Winter III Semester – Week Thirteen

Dear Readers,

I have been enjoying my time at my internship site (Behavioral Research Institute, BRI for short). It’s been very educational. I have been able to do co-therapy with my internship supervisor, Dr. Tom Biller (the clinical director of BRI). Dr. Biller sees clients through Health Management Services (the private practice side of the building). I am learning a lot from Dr. Biller. I have also been able to do several things for BRI: individual LAMP (Lifetime Affect Management Program), health fair in community, office work, and co-facilitate in group counseling (psychoeducation).

Last week, I had finished my first individual LAMP (individual counseling). The client/student left full of hope and was very optimistic in knowing what to do whenever he/she (for confidentiality reasons, I will not reveal the sex of the client/student) realized that anger was starting to be the dominant emotion at the time. The client/student understands that all feelings are neutral; it’s what one does with that feeling that causes positive or negative results.

This upcoming week, the communication skills counseling group, that I have been co-facilitating, will be meeting for the last time. Although this is an early-in-the-day kind of group, I would say that those who come willing to learn are getting something out of the class. My co-facilitator and I plan to receive feedback from those that have been attending the class. It will be interesting to see what they say in comparison on what I have observed.

The next two Fridays, I am scheduled to help out in upcoming Health Expos (location: school gyms). During Health Fairs/Expos, BRI is able to present (at a booth) the LAMP program in hoping to either just educate others on ways to deal with their anger or hoping they would like to sign up to one of the group or individual LAMP classes. I haven’t been able to do BRI’s PST (Parent Stress Training) classes because the ones that are taught at BRI office is on the same day as my internship class. The other PST classes are on Saturday and that is when I am at church.

The office work I am currently tackling at BRI is the quarterly count. This is where the “research” section of the non-profit organization is seen in action. Keeping tabs of who all attends what BRI curriculum (male/female and race) and from what county is a lot of work! I am literally going through all of the attendance sheets, counting, and placing the totals on a quarterly sheet. Then, I will have to count them by county. Since someone has to get it done and, since I am continually going to the office to gain more direct hours for this semester, I help out whenever Dr. Biller either has a client that doesn’t want me to sit in (do co-therapy) or his client never shows up.

I can’t think of anything else to talk about so I will end here.:)

A Reflection – From Teen to Early Adulthood

Hello Readers,

I wrote the following in my prayer journal in December 12, 2001:

Dear Saviour,

While reviewing past writings of the experiences I once had, I noticed something. At first, I use to be so sad and yet, I held on tight to you. I endured hardship, loneliness, pain—even the desire to go to far away lands. No wonder why I use to read novels! I wanted to forget the pass troubles I used to endure. The reality of my life cut me like a knife. I felt like a child—wanting to grow but couldn’t. I was never taught how to become a woman.

Then, something happened. In my writings, from about September 1999 – September 2000, I wrote about the reality. My life in the city, how much I hated it! The desire to be among nature and not being bombarded with the elements therein was intense. I mentioned how my spiritual growth seemed to be shrinking. After September 2000, God placed me somewhere.

“Watch Deborah, ” He whispered to me. Deborah? Deborah Sulusi was a colportuer during this time—along with Tracy Langston. I was placed on the team. It was truly providential. While on the team, I moved into the house where Deborah lived (with her mother, Elena Poloai). Watching both Elena and Deborah showed me a different view of women besides my dear mother. When instructed to do something from the voice of Mrs. Poloai, it was different than hearing it from my mom. My mom is just my mom. I would do things because my mom instructed me. But to hear another woman say “Do the dishes” or “vacuum,” it awaken something in me.

While out on the streets with the colporting books in my hands, I felt the need of “mommy” by my side. I felt so insecure. Growing up, I was kept in a “security blanket” called home. Staying innocent and faithful, after school, I would go straight home—never going to a friend’s house, etc. since I never ventured out, I had the need to always stay in. Therefore, you can understand the fearfulness that I had when I found out that I was to go door-to-door without a partner besides me. While doing Bible Work, I had a partner beside me constantly.

While reviewing these matters [and forgetting that this letter started out with “Dear Saviour” and not “Dear Reader”—the “you” is supposed to be the pronoun to “Saviour” and not the “reader”], I can see how God was slowly getting me out of my comfort zone.

My dream as a child was to be a missionary. With this being a constant prayer, I knew that God had to teach me many things! One of them being able to be placed in different surroundings.

