This afternoon in class our professor asked us to break into groups of three and share a few words that speak to each of our individual life stories. It had to do with an exercise around narrative therapy. I got with two other classmates and initially we just stared at each other. This felt vulnerable. Then one of them started; the first words out of her mouth was self-sabotage. I was thinking man, that is fucking honest, good for her for being so real. Her authenticity gave me and the other group member permission (and a feeling of safety) to show up in our truth as well.
A little while later I linked up with two different classmates for a role play on solution focused therapy. Neither of the women I was working with wanted to be the clinician so I agreed to. I know this is an area I need practice anyway. I use parts of solution focused theory with my clients currently and did so with my clients from my last internship on occasion as well. It doesn’t really speak to me on the whole though because it is very “now” focused where as I lean more towards psychodynamic approaches which focus on the roots of issues. I think it is good for acute issues but long standing challenges I think are better addressed through deeper work.
So I opened my text to the solution focused chapter so I had an outline to keep me on track and we began. I was not sure I was doing too well because I was so focused on not diving too deep with my classmate playing the role of client. I paused and broke character once or twice to keep myself on track and make sure I was staying with the theme of solution focused. Each time I did my classmates I was working with were super complimentary of my style. I appreciated the validation. They both gave my professor wonderful feedback about how I incorporated different techniques. After class one of the women I worked with told me I was so good that she wanted to bring me her actual problems to get my insight, she was just paying a compliment and was not serious but that was pretty cool.
I had a meeting with my professor after class and was on a high after the class going so well. We talked about certification opportunities and how to search for them. She gave me contact information for some professionals locally that can help me towards certain certifications. She also gave me information about national institutes that do yearly trainings and certifications in case I was willing to travel at any point and make a trip out of it. That was kind of neat too.
So I got home and started doing research based on the information she provided and as I got closer to options I know I am definitely interested in I began to think of my classmate from today.. There is one certification I am really excited about and as I read about what is involved in becoming certified I suddenly felt terrified. I can’t do this. I am going to fail! I can’t do private practice. I will just work for an agency for the rest of my life. I am not good enough.
The words self-sabotage flashed into my mind.
So I stepped back from my search and took a breath. There is absolutely a fear of failure associated with any step I take towards preparing myself for private practice. There is also a fear of success. There are pieces of me that still do not believe I am worthy of all that I have and all the things I want for myself in life. There are still pieces of me that do not feel good enough.
No amount of positive feedback from colleagues, no amount of validation by professors or supervisors, no credential behind my name is going to change this for me. It just shows me I still have work to do. The best thing I will ever do for my clients is the work I do for myself. Of course I need the degrees, and I would like some certifications just to make sure I am competent in certain modalities, but ultimately I need to be modeling this for them too. I should not be asking my clients to do work I am not willing to do myself. I know doing the work myself is part of what will make me a good therapist because I know the struggle involved in being committed to this work.
I can do this. I am doing it. I have been doing it. I have not just been doing it, I am doing well. It will all come as it is meant to and I feel confident I will succeed in all of it. I may have moments of doubt along the way and I will be gentle with myself in those moments. I will get there though, I know I will.