Topic 1: Your Career after Graduation and Licensure {by 1/23}

Based on last week’s readings/discussions (1/16) and the topics for this week’s class (1/23) consider the following two discussion points: (1) What are your initial thoughts and feelings when you think about your next professional/career steps after graduating? (2) Simply share any thoughts or concerns you may have about obtaining licensure (e.g., licensure exam, application) as a mental health professional.  Please see the three links under “LMHC Prep” on my website homepage – bottom of right-hand column.  Also, bring to class (print or electronic) the “Regulating Mental Health Service Delivery” documents under “Class Handouts.”  Your original post should be posted by the beginning of class 1/23.  Post your two replies no later than 1/25.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

37 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amanda Russo-Folco
    Jan 18, 2020 @ 13:55:23

    1. My initial thoughts and feelings when I think about my next professional/career steps after graduating is that I am very anxious and excited about life after graduation. There are so many different jobs out there in this field and I honestly have no idea where or how to even start looking for jobs. I am still contemplating if I want to look more into in-home therapy, outpatient, or even maybe a behavioral hospital. I mainly want to find a job where I work with children. I also have thoughts such as “Am I going to be a great therapist?” or “What if I don’t find a job?” and “I’m so nervous to be out of school because school is all I ever knew”. My job most of my life was to be a professional student but now finding another full-time job is a new chapter in my life and I am also very excited to start this chapter after graduation. After graduation, I want to be able to apply all the skills and knowledge I learned in the past few years from the program and internship to my new career. In the end, whichever job I find I know I will be anxious in the beginning, but I will make the best of the situation because it will be a new and exciting experience.

    2. Some thoughts or concerns I have about obtaining licensure is that I don’t know what to expect when taking the licensure exam. My initial thoughts when I think about this exam is “What happens if I don’t pass?”, “What does the exam consist of?” and “How long is the exam?”. I was also wondering when you would have to get re-certified for your license once your license is obtained. Also, in terms of the application, will I be filling out the application the correct way and what happens after the application is submitted. Also, I am not too sure how to start preparing to take the exam itself.

    Reply

    • Dee
      Jan 19, 2020 @ 20:39:21

      Amanda,
      I really like how you point out the transition we will be making from professional students to professional clinicians. I agree with you wholeheartedly that it is exciting to apply all that we have learned in our professional careers, but also that that in itself is a bit scary! We have been students for so long that this transition in our lives to be professionals in our careers is very exciting, and harrowing. What will we be like as clinicians? Have we learned enough? I’m sure we will all be great because we are all so determined to be effective therapists. Man I hope my clients don’t ever see how anxious I am about my professional role! 😀

      Reply

    • Jayson
      Jan 21, 2020 @ 20:12:12

      “What happens if I don’t pass?” Responding to this question you made, I think we are all thinking the same thing. Our time here at Assumption has taught us so much therapy information, however at my experience at my internship, I learned that school only teaches us so much. There is so much more to learn that Assumption did not teach us. Assumption gave us the groundwork to begin our therapy knowledge and knowing that there is so much more to learn, it is pretty scary because what if the licensure exam were to ask us a certain question that Assumption did not prepare us for.

      Reply

    • Alyce Almeida
      Jan 22, 2020 @ 21:08:10

      Amanda,

      You and I both for the fear of “what if I fail?” Nor do I know where to even start with preparing for the exam as well. It’s kind of like this jumbled mess of fear in your head and it makes me at least feel extremely anxious about graduating now. Even though I’m excited this little fear is like “oh boy here we go all over again.” Hopefully we won’t feel so overwhelmed with this class, but you’re not alone!

      Reply

    • Sarah Mombourquette
      Jan 25, 2020 @ 17:23:42

      Hi Amanda, I really appreciate the question you asked about “am I going to be a great therapist?” I think it almost goes along with the second part of that post which relates to always having been a professional student. Before our internships, we were predominately focused on just being students. Even as we have been continuing in this program and thinking about what the future would hold, we were still just going through the motions of academia. I think all of us in this program are great students as evidenced by our work in our classes, but I think your question highlights an important concern of mine that I hadn’t thought of before: will being great students in a counseling psychology graduate program make us great counselors?

