Topic 1: Your Career after Graduation & Licensure {by 1/21}

Based on last week’s readings/discussions (1/14) and the topics for this week’s class (1/21) 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, have ready to view the “Regulating Mental Health Service Delivery” documents under “Class Handouts.”

 

Your original post should be posted by the beginning of class 1/21.  Post your two replies no later than 1/23.  *Please remember to click the “reply” button when posting a reply.  This makes it easier for the reader to follow the blog postings.

48 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Zacharie Duvarney
    Jan 17, 2021 @ 11:15:03

    What are your initial thoughts and feelings when you think about your next professional/career steps after graduating?

    Regarding what steps I will take to advance my career post-graduation, my primary concern is working toward licensure. As I have stated in the previous blog discussion post, I have been offered a salary position upon completion of the program, meaning I will not have to worry about applying for jobs (thankfully). Furthermore, the organization for which I have a job opportunity assists new clinicians in working toward licensure, making this the primary objective for me moving forward. This is important to me not only for the increased salary opportunities, but also because it is necessary in starting a private practice. Running a private practice or securing a high-level admin position are my long-term employment goals, thus placing licensure at the forefront of my post-graduation professional development.
    Another step I will be taking is working toward student-loan forgiveness. As part of my multi-faceted financial security plan, I will be completing the steps necessary to complete the student loan forgiveness program offered by the federal government. In short, this can be accomplished by making 120 qualifying monthly payments (10 years) toward my student loan total, as long as I am working at a non-profit organization. Considering that the job opportunity I have been given is with a non-profit, this will be chief among my concerns alongside licensure. I encourage everyone to explore this option, as it will help offset the financial burden that is created for post-graduates just entering the workforce.

    Are there any concerns you have in securing licensure?

    I have 2 primary concerns in obtaining licensure: studying for the licensure exam and maintaining the required among of continuing education credits (CCEs) to keep my license once acquired. When it comes to studying for the exam, my concerns are simple. I am concerned about how much time I will need to allocate to this effort, especially given how busy I will be with other aspects of my life. I also worry a little bit about the ramifications of failing the exam. While I don’t think I am prone to failing, this is not impossible, and I do not want any failures to reflect on me poorly (especially with my employer).
    The other concern I have is CCEs. Simply put, I worry about what steps I will need to take in order to meet this requirement. To my understanding, there are a considerable amount of professional seminars that are conducted that cunt as CCEs. While some of these are free, many are not, presenting the obvious concern about financial investment in CCEs. Obviously, I will invest the necessary resources to secure CCEs, however, I want to avoid spending money as much as possible. I also worry about the time investment required as well. I assume that my employer will offer minimal or no time to secure CCEs, meaning this will likely need to be done in my free time. My supervisors at internship have been licensed for several years, and so I will seek their advice in this regard.

    Reply

    • Jess Costello
      Jan 17, 2021 @ 16:59:20

      Hi Zach! Congrats on the job offer from your internship! Licensure is also my primary objective and I would also like to work in private practice once I gain much more experience. Like you pointed out, though it’s a while down the road, I am also unclear on how continuing education credits work and how much will be required.

      Reply

  2. Melissa Pope
    Jan 17, 2021 @ 16:29:22

    1. Honestly, I am trying not to think of the next steps I need to take in my professional career because of the anxiety. I told myself, pass the oral then worry about it. With that being said, once I graduate (fingers crossed…pray for me people), I will need to beginning applying for jobs in a public school system, along with study for the MTEL, which will need to be taken I believe this upcoming June, as requirement to work in the schools as a counselor. This allows for a “pre-license”, while I accrue more hours. I will also start my CAGS, this summer at Assumption to gain further knowledge, and work toward my specialization of pediatric trauma and palliative care. The plan continues from there for about 10 years out. I do find comfort though in knowing that I have a plan, and when “life happens” I can just tweak the plan, as I have in the past and keep plugging along.
    2. My major concerns with the exam to become licensed is passing, of course. My specific reasoning for this, is not that I lack the intelligence, but rather, if I am working in a school system, how much of the clinical knowledge that I have learned will fall by the wayside and need to be “dusted” off. Thus far in my internship; granted that its Covid, but I have not had a whole lot of time or ability to be able to do what I have been trained to do. Most of the counseling sessions are “check-ins” and more often than not, shy about sharing details about their life, or worries, because parents or siblings are listening. I fear that this will continue, but am trying to stay optimistic that once in school this upcoming week and then upon securing a job that it will change. However, schools can not diagnose, and do not creating case conceptualizations/treatment plans the ways I have been trained and would like to be able to do it. My way around this is to continue creating conceptualizations and treatment plans for my own use, for each child I see- to not get rusty.