So, besides being in Deborah’s house for a few months, God took me to Hartland College (in Virginia). What a glorious experience it was!

Starting in January of 2001, I was learning the need to know who God really is. In the book The Desire of Ages, under the chapter of “Invitation,” these words clearly summarize what I was taught (and still being taught).

So what happened? How did I change? It’s a miracle, I know. No scientific solution. Only one answer: I kept my eyes on Christ.

If God did the same for me, he can do the same for you!

May you continue to grow gracefully. This is my prayer.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

Winter III Semester – Week Seven

Hello Readers,

I cannot believe that the Winter semester is halfway done! I have been wanting to blog but could never find the time to do so.:/ I have been having a blast at the internship site. When I wrote about the Winter III semester six weeks ago, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to stay at the internship site because my supervisor/professor didn’t visit my internship site until about week three or four.:/ She was behind in visiting the internship sites. So I didn’t put down where I was at the time.

Behavioral Research Institute (BRI: http://www.ebradley.net/bri) has the mission to prevent childhood abuse. It has three basic curriculum: Parent Stress Training (PST), Lifetime Affect Management Program (LAMP), and SWAG (helping children deal with grief). It has a “sister” (Health Management Services: HMS) that is in the same building. The clinical director of BRI, Dr. Tom A. Biller, is my site supervisor. He is also the psychologist that receives clients at HMS. I have been able to get most of my direct hours by co-therapy; sitting in with Dr. Biller’s clients. Another way I have been able to get direct hours is doing psychoeducation group counseling with another intern at a local alternative high school. Our topic is on communication skills.

Michael Bennett, the agency director of BRI, has been helping me to find other ways to get my direct hours. As of now, I will be starting to see individuals to use the LAMP curriculum (psychoeducation for stress management). I say “as of now” because things with clients are always changing!😛 It took me about a year for me to accept this inaccuracy of dealing with clients. *Sighs*

Question: Does my readers have a story about being an intern? Feel free to write a comment about your personal experience as an intern (be it counselor, pastoral, medical doctor, etc.)

Gardening at Hartland College – A Spiritual Application

Hello Readers,

The following was an event that occurred while I was at Hartland College. I had written it in a small notebook and entitled this section “Be Thou My Vision.” I realized that now I have two booklets with the same title.:/ So this is not to be confused with the previous one that I have already shared on this blog earlier. This event was written on June 16, 2001:

This I know for sure.

Yesterday evening, I was so upset with myself. I saw so many things in my character that needs to be removed. While walking fast to my garden, I heard thunder coming in front of me. The sky looked so clear. The thunder caused me to freeze in mid walking. God is truly powerful and I am nothing. The thunder sank into my heart and turned my anger to sadness. For I just want self to be completely dead so that God’s will for my life can be accomplish. I’m so tired of self getting in the way.

With this sadness (but knowing that God can change me — if I let Him), I continued. With a slower pace than before, I made it to my garden. I notice someone else (who has had more experience in gardening and this Virginia environment than I) was watering their plants. Surely, I can water mine.

I turned on the water system and began. Once again, the noise of thunder came. I looked around. Still clear skies. A little bit more clouds. No other change. The other individual was watering the crop. I went back to work. I began to water the plot to my left (when looking towards the front gate of Hartland). The clouds began to get a little gray. Soon afterwards, there was a sound of relief coming from behind me. The person was done. Leaving the field, the individual got in a vehicle and left. I was all alone. Looking around, I heard the voice of God say, “Melanie, get ready for something. Watch carefully and learn from this.”

“Go,” He said.

I held the hose in my hand.

“But I’m not done!” I thought. I continued watering the neighbor’s broccoli. And mine own. Also, the tomatoes.

“Go,” He said.

“But I’m not done here!” I said out loud. I looked at the corn that hasn’t grown yet. They show no sign of fruit.

“I will water them. You did your part. Now go before it’s too late,” He spoke with words of authority. Alone with His command, the wind came. I became dumbfounded and paralyzed. And yet, I didn’t feel my weight at all.

I began to sprinkle my corn bed. For I knew that when a quick storm comes, the water doesn’t run that deep. The wind carried the water away from the bed.

“Go!”

Finally, I took the hose back to the other side and turned off the water. Seeing someone’s water bottle (in which I saw when I went to the plot that early morning) with some water in it, I took it and ran. Actually, I walked quickly.

