Tuesday, January 25, 2005 by niebuhrian
In the counseling world, you are supervised for a period of time before you are deemed acceptable to practice on your own. So far, my process has involved about 200 hours of supervision, 85 in the Social Work side and 115 on the pastoral counseling side. I never thought I would see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I have about 15 hours of Social Work supervision left before I will be licensed to practice on my own. It is both scary and exhilarating to reach this point in my life.
Along those lines, I had an evaluation from my supervisor this morning. This is a periodic evaluation to gauge my progress and redefine my goals. It went much better than expected, and compared to last year it was a walk in the park. Last year, about this time, I was so depressed that I couldn't see beyond my own nose. I was pretty good at hiding it from most folks; we counselors are tricky in that way because we already know the interventions. In fact, you probably wouldn't have been able tell it about me unless you looked really closely, and I was pretty good about not letting people look too close.
However, through a good course of therapy and a general desire to change and challenge myself, the funk has passed and I have had a good year overall. My practice and my ability to self-supervise (which means that I can examine my own actions and thoughts and screen the necessary from the unnecessary while in the room with a client) have improved dramatically which actually makes me think I might be pretty damn good at this someday.
The struggle that I will continue to face is my own sense of self-indictment. Up until today, I have always feared evaluations, which comes from my ability to be unfairly self-critical. Just as an example, I will work and re-work a sermon in my head and on paper until I have found the perfect blend between creativity and theological astuteness. The head of staff at the church where I serve often laughs at me when I have difficulty with a lectionary passage. I believe that his hope is that laughter will help pull me out of my seriousness and begin to play a little more with the text. It is helpful to have people around that don't let you take yourself too seriously.
As I look back on my day, it was well spent for the most part (enter subdued self-criticism). I spent the evening with several clients and left feeling pretty good about the work we did together. Usually, I can tell when I have had a good run of sessions, because those are the times when the clients do most of the work and I have stayed out of the way. Tomorrow it is back to church to look over the sermon for the tenth time. There is a transition in there that is driving me nuts...