      Reply

  2. Mikala Korbey
    Jan 19, 2020 @ 11:29:31

    My initial thoughts when thinking about graduating, my first thought is I cannot wait to get there. I am excited and nervous to graduate and to no longer have to be a full-time student, and working multiple jobs all at the same time. I feel like I will be able to breathe and enjoy life a little bit more. When thinking about my next steps, I feel confident that I either want to be a school based counselor/clinician or work as a residential clinician. I know that school based jobs may not be posted until the summer months (July, August, and even into September), however those jobs are often hard to get without much experience and without having a connection. Applying for jobs and going on job interviews makes me nervous, but I know that if I prepare for them and consider potential questions they may ask me, that I can do well! I am definitely worried that I am not qualified to do either job and that I won’t be good at them, however those are probably thoughts that many people have.
    I am also definitely nervous about obtaining licensure because I know the exam is going to be difficult and I am not a good test taker as it. I also am worried because in my internship experience I do not have as much “clinical” experience as most other people do and I am worried that will hurt my chances of passing. Obviously I am going to study my little heart out, but still am worried I am at a disadvantage. I am also worried that depending on where I get a job it might be hard for me to get my supervision hours, but I feel like knowing now that might be a challenge, I can hopefully get ahead of it and plan accordingly. Overall, I am excited to be moving forward in my career path!

    Reply

    • Amanda Russo-Folco
      Jan 20, 2020 @ 20:40:08

      Mikala,

      I really like how honest you were about how you felt once you graduate because I feel the same way! Trying to balance work, school and internship is not an easy task to do but we are at the home stretch and as you said, we will be able to finally breathe and just focus on the next steps after graduation. Also, I wish I was as confident as you about choosing which career path to take because I am still contemplating which way to go. I appreciate you being open about feeling anxious and nervous going on job interviews because I definitely feel the same way as you do because getting a full-time job right out of graduate school and knowing if we are qualified enough is definitely nerve-wracking. In the end though, you are going to be doing great things in the next chapter of your life!

      Reply

    • Nicole Plona
      Jan 21, 2020 @ 12:19:44

      I 100% agree with the idea of finally getting to relax a bit more and enjoy what I am doing now, without the additional stress of being a student for once. I think it’s great that you want to work in schools. I’m not fully educated on how summers would look like for an adjustment counselor role. Would you get summers off like teachers, would you work during a summer program or a different seasonal job? Would definitely be interesting to know more about. Also I get the concern and worries about not feeling qualified for a position but our program does its best to put us in a position that will allow us to excel in our future career choices. When looking to the licensure exam, I am on the same page as you with not being good at taking tests. However, I think with the amount of experience we will have prior to taking it, it might not feel as overwhelming anymore.

      Reply

    • Jayson
      Jan 21, 2020 @ 20:21:13

      “I am also worried that depending on where I get a job it might be hard for me to get my supervision hours”

      I gotta say that I agree with you on this statement. Once I read Dr. V’s chapter 5 about how some places do not offer supervision and we need to find our own supervisor who is qualified to give us that supervision, it is just scary that due to that, it will negatively affect our eligibility for licensure. Thus it is extremely important to carefully search for a place that offers all the requirements for licensure which sounds like it can be difficult to do since I assumed every place offered supervision hours.

      Reply

  3. Dee
    Jan 19, 2020 @ 20:33:57

    1. My initial thoughts and feelings when I think about my next professional/career steps after graduating are mixed with excitement, some fear and anxiety, and determination. I am certainly excited to move on to the next stages of my profession. I am excited to finish my master’s requirements and my formal schooling and put theory into practice (as I have been doing at my internship), and continue to grow as a clinician. It has certainly been rewarding at internship, however part of my growth as a clinician has involved my fair share of doubt. I do struggle with my confidence as a clinician and feeling like I am not qualified enough to give treatment or if I am doing therapy the way I should, or even if I am a good clinician in general. These thoughts/anxieties have fueled me to research and make sure I am using empirically supported treatments, which is beneficial for my clients, but for my own well-being, self-esteem, and clinical identity, has been a challenge. I assume that with time I may still be fighting these doubts and worries, but eventually I will gain experience and evidence to combat my negative thoughts and anxiety. I am determined to work hard and contribute to the field of mental health whatever I can, even if it is just helping one client at a time. This is my overall goal.

    2. Some thoughts/concerns I have about obtaining licensure are worries about the examination, the application process and requirements for the license, and the dread of the 2 year preparation period. First and foremost, I am most anxious about the examination. I have no idea what to expect, the content expected, or even how to prepare. Some of the websites provided by Dr. V have been quite helpful in that regard, but until I come closer to actual preparation for the exam, it remains daunting. Additionally daunting, is the application process for licensure. I mean holy moley! I feel I need a key to navigate that page entirely. A checklist (that they formatted for what I assume to be ease of access) with a seemingly never ending amount of items, is less helpful than intended! I will certainly need to take the time to process that more clearly, and even now I’m wondering if I’ll meet all those requirements. The cost of the process doesn’t help either. But hey, I’ve spent this much on learning and developing my profession, what’s another $272+? Even still, the process itself will be worthwhile when I have the LMHC I have already worked so hard towards earning.