    Reply

    • Jess Costello
      Jan 17, 2021 @ 17:05:13

      Hi Melissa! I am glad that you can find comfort in the planning, even if the steps are stressful. I’ve also told myself to not worry about the future until I pass the oral exam! I can relate a little to not being able to use my full conceptualization and treatment skills in my internship. Even though I’m at a therapeutic school, the staff sometimes approaches problems or diagnoses differently than how I learned in our program and I feel I have to change the way I’m looking at the case or issue. I have been trying to create my own treatment plans for my own use, even if the actual treatment ends up looking a little different. I think this is a great strategy to maintain your skills and wish you luck along your path!

      Reply

    • Monique Guillory
      Jan 21, 2021 @ 09:19:46

      Hi Melissa,
      I too, plan on working in schools to start off my career as a clinician with private practice as the end game. I definitely can relate to the mixed bag of anxiety and excitement that comes with the expectation of passing all of the required exams. I have not taken any of the MTEL’s yet but realize that will be just another thing to study and prepare for, but I do believe we have had great training and preparation here at Assumption to do much better than we might initially think we are capable of attaining. Like you say the intelligence is there without a doubt, as well as the determination to continue providing quality services to all whom we serve. It sounds like you do have a plan mapped out and as always you are on target to roll with the waves of change as they are presented. Keep doing what you do with all the vivacity and tenacity you bring to the table!

      Reply

  3. Jess Costello
    Jan 17, 2021 @ 16:54:17

    1. When I think of my initial professional steps after graduating, I am most focused on finding an appropriate supervised position that will allow me to accrue post-graduate hours for licensure. I think my coursework at Assumption and my experiences at my internship have prepared me well for this next step, and I think there will be plenty of job opportunities, but I am still a little daunted by the idea, as there are still many requirements to consider. Particularly, I will need supervision from a LMHC as my internship supervisor is a LICSW, and I am also wondering if most supervisees must pay for their supervision hours or what other arrangements may be possible.

    2. Since the NCMHCE seems to be more a test of applied knowledge rather than facts, it would seem best to take it towards the end of my post-grad supervision which would mean I would take the exam at least two years after my graduation this fall. Though it is a while away, I am a little concerned about how I will be able to spread my preparation over this timeframe and decide which test prep materials to invest in.

    Reply

    • Zacharie Duvarney
      Jan 18, 2021 @ 12:02:53

      Jess,

      I have the same concerns as you regarding time allocation. With the licensure exam being so far out from our graduation date, how are we supposed to effectively prepare? When one considers how busy life already is, this task seems particularly confusing and arduous.

      Reply

    • Katrina Piangerelli
      Jan 18, 2021 @ 14:29:19

      Hi Jessica,

      I am also focused on finding an appropriate position to gain post-graduate experience for licensure. I am also being supervised by a LICSW rather than an LMHC. I also agree that there should be plenty of jobs available at various different agencies that will help us prepare for licensure. I think one of the main things I am concerned about is finding a supervisor that is supportive and helpful because the years following graduation and leading up to licensure are very important in gaining experience with a full caseload.

      Reply

  4. Anthony Mastrocola
    Jan 18, 2021 @ 07:51:54

    1.What are your initial thoughts and feelings when you think about your next professional/career steps after graduating?

    Thinking about new stages in life can certainly be anxiety-provoking. However, I am finding that I am having a good sense of anxiety in which I’m feeling really excited about beginning my career. I have been finding myself regularly going on indeed and even just google searching positions in MA. I think I’ve written more cover letters (and an attempt at a CV *emphasis on attempt*) in the couple months than I have in my life…which makes sense now that I think about it. I am slightly enjoying the process of challenging myself in a new way. Instead of pushing myself academically to see how well I can do in class, or professionally in an internship setting, I’m finding a new challenge in marketing myself to professionals from various organizations. I have been in contact with some potential employers, but I find myself constantly questioning which therapeutic setting, location, and responsibilities I most desire post-grad. Most of all, I think I’m ready for new challenges in life. After what will be 6 years of undergraduate and graduate school, I’m looking forward to the daily challenges working with a full caseload, and meanwhile balancing other responsibilities in life.

    2.Simply share any thoughts or concerns you may have about obtaining licensure (e.g. licensure exam, application) as a mental health professional.

    I find myself not thinking about the licensing exam much, because I know it will stress me out. With the exam not in my near future, I find that it is best to not concern myself with it until it’s time to study. My main objective at the moment is completing this program with the oral exam, as well as finish this semester strong. The application itself does not worry me, because I am certain that this program as well as my internship have provided all of the necessary opportunities to be prepared. I find that by reassuring myself that I just need to continue what I have been doing, then I will eventually be rewarded with the license. I am also grateful that this class prepares us for all of the challenges/expectations with obtaining licensure. All in all, I am not overly concerned about the licensure application or exam because I do not give it much thought at the moment. There is not much I can do to prepare at the moment, so it is best for me to focus on the challenges that are more immediate.

