now.

Last week, my husband drove us (including our children) to the Sacramento Korean SDA English Ministry in Orangevale, CA. The pastor spoke about his experience with anger and how his experience lead him to read a book called Overcoming Emotions that Destroy. He concluded what I had also concluded during my internship at Behavioral Research Institute: anger is not a “bad” emotion because all emotions are neutral. It’s what we do with the emotion that is either bad or good. Emotions, in itself, is something that alerts us to either change or continue what we are doing or experiencing.

Prior to learning about this during my internship, I had a professor (Dr. Steve French) that introduced to my fellow classmates and myself an illustration he calls “The River of Anger.” I had written about this concept here. Dr. French had concluded that anger flows from two streams: fear or hurt. There are three ways to deal with anger (three streams that flow after one is angry). The two common ones are aggressiveness and depression. Aggressiveness often leads to homicide whereas depression often leads to suicide. The third stream, in which is a healthy way of dealing with anger is assertiveness. I enjoyed sharing this information with clients during my clinical practicum. I also enjoyed teaching how to be assertive and presented two separate worksheets on how to practice assertiveness. The first sheet was called List of Feelings and the second one was called I Statement. Assertiveness teaches one to present a problem and how to go about starting a change. And, of course, one doesn’t have the power to change someone’s behavior but one does have the power to address a situation and hope that this listener will be mindful of his or her actions.



Some People Just Need To Be Hearts

Hello Readers,

I just read an article that I had to share here: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-to-help-a-grieving-friend_n_5aa9801fe4b0004c0406d2fb

I’ll fill in my thoughts on another day.

August 30, 2019

Hello Readers,

Wow! I took so long to return here that I honestly don’t remember what my thoughts on this article was. I need to read over it again. *Goes to read article*

We often feel uncomfortable when one shares his/her “raw emotions” and, to remove this odd feeling, we often switch the talk onto ourselves. Should we do this? I believe all of us would say “no” but why is it that we do this? Why are we a “conversation narcissism”? It’s probably because we lack the tools on how to show support to someone. This article is one step towards obtaining training on how to encourage the speaker to continue on with his/her story instead of starting to talk about our own.

Success! I Have My Associate Professional Clinical Counselor Title

Hello Readers,

I have had my unlicensed Associate Professional Clinical Counselor (APCC) registration through the California Board of Behavioral Sciences for almost a month but I am unable to find a facility, program, etc. that will allow me to gain my direct hours with clients so that I can become a candidate to take the licensure exam. I have called and emailed over a dozen organizations (mostly non-profit) to ask and most of them that have responded back to me said that they only take graduates that are currently attending a university or the university contacts the organization. As for Sacramento Children’s Home, they said that I “lack experience.” When I had inquired about the experience I gained during my internship, they said that the person who had reviewed my resume saw that it was over two years old and, therefore, “too old.” So since it appears that no one will hire me, I have been saying to organizations that I will be willing to volunteer my time to counsel clients so that I can at least gain more recent experience and then, hopefully, once I gain enough recent experience, I can apply at a facility that might hire.

On Monday, I finally found someone who is a clinical supervisor but he said that he hasn’t supervised someone in a while and those that he did supervise were already hired at a facility. So, I had emailed him my information (resume, cover letter, and references) and I hope to hear from him soon. To make sure I don’t miss an opportunity of him becoming my clinical supervisor, I sent him a proposal letter this evening; stating what I have done and what I hope to do to gain my direct hours. I also wanted him to know that, if I don’t find a facility that will allow me to volunteer, what other possibilities might be able to achieve this goal (something I had done in Tennessee but not sure if California would accept this action).

To be honest, California seems to be so cut-and-dry when it comes to how to handle any protocol. This state barely leaves room for any alternatives. So, if you don’t fit the exact replica of what this state is telling you to do, you are basically stuck. It almost appears that I have to take mental health counseling courses in California for even a facility to look at me as a possible intern to join their team. But there must be a loop hole because the state wouldn’t have offered a way to apply for a registration if you had received education out-of-state. Would it?