    Reply

    • Shannon O'Brien
      Jan 24, 2020 @ 05:45:06

      Dee – I totally understand how you feel regarding having doubts about your abilities to be an effective clinician. Sometimes I still go to internship and feel like a fraud. I mean, honestly, when did we get to this point in our academic career, right?! It is also so hard to practice what we preach to our clients when we are probably feeling just as anxious as they are sometimes. I can’t even count how many times I have made suggestions to clients or worked on treatment plans where immediately after I think, “Who am I to tell this person that when I know I am not doing that myself?” I try and use these moments to motivate myself to be make healthier coping choices along with my client in order to be my best self for them. Not always easy, but the effort is there!

      Reply

  4. Shannon O'Brien
    Jan 20, 2020 @ 02:18:57

    (1) When thinking about life after graduation and my professional career, I definitely feel anxious. Anxious mostly in a good way though. I am excited to finally have a career that I intend to whole heatedly love. Currently, I dispatch for a police and fire department and have completely fallen in love with the first responder world. Fortunately, there has been a huge and much needed push to better integrate proper mental health resources into this culture. Many departments are utilizing crisis/jail diversion clinicians that ride along to active calls in order to better deescalate situations involving community members experiencing a mental health crisis as well as provide them with better resources/outcomes than an arrest (getting them to a hospital or referring them to in/out patient facilities and following up). Additionally, more first responders are receiving mental health first aid training that looks to help them accurately identify someone in crisis and provide more effective aid. At this moment (as i have changed my mind a million times) nothing sounds more perfect for me than working with both community members and first responders simultaneously. I have grown to love the fast-paced environment and what we call “controlled chaos.” I think my academic and internship experiences have shown me so many ways to effectively implement therapeutic skills and build alliances with people. I also think about my life without academics. It really is hard to believe that I have made it to end of my academic career and now have to switch focus towards a professional career and who I really want to be as a clinician. I am really excited to find my style and work through these first few years!

    (2) Honestly, I feel SO uneducated about the licensing exam. It is something that has seemed so far away until recently, so I have 100% pushed any thought of it to the back of my brain. Now, I am beginning to feel pretty anxious about it. I don’t even know where to begin with the preparation/application process. So, I am really happy to have a class where we spend so much time talking about it. How do you even find a place to take this exam and how often is is offered? What are the best ways to study/what are the best resources to use? How long does it typically take to complete the exam? When will I know if I passed? Basically, every possible question there is, well I have it!

    Reply

    • Amanda Russo-Folco
      Jan 20, 2020 @ 20:54:22

      Shannon,

      I always found the work that you do so fascinating. It is always so interesting to learn and hear you talk about it. That is amazing that the career path you chose integrates both the community members and first responders simultaneously and that you are going to be doing what you love. I feel the same way you do about how we have reached the end to our academic career and have to focus on our new careers and start “adulting” in the real world. It is both scary and exciting! Also, in terms of the questions you asked for the licensing exam, those are some questions I forgot to mention but I was thinking the same thing. I feel just as uneducated as you because I did not realize how fast it was going to get here and have not had too much thought about the licensure process. It really did sneak upon us. But I do agree 100% with you that I am glad we have this class to talk about life after graduation. I feel that this class is going to help us in many ways and hopefully, all our questions will get answered! Good luck to you and your future successes after graduation!

      Reply

    • Mikala Korbey
      Jan 24, 2020 @ 12:51:20

      Shannon, after reading your post and hearing you explain your desired career path in class, I have so much respect for you. I did not even know there was such a need for this (shows how much I know about the police and jail system), but am confident that you will be wonderful going into this field. Do you think you would want to try to incorporate being both a ride along clinician as well as being an educator for first responders about how to better handle a crisis/mental health? I can see you being so wonderful at either thing and really admire the passion you have for this part of our large field.

      Reply

    • Becca Green
      Jan 26, 2020 @ 17:22:38

      Hi Shannon! I have always admired your passion in merging the mental health and law enforcement fields within your work. I know you have spoken about the different challenges that come with working in both fields currently. The world absolutely needs more clinicians that work right along side first responders. You got this!!