    Reply

    • Adam Rene
      Jan 18, 2021 @ 12:36:53

      Anthony,

      As I mention in my blog post, being a male provider in this area and in this field helps a LOT. In my program where I work currently, I am literally the only male provider and I have been for the majority of time I’ve worked there. I am constantly seeing across several agencies in north county, and among the clients I work with, that there’s a desire for more male providers. I hope that brings you peace of mind in some ways – I think your Assumption credentials, internship experience, and your Y chromosome will aid you in finding a job after graduation.

      Reply

    • Zacharie Duvarney
      Jan 18, 2021 @ 13:01:02

      Anthony,

      I am glad to hear that you are feeling eager about starting your career rather than anxious. I am feeling the same way. You and I also seem to have the same attitude regarding school – after 6 years, i’m excited to just move on, regardless of the challenges. I never thought I would be excited to start a 9-5 gig, but I supposed graduate school, working 2 jobs, and living on your own will do that to you.

      Reply

    • Katrina Piangerelli
      Jan 18, 2021 @ 14:25:32

      Hi Anthony,

      It sounds like you have been preparing to apply for jobs which is great! As Adam said, being a male will definitely give you an advantage in applying for jobs, but I think your education and experience will also help with this as well. I have been thinking similarly to you – thinking about the new challenges I will face as a clinician rather than a student in internship. I am also excited to take on a full caseload and have that job be a main priority rather than stretching myself between a job, internship, and school.

      Reply

    • Melissa Pope
      Jan 21, 2021 @ 17:54:20

      Anthony,

      I think that the phrase “marketing yourself” was used so well. That is exactly what it is, and knowing that you are well prepared and have a lot to offer can ease the stress/anxiety a bit. I find that in the past every interview I have ever had, I go into it telling myself “I have a lot to offer, they will either see it or they won’t”. If they do, then great and If they don’t that is great too, because I now have one more practice interview under my belt to perfect my skills and understanding of what different employers are looking for in a potential candidate. As for what therapeutic setting you want, there are so many. Narrowing it down is really hard, but at least you can start with what you do not want to do and then always try a particular setting out, and if it is not the best fit you can always move on.

      I too am not trying to think of the license exam. It does just add unwanted stress that is too far away to even bother with. Focusing on the here and now is a very good and healthy outlook. Keep up the good work

      Reply

  5. Adam Rene
    Jan 18, 2021 @ 12:30:22

    1. I am fortunate in that walking into this next new season I am filled with relief and excitement rather than dread or anxiety – I am VERY thankful for that. As I said in my previous blog post, I have been working for Community Healthlink for 5 years as a Therapeutic Mentor/Therapeutic Training & Support worker. In this position I have learned the ins and outs of my program and agency as well as worked alongside masters-level clinicians in In-Home Therapy throughout those 5 years. In many ways, I am very ready to take on the positive I have passively observed for 5 years and be promoted in my program. What helps as well (you’ll find this to be true Anthony & Zacharie) is that I am a male therapist and I have been the only consistent male provider in my program throughout those 5 years, I have found that male providers can be a bit like a ‘unicorn’ and are highly sought after. I have built a reputation in my agency and surrounding agencies for my quality work as a mentor. Now, with my internship being in the same agency, I was able to quickly build a caseload and didn’t need to waste time learning how to use our online paperwork system or anything else like that, and this will also work to my benefit starting as an In-Home Therapist after graduation.
    That all being said, I don’t plan on IHT being my ‘forever position.’ IHT work requires meeting with clients several times a week, often times working as a coordinator of care for other services, and working with the family as a whole rather than with just 1 client. I have seen many a clinician do this job for a while, burn out, and then move on. My ultimate goal is to open a private practice with Kara someday, after we’ve both been licensed and have some more experience.

    2. Ahh yes, that pesky license. This is where my anxiety kicks in, both a combo of good and bad anxiety. The motivating anxiety aspect makes me want to study hard, take the exam as soon as possible after graduation while my good student habits are still fresh, and have peace of mind to be license eligible after I complete those supervised hours. The bad anxiety part of me tells me that it’ll be too overwhelming and I’ll fail and I’ll let myself down. But, my education at Assumption was truly better than I ever could’ve hoped for and at every step of the way, this faculty has equipped us to face what’s coming around the corner to the point where my bad anxiety has no proof to work with.
    I have seen colleagues labor over this exam, I had a colleague who failed it every time she took it and eventually gave up and accepted she just wouldn’t be licensed and stay at this agency. I have a colleague who passed it on her second try and has offered the study tools she used to me if I want them. With anything this big picture, I’ve seen a multitude of approaches on how to tackle this exam and I’ll do it the best way I know how – lightly procrastinate but then pull it off.

    Reply

    • Anthony Mastrocola
      Jan 19, 2021 @ 09:19:21

      Hi Adam,

      It’s great to see that your familiarity with Community Healthlink has allowed you to hit the ground running with your internship! It seems that technology can sometimes be the hardest part of the job, so it’s great that have that part solved. You made a great point about being a male in this field…definitely something to consider during application processes.