“Hurry, the storm is coming,” something said. It must have been my guardian angel. As I cross the road and began to pass the manure pile, I notice some flowers.

“They’re beautiful!” I thought. “I have never seen anything like it. Oh, Father! Can I pick one!”

A distraction.

“Hurry, the storm is coming!” More voices encouraged me.

“You can just pick one,” said the fallen angels. “It won’t take long to pick. Then, you can run with it in your hand.”

Turning back, I went aside to it. The bunch of flowers moved with the wind. The surroundings were getting darker. The noise of the wind in the trees were louder. I think thunder roared — I don’t remember. Once again, paralyzed.

“Oh, no!” I thought. “I transgressed. I’m sorry.”

“Run!”

I began to moved more faster. My legs seem so weak. I passed the shed.

“Run!”

Going through the weeds were a bit difficult. My skirt seem to slow me down.

“Run!”

The wind pushed me forward at the same time.

When I got back into the clearing, drops began to fall. Large ones. While panicking, I ran.

“Why don’t I ever listen to You?!” I yelled. The drops became more thicker. I saw the people at the Wellness Center watch me. There were two guest there and one student.

I ran!

Passing the Wellness Center, the storm became stronger. Walking on the green, I noticed the thickness of rain around the green.

Was God showing mercy on me and not letting me get soaking wet?

I felt some wetness.

“I deserve it! I deserve it! I deserve it!” I said while running. Then, I felt the rain even more. Halfway to the mansion. I could barely see it. I didn’t feel the weight of my body. Only the coldness of the rain. And a bruised heart.

Why didn’t I listen to Him?

[End of writing]

There is a spiritual lesson I had learned that day. Back then, God had placed me several places to learn about myself (as in where my character needed to change) and to encourage others. At this point in time, God was teaching me what Paul had taught others in 1 Corinthians 3. According to Paul, he was the one, at the time, that had planted the spiritual seeds, Apollos watered, but it was God that gave the increase (see 1 Corinthians 3:6). This is regarding the spiritual work Paul was doing. According to Ellen G. White, it was Paul who had first started the Christian work in Corinth (Acts of the Apostle, p. 274). Apollos came later.

I had planted that section of the garden at Hartland College but was impressed that I would not be around to see the entire garden grow (God would move me to another missionary project). But God promised that He would take care of this garden. I wasn’t only leaving this physical garden but also a spiritual garden; the people there at Hartland College. Many of the young ladies there had become precious to me. I was watering seeds that someone else had planted (shared encouragement) and desired to see them grow spiritually. But God was moving me to another place to either plant or water in His garden — the world.

Many months, or, maybe, even years later, one of those who were a fellow classmate for that Gardening class, had testified that my section of the garden was the most abundant section of the garden. This left a deep impression on me spiritually. This classmate told me that other classmates had watered it. And, yes, I understood that God was the one that did the increase.

Winter III Semester – Day One and Two

Hello Readers,

Today completes the second day of Winter III semester in the clinical mental health counseling program at Southern Adventist University. However, I only have one class this semester: Clinical Internship: Clinical Mental Health Counseling (or, it is also written as this: CMHC Internship). Since classes at Southern started yesterday, Monday, and my class is on Mondays, I actually started my class on the same day that was the official first day of this semester. During class, my professor stated that, although she hasn’t had the meeting with my onsite supervisor (my supervisor that is at the internship site), I could start getting my direct and indirect hours from the internship site. So, I had called the site this morning to ask if I could come in today. I had to ask because I had not scheduled a time to come in (besides the intern meetings that are held every Wednesday afternoon).

When I had arrived on site, a clinician asked me if I wanted to observe him while he administered two different assessments on a client. I said “Sure!” and was so excited to finally see the WAIS-IV “at work.” I have read about this assessment during my undergraduate (associates and bachelor degree in Psychology) and during my graduate program. It’s an assessment to measure cognitive ability. The clinician also used another type of ability assessment in which confirmed the results of the WAIS-IV. After I was done observing, the clinician and I did a collaborative diagnosis; sharing what each other had concluded (as in diagnosing the client). The clinician gave me tips and I thanked him for that. It was very educational.