      Reply

  5. Liisa Biltcliffe
    Jan 20, 2020 @ 17:31:50

    1. My initial thoughts/feelings when I think about graduating are that I am mostly nervous and scared, but also a bit excited. I’ve been a student pretty much straight through from community college all the way through until now and it took me longer than most to finish my degrees because of a) raising a son with behavioral issues and b) family issues. So to go from a student for years in a structured learning environment to the full-time work environment is definitely going to a big change. When I think about my professional/career steps after graduating, I know I want to be a part of a team so like in a clinic or a hospital setting. I have even thought of working in the prison system helping inmates reintegrate back into society. There are many possibilities and I’ve looked online already too. The challenging aspect to my graduating from a MA college is that I am planning a move back to California in 2021 so I will need to get licensed in California and they have different requirements. So finding where I will be settling etc., is important.

    2. About obtaining licensure, my biggest concern is that I tend to “freeze up” under pressure, forget everything I’ve been taught because of nerves. This is something I need to work on, probably with someone, before I take my licensing exam. I need to really be on top of what is required for the California licensing exam. I know that they require 3000 supervised hours after graduation and there are more classes to take including passing a California Law and Ethics exam as part of the licensing exam. I’m really nervous I will miss something that is required in California, and not here.

    Reply

    • Rachel DiLima
      Jan 21, 2020 @ 13:37:06

      Liisa,

      I can definitely understand your anxieties over leaving the structured quality of school and entering the workforce…but my hat is off to you for managing this challenging program while raising a child and working through personal difficulties! That’s not easy, and I believe that if you can successfully maneuver that, you can handle a career that you have worked so hard to arrive to. I also get the anxiety over moving back to California, especially after the point was raised last class that it was a difficult transition to make. I have a feeling we will be covering a lot of out-of-state licensing questions this semester, so have heart!

      Reply

    • marissasweeney
      Jan 22, 2020 @ 13:24:12

      Lisa, similar to you I’ve been a student for several years and entered this grad program right from undergrad, so I feel a bit nervous but excited about graduating and entering the field as a mental health professional! I am concerned that I may freeze up too upon the licensure exam, because I tend to get extremely bad test anxiety. However, I think that this class will be beneficial and helping to alleviate some of that ‘unknown’ regarding licensure, as well as give us the opportunity to support and help each other as a class!

      Reply

    • Nicole Plona
      Jan 25, 2020 @ 06:55:54

      Hi Liisa!
      I’m kind of in a similar boat to you when it comes to stress about the oral exam. I will hopefully be moving to the west coast sometime after graduation and I’ll have to figure out the information needed to get licensed there as opposed to Massachusetts. I think California may be a little more intense than Hawaii but the nerves are definitely still there. I wish you the best of luck and keep working towards that goal, you’ll do great!

      Reply

  6. Nicole Plona
    Jan 21, 2020 @ 12:09:41

    1) When thinking towards the near future, I am mostly excited to be done with school for a while. Regarding my professional career, I would say my anxiety is at a relatively normal level. I know that there are plenty of careers available in this field for when I graduate. I am just more concern with picking the right one that I will actually enjoy as much as my current internship. I also have the added bonus/ stress of not knowing exactly where I will be living once graduation comes. There is the high probability that I will stay local to the area for a little while but then move a few years after, or I may just move right after graduation. The possibilities are endless at the moment. I currently have connections to a few different agencies in the area for if I do decide to stay in Massachusetts a little longer which decreases my stress levels a lot.

    2) Looking at obtaining licensure, my main concern is again where I am going to be living in 2 years. I wouldn’t want to put in all the effort to become licensed in Mass to then move away and need to start all over again in a different state.
    I know that this program trains us to be able to do well in our careers moving forward so passing the exam isn’t the biggest worry of mine right now. However, I am hoping that if I do get licensed here that it will make it easier to get licensed in another state afterwards instead of being a waste of time. I will need to research what the differences in requirements are between the states.

    Reply

    • Rachel DiLima
      Jan 21, 2020 @ 13:24:22

      Nicole,

      I’m so relieved to read that another student isn’t sure where they will end up after graduation! I appreciate your perception that not knowing where you’ll end up is an “added bonus.” This is a viewpoint that I struggle with personally. I find that after moving around a lot in my life, I’d like to find a place to “settle down” and put roots up. It gives me angst, rather than anticipation, to know that I don’t have a definitive place to call home yet. I too have considered (especially after last class!) just sticking around in Mass long enough to obtain my license, and then heading to a different state. I’m curious, do you have other states that you are actively considering, or is it all up for grabs? And I also agree that I am looking forward to all the information available in this class about license requirements for Mass and other states.

      Reply

    • marissasweeney
      Jan 22, 2020 @ 13:17:47

      Nicole, I think it’s so important to look at career options that you will enjoy. There’s so many different options out there and it can be so overwhelming. Obtaining licensure is another thing I’m concerned about, similar to you regarding where you’ll be living. Growing up in RI, I always thought that’s where I’d stay but recently my husband and my family have considered moving to Florida in the next 2 years, so there’s that component of stress surrounding licensure because of the uncertainty as to where I’ll be. I think it will be helpful to learn about licensure requirements in different states and how that all works with getting licensed in various states, etc.