      Reply

    • Paul Avolese
      Jan 21, 2021 @ 09:22:25

      Hi Adam,

      I can really relate to what you mentioned about being a male presenting therapist. When I was younger, I worked in special education and was sought after regularly by colleagues when they needed help with certain children. In my internship, I have gotten a lot of referrals for boys seeking a male therapist. Although I prefer working with teens and adults, I enjoy the opportunity to show boys that emotional intelligence and vulnerability are qualities to be celebrated and nurtured. I appreciate your approach to the licensure exam as well; we will all get to where we are going in our own way and in our own time.

      Reply

  6. Katrina Piangerelli
    Jan 18, 2021 @ 14:21:22

    1. My initial thoughts and feelings when I think about my next professional/career steps after graduation is a mix of excitement and anxiety. I would say that I am more excited than anxious because I have experience in the field and I am excited to gain more experience and work towards licensure. I am most anxious about finding a position in general just because of the process of applying for jobs and interviewing for jobs can be stressful and even more stressful with my current busy schedule. Something that puts my mind at ease is knowing that even in the middle of a pandemic clinician jobs are still needed and even needed more due to the public health crisis. Another concern of mine is finding a position where I have a supportive supervisor. At both my current job and current internship I have great supervisors who are always there if I need support or to talk through something. I have had supervisors in the past that haven’t been as great and this is definitely a concern of mine moving forward. If I had a supervisor who was less supportive it would make it more challenging to work towards licensure.
    2. I think my biggest concern about obtaining licensure is the actual licensure exam. I tend to be someone who is anxious when taking tests and this could make the exam more challenging. I think if I study hard and work towards this exam I will ultimately be fine, but of course I will be nervous until I pass the exam. I also think this class will help prepare me for the exam and I will have a better idea of what the process and expectations are for licensure.

    Reply

    • Kelsey Finnegan
      Jan 18, 2021 @ 17:14:04

      Katrina,

      Finding a supportive supervisor is one of my biggest concerns with my job search as well. It seems so much of what we learn and how we progress in this field is dependent upon having a supportive supervisor. I agree we have been fortunate with our supervisor at our internship placement. I hope that luck stays with us through our job search.

      Reply

    • Olivia L Corfey
      Jan 21, 2021 @ 10:32:35

      Katrina,

      Excited and anxious are two perfect words that describe this next step! I’m glad you brought up the important point that clinicians are still in high demand despite the pandemic. This is most definitely an anxiety relieving factor to remember when entering the field. I can most definitely relate to your concern of obtaining a supportive and knowledgable supervisor, I have also lucked out in this department! As Kelsey said, I hope that luck stays with us through our job search!

      Reply

  7. Paola Gutierrez
    Jan 18, 2021 @ 16:26:56

    1. I am feeling anxious about the next professional stage in my life. I’m currently juggling several activities and have found that applying for post-graduation jobs has fallen to the wayside. I plan to rectify that once oral exam is completed. I am excited though about the new challenges and opportunities of a full caseload and dedicating my time and effort to this full-time position rather than trying to master the balancing act of school, internship, and work. Currently, my post-graduation plan is to work at a community mental health agency in or around Worcester for the first few years I obtain licensure and gain clinical experience. My goal is to secure a clinician position that fulfills the requirements for licensure. I’m also looking for a supportive, collaborative work environment and a supervisor who will support my progress while providing useful and helpful feedback.

    2. I’ve put off thinking about licensure (for now). In all fairness, I’m trying to take it one step at a time. I’m a little anxious about the licensure exam, mainly the logistics (studying, scheduling, etc.) but also what I’m expected to know and apply on the exam. The NCMHCE is the required licensure exam in MA – it seems more comprehensive and somewhat more challenging than the NCE. I’m also thinking about licensure requirements in other states should I decide to move in the future. I worry about CACREP requirements of other states (such as NH) and how that might affect licensure transfers.

    Reply

    • Kelsey Finnegan
      Jan 18, 2021 @ 17:19:12

      Hi Paola,

      I too have been putting off thinking about licensure for now. I’m also thinking about licensure requirements in other states, which makes the process even more confusing/anxiety provoking. I’m slightly worried about CACREP requirements too as it seems many states require CACREP equivalent programs.

      Reply

    • Bianca Thomas
      Jan 19, 2021 @ 14:27:05

      Hi Paola! I definitely understand the struggle of trying to juggle multiple different activities along with the application process and studying for the oral exam. I definitely agree that I am excited for the new challenges and opportunities of a full caseload and actually being able to focus on that, rather than all of the other necessities of being a graduate student and intern.

      Reply

  8. Kelsey Finnegan
    Jan 18, 2021 @ 18:02:30

    1. I am feeling excited about starting my professional career as a counselor, but I’m also trying to manage some feelings of anxiety around this. I feel hopeful there will be many opportunities in this field, but I’m also concerned about finding a job with a supportive supervisor and a reasonable caseload. I currently see about 8-10 clients per week at my internship, and the idea of working at an agency and jumping right into seeing 25-30 clients a week is anxiety provoking to me at this point. I’m not sure how common that size caseload is for recent graduates, but I fear that I would quickly burn out seeing 30 clients per week considering how much time goes into session planning, progress notes, etc. However, I’m hoping as I grow more confident in my skills, I will feel comfortable taking on a larger caseload.

