Sorry. This is long.
Today I woke up expecting to have a really hard time and a long day. I was so tired when I "woke up". I seriously had no idea how I was going to make it through the day. All I could think about was getting to 3 o'clock so I could go home.
I arrived at the office (Valle del Sol-a behavioral health agency and methadone clinic where I have my internship twice a week) and struggled to turn on "my Spanish brain" while I sat in on a Spanish-speaking substance abuse group. I would often find my brain veering, as it so often does, and my mouth wanting to yawn. I did my best to suppress it, in order not to offend anyone, but it was rather difficult. All I could think about was getting to 3.
Soon the session was over and I was wondering how I was going to make it. The hours passed and my field instructor asked if I wanted to sit in on one of her individual sessions. I happily accepted, but she quickly mentioned that she wanted me to be more "proactive" and speak more during the session. I was so nervous! I have only sat in on one individual session, which involved sitting in the back of the room and trying not to creep the client out or make her feel uncomfortable by staring the entire time. To make the situation even more interesting, this client has tried to commit suicide many times and is currently feeling suicidal and depressed, not to mention many side effects of a current drug addiction. I had no idea what to do. I mean... books and class lectures gave me an idea of what to say, but I was terrified of saying something that would make the client feel worse or cause a detriment to the future relationship of the client and my field instructor. This was the very first time my field instructor was meeting with the client, so the relationship was very delicate at this point. My field instructor introduced me and said that I was going to be a counselor soon. That was such a cool thing to hear!! Once the session started, I could feel my field instructor's eyes on me as if she wanted me to talk. I did my best to make the client feel comfortable. I tried to do everything I was taught, such as maintaining eye contact, keeping an open posture, using a calm tone and engaging eyes. That was the extent of my knowledge. I made sure my field instructor took care of the important things such as making sure the client had a safety plan, since she mentioned that she was suicidal. As the session progressed, I soon realized that I didn't have to act like I knew what I was doing. All I had to do was just listen and be with the client. I realized that I didn't have to avoid the silence, but tried to take advantage of it and encouraged the client to use deep breaths to help with her feelings of anxiety. This was seriously so exciting to me! It was a small step of progress, but it was progress! I feel like I'm finally starting to get somewhere with my profession. I'm finally getting experience that is going to help me in many aspects of my life, not just as a clinician. I played a small part in the session today, but it was really an amazing experience. I really felt like a made a difference, even if it was just a tiny-sized speck of a difference. It's starting to become a reality to me. Being a counselor is within grasp-finally!