      Reply

    • Dee
      Jan 24, 2020 @ 14:52:29

      Nicole,
      I really hope you are able to practice in Hawaii like you want! I eventually would love to practice in Maine and looking up those requirements has been very confusing. I think for the time being a license transfer might be a better option for a lot of us. Let’s just hope that all the programs Dr. V was telling us about dont change requirements too much and mess up all our plans! In the end we all want to help people, but we also have to be happy.

      Reply

    • Sarah Mombourquette
      Jan 25, 2020 @ 17:24:19

      Hi Nicole, I completely agree with your concern about where I will be in the next two years. Considering we have been in school for so long with essentially 2-3 years blocked out for us at a time, it’s really hard to think about the next two years when the future is so questionable. I am also definitely concerned about what it would look like to move somewhere different. It’s exciting that there are so many opportunities, but I also think it’s scary to be so unsure about the possibilities. I think your point highlighted a concern that I’ve had about the field such as if being an LMHC will limit opportunities to live in specific areas.

      Reply

  7. Rachel DiLima
    Jan 21, 2020 @ 13:12:18

    1. When I think about “life after graduation”, I tend to hit a wall. As a out-of-state transfer without a desire to go back to my home state, yet no real desire to stay in Massachusetts, I’m slightly at a loss when it comes to visualizing the next steps. I chose this career path years ago after I decided to leave the hair-styling world and pursue my education in the quest to “find my passion.” When I found psychology and discovered that being a counselor was part-innate quality, part-learned skill. I felt in my bones something sing to me. After very careful thought and consideration, I decided to make the commitment to this career. In the (what seems to be) very distant future, I want to own a working farm and convert it into a mental-health retreat for individuals and their families who suffer with PTSD. This has always been the dream. Now, I’m not quite sure where that farm will be, or what career steps I need to make to realize this dream… or whether this dream is even viable anymore. I do know that I appreciate working in an environment that I can seek help and supervision when I need it, and I know that I want a work environment that will provide opportunities for continuing education. I had always also considered continuing on to get my doctorate in the hope of teaching at the collegiate level someday. I had initially applied to Clinical PhD programs, but was unsuccessful. However, despite potential school burnout (and feeling a bit old/late to the game), achieving my PhD has always felt like an unrealized goal that haunts the back of my mind. This adds to the “where do I go from here?” conundrum. So. As you can see, I’m a bit scattered.

    2. If I’m honest, I have ZERO clue about the licensing exam. I believe that I am graduating much later than the rest of you in class (I take my Oral Exam next spring), so licensing has taken up space in the *very* back of my mind. That factor, compounded with my uncertainty over where I’m going to end up after graduation, only increases my desire to avoid thinking about the licensing exam (ha!). I was actually hoping that this class would give me the information that I need in order to better understand licensure and the next steps after graduation, which it seems to be doing.

    Reply

    • Liisa Biltcliffe
      Jan 22, 2020 @ 15:46:04

      Rachel, I can relate to what you were saying about wanting to work in an environment where you can get feedback/help/supervision when needed. I really want that for myself as well, which is why I wanted to work with a team such as in a hospital setting or in an outpatient clinic. I also really like your idea of a farm for people suffering with PTSD. At one point I had wanted more than anything to set up like a group home for inmates reentering society that provides resources they might need as well as a place to live and counseling and clean and sober living. I didn’t know if I could pull it off though partially because of me being an older student and it would take quite a while to set something like that up, but also because I wasn’t sure logistically of how to pull something like that off. I suppose though, that where there is a will there is a way, right? I think that with enough planning and thought, that your farm idea could very well manifest itself, and animals are very healing.

      Reply

    • Alyce Almeida
      Jan 22, 2020 @ 21:04:09

      Rachel,
      You and I have similar feelings about a “dream” career plan and I admire that. My dream is to open up my own “wellness center” that provides various mental health services, and therapeutic services. This incorporates a gym/studio that include various classes which include various types of classes. As well as additional services like massage therapy, chiropractic services, and even medical professionals that include nutritionists, nurses, and doctors. The idea is that this wellness center will provide ALL “health” services, for your body and mind, adapting various backgrounds of mental health (holistic, mindfulness, CBT, etc.) to provide every individual with a full team of professionals to help increase their health overall. I just want to say your dream IS do-able, and you can still be able to achieve that and I honestly think it’s a great idea. Not to mention I too am still contemplating pursing a Psy-D, so I understand that feeling of “where do I go from here?” You’re never “too old” to get an education, and if that means you want a “Dr.” in front of your name – go for it!