    2. I have a few concerns about obtaining licensure because I plan to move closer to family (either in Missouri or Colorado) after I graduate. I briefly looked over licensure requirements in those states, and I believe both require graduation from a CACREP equivalent program in order to obtain licensure. I think I will still meet all if not most of the course requirements, but I’m not sure. I’m also curious about how much supervision hours typically cost, and how often those costs are partially or fully covered by employers.

    Reply

    • Anthony Mastrocola
      Jan 19, 2021 @ 09:21:58

      Hi Kelsey,

      I relate to your post. I am also finding myself excited and nervous about beginning my professional career. I also agree that finding a job in this field right now does not seem like an overly difficult task, but finding a supportive supervisor may be the real challenge.

      Reply

    • Paola Gutierrez
      Jan 20, 2021 @ 16:37:28

      Hi Kelsey! I’m glad that I’m not the only one with these concerns. I also hope that building a full caseload will be a relatively gradual process rather than all at once. I’ve spoken to Dr. Doerfler about possibly moving back to Texas and he recommended fulfilling my hours for licensure in Massachusetts first. One reason for that is that he mentioned that supervision hours can be expensive. I’m guessing that MA is better about employers covering those costs than other states, but not totally sure.

      Reply

    • Olivia L Corfey
      Jan 21, 2021 @ 10:46:46

      Hi Kelsey!

      I can most definitely relate to your post, particularly about the burnout aspect. It is pretty daunting to think about taking on a caseload of 25-30 clients or more. That definitely requires a lot of effective time management skills and allocated time for self-care. I’m hoping that with continued experience, this will seem a little more manageable. I am curious to talk to others about their experiences with a large caseload and ask how they are able to help so many people (effectively).

      Reply

  9. Olivia L Corfey
    Jan 19, 2021 @ 09:49:06

    What are your initial thoughts and feelings when you think about your next professional/career steps after graduating?

    Thinking about entering the professional work force is most definitely overwhelming. Simply moving on from the education world is intimidating, as school is all I’ve known for approximately 20 years. Therefore, looking for a job with adequate support, room for growth, supervision, along with sufficient financial pay is frightening. Understanding and remembering our worth while entering the work force is going to be important in order to avoid accepting inadequate pay for the sake of obtaining job security. As for next steps, I believe my internship is going to offer me a position somewhere in the hospital (either in inpatient, outpatient or AIC – their new methadone clinic). Therefore, I have some sense of reprieve from anxiety over this matter. However, I am uncertain if this is the work environment I should pursue or if I should pursue alternative jobs in order to gain experiences in different work environments.

    2. Simply share any thoughts or concerns you may have about obtaining licensure (e.g., licensure exam, application) as a mental health professional.

    Well….passing the licensure exam is of course a big concern. Before getting to the point of actually sitting for the exam, maintaining all of the knowledge I have learned from this program is concerning, especially after years of working in the clinical world. Last winter break, for some reason I was fixated on passing the licensure exam. I (impulsively) purchased the test preparation study guide. Although, I have barely opened the book since it was delivered (predictable). When I have skimmed through the study guide and practice tests, this helped to relieve some anxiety, as much of the information appeared to be about subjects we have all already learned about.

    Reply

    • Bianca Thomas
      Jan 19, 2021 @ 14:23:55

      Olivia, I am right there with you in those feelings of worth going into the next steps, as well as the intimidation. We’ve been in school for so long, it’s crazy to think that it’s just going to be over soon. That’s very exciting, however, that you might already have secured a job through your internship site!

      It’s relieving knowing that you purchased the study guide for the exam, and your anxiety was decreased after skimming through it. I am definitely very nervous to take the exam too!

      Reply

    • Mariah Fraser
      Jan 20, 2021 @ 20:43:39

      Hi Olivia! I think you make a good point about balancing the eagerness to just land a job while also avoiding accepting inadequate pay for our competent skill set may be a challenge entering the work force. Definitely having a possible job lined up post-graduation is a huge weight lifted, I’m sure. Although it may have been a bit premature to buy study materials for the exam last year, I think those will certainly come in handy and help challenge any tendencies of procrastination (although I’m sure you don’t have any tendencies to procrastinate).

      Reply

    • Paul Avolese
      Jan 21, 2021 @ 09:14:51

      Hi Olivia,

      It sounds like you’ve given a lot of thought to what you are looking for in a position once you have graduated. It’s great you have those studying materials available, even if they are not being reviewed at the moment. I can understand your unsureness in relation to specific work environments too. There are so many opportunities and it has taken me some time to figure out somewhat of a direction. I think setting aside time for personal reflection every week has been an important practice for me.