After the observation was done, it was time for lunch (I went to the facility at 11:00am). After lunch, I made copies of certain forms so my site supervisor would have a file for me in his office. Then I took the time to review a binder that included training to facilitate a psychoeducation counseling group. Once my site supervisor and the agency director was free (they were in a meeting during the time I was copying forms and reviewing the binder), I was going to help with some refiling but someone had cleaned the basement and the agency director wasn’t notified on where they had moved some of the boxes. So, instead of doing this (might be able to do this task tomorrow), I reviewed the internship site procedures, policies, and description for interns. While reading this over, I found out what I could have done (forgot that I had read this). I could have did some office work in the receptionist area. When I realized it, the facility was about to close in 20 minutes. Plus, I had already called my husband to come pick me up.

Tomorrow, I will have to officially introduced myself to the receptionist (instead of saying hi in passing or ask them a question, such as “where is the shredder?”). Ugh! I cannot believe I did that tunnel vision thing to them! I had one mission on my mind and forgot to treat them like people who have feelings. I thought I grew out of that.😦 Oh, well. At least I noticed my mistake and I can fix my error. I just didn’t like it when patients at Dr. Workneh’s dental office forgot to say “hi” to me and just “got down to business.”

So my first day at the internship site was not bad. I am just a bit concerned that since my professor hasn’t met with my site supervisor that it might not be my permanent internship site.😥 But another classmate from Southern is already there (and another classmate was once there) so I’m guessing that this internship site is still abiding by whatever standard Southern is upholding.

Fall III Semester Over

Hello Readers,

Fall III semester was one of those semesters that had a lot of class work, reading, presentations, and research (by Internet or on site). I am glad it is over but I’m a bit mixed (maybe even the word “confused” is appropriate) with the outcome of one of the classes. It’s always a challenge when I have a new professor (or “teacher” in my elementary to high school years) that hasn’t had me as a student just yet. All three of my professors were new (as in I have never had them as a professor before) but they all perceived me differently. And the one that perceived me as a shy person was the only one who left a remark on my electronic portfolio. Ugh! What a mess! Well, as the lady who had taught us students how to use our electronic portfolio had mentioned, one can always turn things off and on (as in allowing potential job sites to only see certain parts of one’s portfolio).

In my Fall III at Southern blog entry, I had mentioned the idea of gaining my last two elective credits by doing independent study. I don’t have to do this because Records at Southern Adventist University realized that many students, who usually get good grades in class, received a C or even an F in Crisis Counseling (a class offered in the summer). After certain individuals (who work in the main office of the Education and Psychology department) explained what led to a specific teacher over the class, it all made sense to us students. Therefore, Records gave us another chance to improve our final grade for this course by taking an exam at the end of this semester. I received a passing grade. This allowed my three credits of Crisis Counseling course to cover the last two elective credits that I had needed.

Other successful achievements within this semester:

  1. Took NCE (National Counseling Examination) in October and passed. Will have the official NCC certification after mailing the office my transcripts (after I graduate). Please note that it is only a certification and not licensure. For more information about NCE and NCC, click here.
  2. Was able to successfully see a client from session one (initial session) to termination session (last session) with allowing the client to “tell her story” and using basic counseling responses at the appropriate time.
  3. Obtained additional training that was needed to pass me on from clinical practicum to internship capability.
  4. Did interviews at two potential internship sites. One site was ready to have me aboard starting next semester but needed me to do a background check to confirm this.

The bitterness is that my two professors that had been my foundation to obtain the knowledge and skills of counseling is unable to know about my growth and success. As mentioned in Fall III at Southern blog, both of them are no longer professors at Southern (they both decided to work somewhere else). However, both Dr. Nivischi and Dr. Wampler were proud of me (Nivischi for growing as a competent counselor and Wampler for passing the NCE on the first try). But it doesn’t take away the sadness that Dr. French and Dr. Dickinson will never (well, maybe not “never”) know how much I have grown nor the success that I have achieved.😦 If only they would be at my graduation so I can say “thank you.” Can someone who is reading this work that out for me? I plan to graduate in December 2016. That would so lovely; to shake their hands and say “thank you.”

Positive Psychology Exercise – Day 7

Hello Readers,

Today is the final day for me to express three things that went well:

  1. Wrapped one gift for Christmas
  2. Started hemming up dress pants for husband
  3. Found time to review the final crisis incident stress management (CISM) model I learned during the summer in crisis counseling class (the entire class will be given the opportunity to exchange our grades to whatever we get on our exam tomorrow)

Reference: Flourish (audiobook: disc 2, track 2) by Dr. Martin Seligman

Website: http://www.authentichappiness.org