      Reply

  8. Jayson
    Jan 21, 2020 @ 20:01:28

    1. Based on my experience from my internship at Spectrum Health Systems, it has given me a whole entirely different perspective on what I can do with a master’s degree in counseling. I am definitely excited to learn more about the mental health field and substance use field once I graduate. I originally thought that I was just going to enter the counseling field and work as a counselor with clients who just have simple everyday problems such as couple problems or clients who are stressed with family problems. However, being an intern at Spectrum Health Systems has given me a wide range of exposure to clients of different ages (25-65), different wide range of intense problems (PTSD, anxiety, depression, substance use (illegal and legal), homelessness, jail experiences, homicide, suicide, and abuse), and working with medication assisted treatment (MAT). Based on my experience, I can say that I can see a future career within the substance use field and medication assisted treatment. Working in the substance use field has given me a different perspective of a different population that I can work with. Many people tend to think that mental health and substance use are different fields entirely, however, based on my experience, I am confident to say that mental health and substance use intertwined. Another way to look at this is that some people simply use drugs to deal with their mental health problems because they do not know any other way to cope with their problems. Overall, before I started my internship at Spectrum, I had no idea there was another world (substance use) I can become a counselor in and due to my exposure to this new world, I can imagine myself working in this field in the future.

    2. My initial concern is taking the licensure exam specifically taking the NCMHCE. Originally when I read Dr. V’s chapter 5 and I read about the NCE of how it is just a multiple choice exam filled with 200 questions, I said to myself that this “licensure” exam does not sound too bad and there is nothing to worry about. However, when I began to read the LMHC application form for licensure, I read that Massachusetts will focus on the NCMHCE which sounds a lot harder than the NCE. Overall, I am just concerned that I will be unprepared going into the exam. Based on what others have told me who have already taken the licensure exam, the exam can be difficult, and some do not pass. Hearing this will of course lower down my hopes in passing and explain why there are study guides and workshops for the exam due to knowing how hard it can be.

    Another concern that I had is the different titles of licensure. There are two titles that I can think of which are the LMHC and the LPC. In Massachusetts, counselors obtain the title of LMHC when licensed, however in other states, counselors get licensed as a Licensed Professional Counselor. I have heard there are some different and similarities between them such as they are pretty much the same thing, but if that were true, then why have different title names. Due to being from a different state, Connecticut, and knowing licensed counselors are labeled as LPC, I am just concerned about the differences between licensed counselors in MA and CT.

    Another concern that I have is about the licensed application specifically supervision hours. Based on Chapter 5 of the reading, I learned that not all places will offer on-site supervision. Those places that do offer on-site supervision will cost nothing to the individual. However, it was made clear that some places do not offer supervision and you have to pay for supervision on your own and pay a supervisor once you found a good quality one to do supervision for you. After hearing that, it just scares me that I may not do as a detailed search on a place that does not suit the requirements for licensure such as supervision and I might have to experience a place offering no supervision which will impact my supervision hours for licensure and affect my eligibility of getting licensure.

    Reply

    • Alyce Almeida
      Jan 22, 2020 @ 21:11:41

      Jayson,

      Your answer to your concerns helped verbalize my similar feelings about the different exams, but also different types of licenses we could receive. It really is wild to fully understand all the different states, and their licensure expectations. I’m hopeful we can get some clarification on that. You’re definitely not alone!

      Reply

    • Mikala Korbey
      Jan 24, 2020 @ 13:01:15

      Jayson, I am really happy for you that your internship experience has opened up your eyes to a different field, maybe even one you came into this program not expecting to enjoy. I think that is what the internship experience is all about, it is a great opportunity to explore what aspects of the field you like and dislike. I am sure it must give you some sense of comfort knowing that there is always a need for mental health counseling for substance abuse, and I am sure you will have no problems finding a job in a place you desire to be!

      I too am worried about being in a placement that does not offer supervision based on the license requirements, for me, I know going in that if I work in a school, my chances are a lot smaller and I will most likely have to rely on an outside person to do my supervision. But it surprises me that even within mental health agencies there may not be people qualified to supervise you for the license. On the bright side, knowing this is a possibility will help you be able to better plan and be aware in the event that you take a job in a place without a qualified supervisor.