      Reply

    • Melissa Pope
      Jan 21, 2021 @ 17:59:51

      Olivia

      Going out to the work world after so many decades of just school, is really frightening for I think everyone. The good thing is that you may have job security, which is vital. If you get a job, that does not mean you can not still look, while working. Then if you get a better offer in the future, switch. If you are already aware that you are worth it, and have a lot to offer a company, I am sure it will show and you will gain more confidence the older you get.

      I like how you have already gotten the book- well prepared is always better than under prepared. You are going to do great- and have an amazing career.

      Reply

  10. Bianca Thomas
    Jan 19, 2021 @ 14:20:44

    (1) What are your initial thoughts and feelings when you think about your next professional/career steps after graduating?

    My initial thoughts are excitement and eagerness to actually be in the field, but also extreme fear and worry that I’m not ready and I’m not going to be good. I know this is very common, having been reassured by my peers, supervisor and professors that they all experienced this, however the thoughts are definitely not diminishing even having the reassurance.

    (2) Simply share any thoughts or concerns you may have about obtaining licensure (e.g., licensure exam, application) as a mental health professional.
    The process seems very daunting. There are a lot of steps involved and it seems very easy to make a mistake in the process. I also have spoken to people who have taken the test who say it is very challenging and meant to trick you, which also makes me feel very anxious and nervous about taking it.

    Reply

    • Adam Rene
      Jan 20, 2021 @ 14:29:33

      Bianca,

      I HEAR you with not feeling good enough despite the reassurance. For me, there are lots of aspects in my life where I feel really supremely confident and in others I am critically anxious and fearful. I am glad you have a supervisor and colleagues who are coming alongside you to provide you with support – stepping out into this brand new world with the amount of power and influence we have with our clients is intimidating and humbling. Just know that you’re not alone and even though it may be ‘common’ it doesn’t diminish how real and scary those thoughts can be.

      Reply

    • Paola Gutierrez
      Jan 20, 2021 @ 16:32:25

      Hey Bianca! I’m in the same boat with you and Adam. I could be told countless times that I am doing a good job with my clients and still have those thoughts. You’re definitely not alone in that experience. Although sometimes it’s hard to do, I’ve found that writing down or making a mental reminder of even the smallest successes in therapy has helped increase my confidence.

      Reply

    • Mariah Fraser
      Jan 20, 2021 @ 20:43:17

      Hi Bianca! I can relate to your fears around not being ready or not being good. For me, my expectations tend to be a bit dangerous in the sense that they are a bit unrealistic in one way or another. That being said, sometimes it’s hard to shake since we’re still learning and evolving as clinicians in training. I also can relate to the anxiety about making silly mistakes during the application process, since there are so many little things that can go wrong/delay the process!

      Reply

  11. Paul Avolese
    Jan 20, 2021 @ 19:47:00

    Similar to what others have posted, I am currently focused on passing the oral exam. Beyond that, I have begun considering options for potential career paths involving different evidence-based therapeutic interventions. Over the past year, I have begun incorporating other styles of therapy into my studies, particularly Internal Family Systems Therapy. I would like to pursue these studies further and continue to grow as a counselor. I believe I still have a lot to learn and feel fulfilled when I can integrate different styles of therapy to help clients. I am unsure if I will pursue a more formal education program or just complete a lot of certifications and am also considering returning to research studies. I think it will be important for me to keep learning so I can best serve others too.

    After reading this week’s readings about exams and applications, I am feeling more comfortable about the whole process. I have taken formal tests before and the material seems straight forward. The one question I am still considering is whether to take the exam right after school, or to wait and have more professional experience.

    Reply

  12. Mariah Fraser
    Jan 20, 2021 @ 20:42:54

    What are your initial thoughts and feelings when you think about your next professional/career steps after graduating?

    I’m definitely anxious about what that’ll look like, especially transitioning out of the ‘student’ role after so many years. It’ll be a bit of an adjustment period for me to come to terms with the fact that I’ll no longer be in school. Having been so busy with various responsibilities may feel a little strange at first, almost like muscle memory of feeling like I’ll need to find things to do. With that said I think it’ll be exciting to embark on these next steps in my professional career; I certainly think this program has prepared me well for what’s to come.

    Simply share any thoughts or concerns you have about obtaining licensure as a mental health professional

    As everyone else has said, there’s a lot of anxiety related to my own expectations and fears about not passing. I’m not the best test-taker, so I think to ease my mind, I’ll certainly invest in study materials to better prepare. I’ve also heard from other students that this course is especially helpful in preparing us for the exam, so that definitely provides a little comfort as well.

    Reply

    • Taylor O'Rourke
      Jan 21, 2021 @ 08:49:34

      Hi Mariah,

      I like how you noted what a huge transition it will be going from being a student to being a “professional” for the first time in our lives for many of us. Though I am extremely excited for this new chapter, it is also a bit scary! Not having taken a break between undergrad and grad school definitely helped me transition easily, however I have never been without school in my life so that will certainly make for an interesting adjustment. However, it is exciting to think about how much more free time we will have without having multiple commitments going on simultaneously, so this seems like the perfect time to catch up on self-care.

