“Why Did You Become A Clinician”?
I can remember when I first started out at a clinician, fresh out of my graduate program at South University and into the residential setting as a Social Service Counselor. I had no idea exactly what I was supposed to do.
True enough, I had not only successfully completed two internships during (out-patient substance abuse and in-patient psychiatric and dual diagnosis) my graduate studies but had also graduated my program with a solid GPA that was over the 3.0 mark, yet, I found myself nervous, scared, and feeling unprepared.
What if I said the wrong thing?
Better yet, would anything I said make sense to the patients or the staff?
I doubted myself and my ability considering I was just a novice clinician who really had not experience the world of counseling outside of what my graduate program afforded me.
11 years later, I find myself consistently reflecting on those days as I searched for my place within the world of counseling, trying not to just “fit” in but rather creating me an identity in which I feel comfortable and the most effective.
Man, those last few words really just struck a nerve within me.
“Create me an identity where I felt comfortable and the most effective”……………
All too often as clinicians we have this grand idea, especially after we complete our graduate program and begin out journey in the unknown within our chosen profession and career field, that we are going to secure the highest paying job, established amazing private practices, and becoming money making clinicians in no time.
We chase the dream of becoming like those whom we have come to admire in the field, yet, we overlook the fact that they too was once in our shoes and had to start somewhere.
We begin to place these unrealistic expectations upon ourselves and try to emulate others in hopes of attaining the same amount, if not more, success than they have had.
We become the seemingly tired mouse stuck in a cage running in circles over and over again, yet, we are still stuck and find ourselves tired, exhausted, overwhelmed, and even BURNED OUT!!!!
BURN OUT is very real in chosen profession and field. It will creep us on us before we know and kidnap us like no other. We find ourselves unable to be productive and even beginning to wonder if this field is even the field we want to work in.
In measuring our success against others we become discouraged as we feel we are not moving towards where we desire to be in such a quick timeframe.
The reality is, in your attempts to create the success of others for yourself, you lost your drive, your motivation, your inspiration for being a clinician.
You have been so worked out about getting what everyone else has that you never took the time to truly consider what it was that you wanted within the profession and developed you a plan that would allow you to fulfill your dreams and desires, absent of what everyone else is and/or was doing.
You forgot, along the way, why YOU decided to become a clinician? What inspired you? What motivates you? What is about this field that drew you to it?
All meaningful and thought-provoking questions that causes us to take a step back and truly reflect.
I can write this, not just from what I have been told but more from experience.
I was once that clinician who felt that I was just here. I had no clear direction as to what I wanted to do within the field of counseling or what my identity was going to be. I honestly was just following suit. But boy, did I soon learn a lesson.
Following suit did not get me far. My passion for the work was quickly deteriorating and I began to wonder if I had what it took to be successful in this field. Had I just wasted my money earning a degree, I was for certain I was even going to use?
It took doing some soul-searching and really taking a look in the mirror to begin to see that I was too busy stressing myself out about measuring up to everyone else and not being true to who I was and what I loved to do. It was time for me to develop my identity and flourish and that is what I have done over the years.
There will be those who are meant to be a clinician within the private practice setting, seeing 20-30 clients weekly, while there will be others who we find success working within organizations providing therapeutic services, clinical supervision, and so much more to a wide array of unique populations within the counseling field.
Today, I encourage to you remember that this journey is no one’s journey but your own. You should aspire to be your best self as a clinician each and every day, not comparing yourself to the next person, considering their journey is theirs and theirs alone.
Take some time to reflect and list all of the reasons that you made the decision to become a clinician.