      Reply

  9. marissasweeney
    Jan 22, 2020 @ 13:05:11

    When I think about graduating and my next professional/career steps, I am filled with mixed emotions- anxiety, excitement, happiness, and nervousness. It’s an exciting thing to think about because this is the real beginning of my career in the field after being in school for the last several years. There are so many different opportunities in the field and I always thought I knew exactly where I would want to work but after some consideration and taking different classes, that has changed. Initially, I always thought I would work with children and families in an outpatient setting. That was always something I had wanted to do, and I didn’t really see myself doing anything else. When I began the internship process, I had a difficult time finding available internships working with this population and instead began an internship working with adults. After working in an adult partial hospital program as a program therapist intern, I realized that although I am comfortable working with that population, it is not the setting or population I see myself pursuing. Ultimately, I plan to pursue a career working with youth and families. After recently taking a class with Dr. Stoner, I gained a new perspective and interest in working with youth and families in the hospital setting, working with chronically ill youth. Although I have these interests and goals, I still find myself wondering if I will be a good therapist, or what it will be like when I am actually in the field, outside of an internship. I also find myself feeling a little bit of pressure because after graduation, I am perceived by clients and families as being the ‘professional’. I know that may sound extreme, but it is something I recognize I will need to work through. My biggest thing is reminding myself that it’s ok not to have all of the answers and be more flexible and less hard on myself as a ‘professional’.

    When I think about the licensure exam, I definitely have some thoughts and concerns. First, being what most people probably think… “Where do I even begin? What if I don’t pass? How can I make sure I’m prepared?” I feel we are fortunate to have professors in our program who are helpful and want to see us succeed and will help us to be prepared. I am nervous, of course, about obtaining licensure because I tend to get very anxious when taking any kind of test. I think this will be a challenge for me but also an opportunity for me to grow as a professional as I study and prepare for the exam. I think it will be a mental thing for me too, so I will need to work on staying positive, believing in myself, and being prepared to the best of my abilities. I’m also nervous about licensure in RI and will be considering just initially obtaining licensure in MA.

    Reply

    • Liisa Biltcliffe
      Jan 22, 2020 @ 15:59:40

      Marissa I understand what you mean when you talk about feeling the pressure of “being the professional.” I doubt myself often and my internship supervisor and I talk about working on my self-confidence and even though it has improved it still needs work. I agree with you that it’s okay to not always have the answers, that we can tell a client that we may need to check on something/get back to them on an issue if we do not know the answer right away. It’s better to be honest than to lie. I like what you said about licensure too, about the opportunity to grow as an individual. I tend to underestimate myself and I need to look at my track record of overcoming obstacles and managing stressors, etc. to have faith that I will manage the licensing exam. It seems that it is daunting for most of us and that it’s normal to be apprehensive about it. Your attitude is a good one, though, and I like that.

      Reply

  10. Alyce Almeida
    Jan 22, 2020 @ 20:55:05

    1) When I think about my next steps post graduation, at first I think relief and finally a break and then realized that clearly isn’t reality. Don’t get me wrong I’m super excited to graduate, but I’m also anxious, nervous, worried, and just all around “freaking out.” I’ve been back and forth recently about my post graduation decisions around where I want to apply to. I know where I don’t want to focus on which is substance use and elderly so thats easy, but narrowing down what I want is the tough part. I received a job offer at my internship but decided I wasn’t going to move forward with that because I’m not sure the hospital setting is where I really want to be. Not to mention I want to get back to working with kids, teens, and families again and I’ve been with “young adults” ages 18-26 (which I honestly haven’t completely dreaded). But another part of me is open to being in a hospital setting if it was a children’s or adolescent unit (like Bradley for example), or even a young adult program. However, I do have a background in residential and would love to be back with the “behavioral” clients who struggle with quite a variety of disorders. I just want a bit of everything, so an outpatient setting seems like more of an option where I can actually get a bit of everything I want. I feel confident that I can really thrive in a setting like that, but another part of me is scared that I won’t have those opportunities and struggle to find employment as bad as I struggled with internship (Butler was the ONLY place that got back to me so I didn’t really have a choice). However I’m SO excited to finally be out there, and hopefully find a good team that I can feel comfortable with, and a place I can really learn and prosper from.

    2) Concerns? This could be a long list for sure. But one of my concerns is getting all the hours for the state I want and which state I want to be licensed in. I was originally planning to get licensed in both RI and MA (just to be safe), but now I’m back at square one with the question of “where DO I want to go?”

    The BIGGEST concern is honestly the license exam. I’m already quite intimidated by the oral exam (and I love to talk), but this whole exam that determines my ability to practice individually makes me nervous. “What if I don’t pass? How embarrassing is that to have done all this schooling to not pass? Did I just waste my time? Did I choose the wrong career?” I also feel like I know nothing about it and that I probably should so that added pressure just doesn’t help. After reading the chapter, these tests clearly aren’t going to be easy (as anticipated) but it just feels like more stress all over again.