      Reply

  13. Ashley Foster
    Jan 20, 2021 @ 22:24:05

    1. When it comes to my initial feelings on my next steps I feel a bit torn. I feel so ready to be done with school and move forward with my goals and dreams of obtaining my LMHC. On the other hand I have this voice in my head that says “your not gonna make it”. I am so excited for moving forward but so anxious of making it a reality. For myself, my daughter is my daily reminder to keep going and get this done. In any decision I make professionally, I always consider how will this effect her and is this going to work with her needs as well. One example of this is the idea and possible reality of moving from Rhode Island to Massachusetts. This decision will help in the success of my profession goals but it’s one I need to make sure I do right for her future success as well.
    2. For my thoughts and concerns on obtaining licensure, I am so nervous I won’t pass my oral exam and my licensure exam. I’ve never been a good test taker partially due to my anxiety. This is one area I have been working on and improving since I entered the program but I do have negative automatic thoughts based around these possible failures.

    Reply

    • Taylor O'Rourke
      Jan 21, 2021 @ 08:46:48

      Hi Ashley!

      I can completely relate to your anxiety surrounding taking exams that weigh so heavily on our futures. I am quite nervous for my oral exam and licensing exam as well, and though I know we are extremely well prepared for both, it does not make that anxiety any less or go away. I try to work on modifying my own negative automatic thoughts in relation to my anxiety as well and try to run through how truly realistic it would be for me to actually fail, and if I do, so what? I am sure many people have sat for the exam multiple times and still end up achieving licensure so I try to tell myself that, but sometimes it is still difficult to work through!

      You are definitely prepared and have great field experience to add to your in-class work. So you got this!

      Reply

    • Monique Guillory
      Jan 21, 2021 @ 09:57:50

      Hi Ashley,

      I share some of those same sentiments. Test taking has not been one of my strengths, but like you say this program definitely has helped prepare us for what is in store. I worry a lot about performing in my oral exam, partially due to it being a test, and the other due to the fact that it will all be via zoom (at least for me in a few weeks)!
      I imagine there are many challenges when deciding on your next steps, not only for yourself but how it will impact your daughter. Moving states is not an easy decision. I relocated from Texas a few years ago and there are definitely challenges, as well as opportunities that come with such a big life change!

      Reply

  14. Taylor O'Rourke
    Jan 21, 2021 @ 08:43:01

    1. What are your initial thoughts and feelings when you think about your next professional/career steps after graduating?

    When thinking of my next steps after graduating, I am not overly concerned luckily
    because my internship site has offered me a position to stay for my post-grad internship. Though my original plan was to move out of New England post-grad, I am incredibly fortunate that my job search will be nonexistent, especially in the pandemic world we are currently living in which certainly affects employment opportunities. My internship site is strictly outpatient, however my agency offers many other types of settings to work in throughout central and eastern Connecticut (which is where I currently live). There was a recent job posting within my agency for working at a prison in eastern CT with men who are incarcerated for substance use-related charges, and this is something I may look more into and apply for. Though there have been extra hoops to jump through to ensure I have met the requirements for not only Massachusetts licensure but Connecticut as well, the program has allowed me to complete what I needed. Connecticut has a “learner’s permit,” if you will, for licensure which is called professional counselor associate (LPC-A), so this is my next step as soon as I graduate in May before I complete my 3,000 hours to sit for the licensing exam in CT. Being a LPC/LMHC is not my long term goal, as I plan on going back to school to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology as soon as I am licensed. I am excited for beginning a new phase in my life that does not consist of school since I gave myself no break in between undergraduate and graduate work, as many of my classmates decided to do as well.

    2. Simply share any thoughts or concerns you may have about obtaining licensure (e.g., licensure exam, application) as a mental health professional.

    Initially, I was quite concerned with obtaining licensure knowing that I was not looking to get licensed in Massachusetts. It seems that all other states I would have been interested in practicing in (Florida, Connecticut, and Rhode Island) had additional requirements for coursework as well as internship hours. Luckily, I researched all those requirements early on in the program so I was able to satisfy everything I needed to be able to obtain licensure in any of the aforementioned states, as well as Massachusetts of course. I have decided to continue working in CT (you can actually get licensed faster here than in MA!) and looked into how to obtain my LPC-A immediately after graduation so I can begin my post-grad internship. My one concern about obtaining licensure comes down to basic test anxiety, and if I will pass on the first try. I am interested in finding out more about the format of the exam and what it entails.

    Reply

    • Kara Rene
      Jan 21, 2021 @ 13:02:20

      Hi Taylor,

      Congratulations on the job offer! It sounds like you have very clear goals for yourself, and I wish you the best of luck as you continue to move towards them! It is really interesting to hear about the different license process in CT as compared to MA. I have a bit of a wandering spirit and often wish that licensure processes and requirements could be consistent from state to state!