I’m not going to give up. I will keep the courage and endure. I will bring hope and inspiration to others. And, once I find this loop hole, I will rejoice because I will be able to serve others in this community.

Update on Mental Health Counseling in California

Hello Readers,

The last time I had updated about my mental health counseling career in California, I had mentioned that I had one more course to do. It was the California Law and Ethics course. I started it online with CE4Less at the beginning of March and finished this 18-hour course at the end of March. Since I was busy balancing other things in the first half of April, I was unable to fill out the application the California Board of Behavioral Sciences requires those who have received their master degree out-of-state to do so (Reminder: I had filled out the same application two years ago and needed to complete two more courses to receive the title needed to do mental health counseling in California). I completed this form as well as gathering the other documents last week and also mailed it in. Now I have to do the waiting game; the Board asks to give them 90-days to review the application and respond.

The title was once called Professional Clinical Counselor Intern (PCCI) but, as of January the 1st, it is now called Associate Professional Clinical Counselor (APCC). This is the title given to those that have only achieved their master degree but has not yet achieved their license. Prior to becoming a candidate to take the licensure exam, I will have to obtain so many direct hours with clients while under supervision of someone that is licensed. This would take two years to accomplish if I work regular business hours every week. The journey is long but it is well worth it.

One good thing is that I had happened to visit the website of one of the possible job positions I can have once I have my APCC title. This was the same place where I had applied for a job position two years ago in hoping to have my PCCI title soon. When I had went to their website last week, I found out that they were starting to have open interviews on Thursdays (starting on April the 25th). I was able to attend this interview and spoke to a Jason. He said that since I am so close to being able to be hired, he would continue the hiring process by having a Kris call me for a phone interview and then they would do a panel interview with me. He asked me, in return, to go back to their website and fill out the job application. I finished that on the same day.

For those that have been praying for my mental health counseling journey, I want to thank you. Hopefully, I will get this therapist job position and so I may start collecting the required direct-hours needed to become a candidate to take the licensure exam. In addition, while I continue this journey, the process of making us mental health counselors move from one state to another with more ease of using our expertise is in the making (hence the name-change this year for the title I am obtaining). Therefore, once my husband and I are able to move out of California to the state we desire to root ourselves in, the process I am enduring will be more palatable by then.

The Voice Of An Outcast

Dear Reader,

As many of us know, humans are social beings. We crave for companionship, recognition, and validation. It helps us to develop into healthy individuals. So what happens to those that are not invited into a social group or isolated from others? How does this affect the mental and emotional status of such an individual?

I’m not here to bore you with research and statistics. Although I find all of this fascinating, I don’t have the time to look up such numbers. I barely have time to write my story (thanks to my lovely baby who just started to speak from her play pen; prior to this, she was sleeping). I want to be one of the voices to share with others about those are not included into cliques. Personally, I can’t stand cliques. I understand that we all have specific likes and dislikes and often gravitate to those that are like-minded. But, if you are aware of someone who is at a distant staring and your group, at least have the understanding that a simple smile or a wave would be satisfying to a soul who may long for human companionship.

Growing up, I was, in a way, like a goth (what is modernly called emo). Often those who are outcast become one just because they long to be with others but are somehow left alone. There is a feeling of depression and disassociation that often occurs. The mind and heart has to accept that one will never connect with others. Darkness often clouds one. The urge of acceptance and love never dies. I would have wore all black and even painted my fingernails black but I respected my parents enough to not do so (they were Christians). I wanted to pain of exclusion to go away so I started to attempt to memorize steps of how to harness energy from the sun and to remove yourself from your body. It came from a book that an elementary school classmate had found in our high school library. A cousin of mine had showed me the book and shared with me what was written therein.

