The Next Step
I moved to Seattle about four months ago, a fresh master’s degree in my hand, ready to conquer the world of mental health and get started on my life’s calling.
Unfortunately, the working world had a lot of other ideas. The last time I posted here, I lamented how difficult it has been to find work that pays a living wage and provides the professional opportunities I believe I will need to succeed as a counselor. It was a tall order in this economy, with the profession in the state it’s in, and on a completely foreign landscape. I barely knew my way around my new city, much less the path to something as scary as going into private practice.
It soon became apparent that if I wanted the freedom to practice when I was able, collect a livable wage, and maintain my part-time job at The Gottman Institute (basically every couples counselor’s dream job), I would have to face facts. Private practice was the way to go.
So, since that time, I’ve shed a lot of nervous tears, had a few bouts of self-doubt, and opened a business checking account. I’ve gotten my business license, become verified by Psychology Today, and I’ve joined a group practice in downtown Seattle. Honestly, I don’t know how it all happened and how I managed to look down that intimidating pile of work and anxiety, but I did it. I’m opening my doors in January. It’s just one day a week, but it’s a start.
I’ve read the scary tales about the state of our profession, the practices shuttering their doors, and the colleagues too burned out to try to make it work anymore. Those stories scared me and I almost let them dictate the my career path. But I didn’t. I listened to my peers, my loved ones, and those who believe in me. I’m thankful I did that because when I look in the mirror today, I’m proud of what I have already accomplished, even though I haven’t seen a single client yet. I stayed true to myself and what I envision for my career development.
I want to jump in and change how we do things, how we organize as counselors, and how we choose to treat and work with clients from the inside out. I can’t do those things if I continue to sit on the sidelines and play it safe. I’m excited to get into the mess of this life we’re all living, trying to survive and thrive through our professional calling, and live to talk about it and be about it. I’m also looking forward to sharing this journey with all of you.