      Reply

    • Ashley Foster
      Jan 23, 2021 @ 17:56:16

      Hi Taylor! Congratulations on the job offer! Working with inmates on inpatient level I would say go for it! It’s extremely hard work but I really enjoy that population myself. I know you’ve always had the PhD in mind and I feel like that experience is going to bring on many more challenges that differ from what the LMHC that will only make you a stronger profession. I can absolutely respect the decision to stay in your state that you’re from for so many reasons but especially to get your license sooner than you could in MA. Congrats again!

      Reply

  15. Monique Guillory
    Jan 21, 2021 @ 09:50:17

    1) What are your initial thoughts and feelings when you think about your next professional/career steps after graduating?
    I’m really stoked about completing this long-term goal of obtaining my Master’s degree in clinical psychology. I’ve invested about 10 years in the behavioral and mental health field, in both residential settings, and a day school treatment program, and I’m looking forward to applying the clinical knowledge I have gained thus far. I recall reading many behavior plans, IEP’s, and treatment plans that were not written by evidence-based, practicing clinicians, and I have witnessed how detrimental those notes (or lack there of) can be to the quality of services provided. Working in the ABA world for about 4 years really showed me how much I value data-driven decision making modalities.
    Additionally, I do have some feelings of anxiety when thinking about sitting for the board exam and obtaining my license. I’m very comfortable working in the field and performing in that context, but when it comes to test taking I do struggle a bit. On the bright side, I do believe that Assumption has offered ample experience in practicing applying the knowledge we have gained, and performing in front of an audience. A little exposure goes a long way!

    2.) Simply share any thoughts or concerns you may have about obtaining licensure (e.g. licensure exam, application) as a mental health professional.

    My initial concerns with obtaining licensure are being able to keep a log of all the hours accrued, which is within my control. Working remotely, and having to keep track of my practicum and internship hours has definitely helped me prepare for what is ahead. I also think my anxieties will dissipate once I settle into the first position as clinician. I’m looking forward to working with a team of individuals and continuing to network, which I believe will prepare me for the licensure exam. Taking tests can definitely be overwhelming for me, but when I bring my focus back to the “why” and think about the next set of goals I’d like to achieve in my career I’m able to keep those uncertain feelings at bay. My anxieties are much like the coal the fire that keeps me going! Witnessing some of the ramifications of the pandemic, as well as the surge of mental health demands, has also fueled my desire to dive right into the field and help where I can. At first glance accruing 3,300+ hours of supervision seem daunting, but the bright side is we actually get paid for our Master’s level work, and growing expertise!

    Reply

    • Kara Rene
      Jan 21, 2021 @ 12:59:20

      Hi Monique!

      It’s incredible to hear about the level of experience you are going to be bringing into your work post-graduation, and the passion that you are bringing with it! I would love to hear more about where you hope to focus your hard-earned talents after you graduate!

      Reply

    • Ashley Foster
      Jan 23, 2021 @ 18:01:16

      Hi Monique! I can appreciate your experience in the field (I’m in a similar boat myself). I think one aspect of when your been doing this for so long and doing so many different types of work within the helping profession you have a clearer picture of what type of clinician you want to be (which is probably part of the reason we chose this program). I can totally relate to the anxiety portion but try to remember all that experience is going to put you ahead of the game in many aspects!

      Reply

  16. Kara Rene
    Jan 21, 2021 @ 12:56:11

    (1) What are your initial thoughts and feelings when you think about your next professional/career steps after graduating?

    Lately I have been working to weigh what kind of population I most want to work with after graduating. I purposely split my internship at CHL between the child and adult outpatient departments because I wanted a wider range of experience, and I have deeply enjoyed working in both departments. I would like to stay at CHL, as I have already worked with them for several years and may be able to get the elevated vacation accrual rate I had before my internship back, and I have several clients that I would like to continue working with. I also enjoy and respect both of my supervisors. So, figuring out where and with whom I want to work has been foremost in my mind lately. I know my first job after graduating is unlikely to be my forever job, but I would like to be intentional about where I end up, especially after experiencing the intense burnout that can come with staying too long in a job that doesn’t line up with my goals within a program culture that tends towards toxicity (even though I did enjoy and find that job rewarding for several years!). I am determined to do my due diligence to learn about the program culture and make sure that I am where I want to be this time around.

    (2) Simply share any thoughts or concerns you may have about obtaining licensure (e.g., licensure exam, application) as a mental health professional.

    My main concern about obtaining licensure is studying for the licensure exam. I am sure that after graduating it’s going to be difficult to motivate myself to begin studying again! I have a tendency to procrastinate, so when it comes to preparing for things that I can’t “cram” for, I have to work against my natural tendencies. I am also concerned about making sure that whoever I have supervising me meets the requirements for the LMHC license, as I would prefer not to have to seek out and pay for independent supervision rather than receiving it through my employment.

    Reply

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Adam M. Volungis, PhD, LMHC

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