Although I was successful in learning and removing the pain of isolation, I had another problem: the practice was increasing my anger. After a while, I couldn’t control whenever I wanted to use the energy that I was learning how to do. Anger increased my strength to supernatural. The time I realized I needed to stop this practice was when I became so angry with the same cousin that introduced me to these “spells” that I lifted her up and repeatedly banged her into the hallway wall at my parents’ house. So what happened to respecting my parents? What did I bring into their Christian home? I knew I needed supernatural strength  to bind whatever demon(s) that were now lurking in my parents’ home as well as in my body. That is when I became serious with God.

I learned about God when I was a child because my parents went to church and often took me with them. However, I didn’t have a personal relationship with God until I was almost 17 years old. The demon(s) that were in the house pressed upon me to end my life before I turned 16. One day, when I was the only one in the house, I found myself in the kitchen with a machete in my hand. To this day, I don’t know how I got to the kitchen but I remember being in a daze. When I came to, I dropped the knife and closed the drawer. I was totally spooked!

After deciding to dedicate my life to God, the enemy of God didn’t give up on me easily. Since I decided not to practice those “spells,” insulting words like “bitch” was often heard in my mind but I understood that it was not my thoughts. One main threat that hurt was hearing that I would have to deal with being an outcast again and that I would never have any friends. That did hurt but I decided not to let that threat get to me because a true Christian would have an idea of what I had went through because God would impress on the heart of the person to be kind and loving towards me; let me into their social group or their individual life. So, with holy boldness, and after hearing various presentations of Seventh Day Adventist beliefs, I decided to get baptized.

The following event I will never forget because it changed my social life. One person started to smile at me whenever we had eye contact. At first, it was awkward. I felt uncomfortable. I even asked God, “Why is [name omitted for privacy purposes] smiling at me?” After a while, I started to smile back. A warm sensation was felt in my heart. Then it occurred to me that others may need that same smile. So I started to duplicate it; whenever I locked eyes with someone, I decided to smile ever so slowly. For they may need someone to simply say “I see you.”

“I see you” was a phrase that meant something to be ever since I watched that scene in The Joy Luck Club. A daughter was wondering how her mother thought about her. One day, the mother affectionately said “I see you” and the daughter couldn’t help but cry. It was healing to her tormented soul. I desire to bring healing to others just like this. One reason is because I have been there. I was once an outcast (or, in some degree, I still am). I still find myself excluded from social gatherings or social groups. I don’t have “friends.” I get tired often from conversing throughout the day because I am an introvert. But it doesn’t stop me from carrying about others. I have a warm heart. I desire to be a sound board for others who are still trying to figure out self and life. I want to be a cheerleader in the lives of others. Although I often don’t have time to write personal letters or make encouraging cards from scratch, I often pray for others. One day, I want to travel and present hope to others. I want to present topics such as stress, anxiety, depression, and share solutions. I want to be the light and the end of the tunnel that others are walking towards but don’t know it just yet.

Yesterday, I was able to finally give a track to a young lady that reminded me of myself when I was her age. Although our nationality differs, I could sense the sameness as in being an outcast. She wore her bangs over her eyes and kept her lips firmly pressed together. I often passed her by as I walk to work. After a while, this same young lady would walk with earbuds in her ears. Since it would have been a bit awkward to give her the track at the beginning of my seasonal job, I decided to only pray for her and wait towards the end of the season to give it to her. When I gave it to her, I noticed her black fingernail polish. She took the tract that says “A Love Letter From Jesus” and said “Oh, thank you!” in such an appreciative way that it caused me to want to pray that I will find someone else to pass another track to. I hope she understands that it was one way for me to say “I see you.”

In conclusion, I cannot believe that I was able to write all of this without needing to attend to my baby (it is dead silence via baby monitor; she must have went back to sleep)! Having a baby around also reminds me there is joy in life. When I was a teenager, I often helped my sister with her foster babies. It was a joy to play and talk to them. I didn’t feel lonely when I interacted with the babies. I felt like I was accomplishing someone important; helping a human being that couldn’t help themselves just yet. I ask each one of my readers to please find the joy of encouraging others who may feel alone in this world. We are all living on the same planet together and struggling with one thing or another. We need encouragement from those that see us often. And, who knows, that person may end up being one of your best friends.

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