    With the application I’m just nervous about finding a job that provides supervised hours which I didn’t realize until reading the chapter that in some places they don’t necessarily have that. I clearly still have so much to learn which will hopefully easy all this anxiety.

    Reply

    • Shannon O'Brien
      Jan 24, 2020 @ 05:32:25

      Alyce – one quick and initial word you said was “break.” I think this so often as well. I agree “break” may not be a truly realistic word, but the idea of maybe having more time for hobbies and being able to solely focus on a career instead of juggling full-time work, school, and internship seems like a dream! I am sure we are all really looking forward to getting back into things we feel we have not had time to do over the past few months/years. Your concerns about the exam are all ones I have as well. I even in my last semester, I STILL find myself thinking, “Is this the right career for me?” As ready for the career world as we are with the help of this program and our internship, I think we all know we still have so much more to learn. Personally, I mam just starting to feel comfortable at my internship, and now here I am possibly starting over at a whole new job?!? I mean, cue the anxiety and lack of self-confidence I’ve been working to get over since the summer! Fortunately, we may be able to take comfort knowing that many of us feel the same way, and hopefully we can use this time to support, encourage, and teach one another 🙂

      Reply

  11. Sarah Mombourquette
    Jan 23, 2020 @ 17:57:42

    1. My initial thoughts about my next professional career steps are largely focused on finding employment. I am confident in my ability to find a job, but I am mostly concerned about the timeline of studying for the licensing exam, applying for jobs, and potentially moving. Apart from the logistical features of physically finding a job, I am excited about the transition into a somewhat traditional schedule. As most graduate students know, balancing a job, classwork, and internship requirements results in a strenuous schedule. The transition is also exciting because it will allow me to fully pursue the areas of the field that I am hoping to work in. I have been lucky enough to have had a great internship experience working with the population I had initially planned to work with. I am hopeful about being able to further pursue this concentration as I look for full time jobs. I am optimistic about being able to work with this population, but I am also hoping that moving beyond internship status will allow me for further opportunities to educate myself and advocate for this population. While I do enjoy working with the population I am currently working with, I would also be open to further exploring other areas in the future.
    2. One big concern that I have about licensure has to do with expenses. I know that the exam itself costs a lot of money, so if I were to fail it and must pay again that would significantly impact me financially. I have also heard from graduates from our program that they needed to purchase the study materials in order to do well. Therefore, I am also concerned about needing to spend the money to purchase the study materials. My biggest area of concern regarding passing has to do with not knowing how to prepare. From what I understand, the exam covers a vast expanse of content related to the field. My fear is that I will not have studied the correct things or find something on the exam that I have never been exposed to before. I am also concerned about what the experience will be like to apply for jobs during the two-year time frame when we are still under supervision hours. While I recognize that clinicians are always needed, I also recognize that the mental health framework is changing and I am not familiar with how large of a role licensure titles will play in job qualifications.

    Reply

    • Becca Green
      Jan 26, 2020 @ 17:57:55

      Hi Sarah! The expenses of all of this is one of the things that I am very worried about as well. I can understand that things cost money, but it seems like yet another expensive thing on top of all the money we have already spent to get this far. Also, I often see job postings that require licensure. Even at my internship site they have said that they need more independently licensed clinicians before they can consider hiring the graduate level interns at the site. Very frustrating.

      Reply

  12. Becca Green
    Jan 23, 2020 @ 18:03:21

    1) I have been thinking about what my next steps are following graduation for months already. Everyone I work with asks me about it, my family asks me about it, it seems like that is the only thing anyone wants to talk about when they hear you’re in grad school. Personally I’m all over the place. I have a background in crisis so part of me wants to be a crisis clinician. I love doing the more traditional outpatient therapy that I get to do at internship so part of me wants to try to stay with my internship placement and try to get into private practice. I have a background in group living environments and community based mental health so part of my wants to take more the GLE/community route. Confused but excited is the best way to describe how I am feeling about my next steps.

    2) I’m extremely nervous about obtaining my LMHC. I have never been a good test taker so I’m going to be nervous no matter what. Beyond that I’m nervous because I know I want to be in this field and be a licensed clinician. If I fail I would be worried that it would be too much of a blow to my confidence to try again. I also worry that within the 2-year waiting period to apply to take the exam I will lose some of the specific detailed knowledge that we are learning in grad school. Obviously I will be practicing so most of it will stay with me but who knows if I’ll keep up with all of the knowledge. Prepping for and taking the exam is also very expensive. The cost of all of this continues to be one of the things that agitates me the most about being in the field.

    Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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