On Becoming a Therapist..

Most people are shocked when I tell them when I had “the calling.” As we Social Workers often refer to our profession as. That’s because it’s not a job, but rather a way of life. Social Workers don’t have an off switch… We are always Social Workers, being paid or not. Many say it’s a vocation. And in many ways, I agree. I was 11 years old and in 6th grade when I knew. For me, this isn’t a big deal. Honestly, not many people even know this about me. As I tend to be a very private person. But if I am going to do a mental health and therapy blog, then I think it should start from the beginning. Which in this case, is with myself.

I always knew that I wanted to help other people. I was doing therapy (unknowingly) from an early age. I was fairly good at picking up on the mood and feelings of other people. Call it hypersensitive, perhaps. This has pros and cons, of course. I would volunteer to work with the special education children at school. And then one day, I met a Social Worker and she told me what she did for a living. And my life changed.

I did not waiver in my choice of profession. I also believe my calling was spiritual. The more I learned about Social Work, the more passionate I became. I learned about empathy, compassion, advocacy, empowerment, and seeing the PIE (person in their environment). I wanted to be a therapist and provide counseling. But as a new college graduate this wasn’t an option. Thus I gained experience in Domestic Violence, worked with various populations, worked in the medical field, inner city client homes, inpatient psychiatry, outpatient programs for the mentally ill, and even Social Work management . And I still yearned to provide direct therapy at any opportunity.

Then several years ago my life hit a fork. I could continue working in area that I felt dissatisfied or I could try to become the therapist that I always wanted to be.  After a great deal of thought, I knew it was time to pursue my dreams. And that is exactly what I did. I have never been happier. I finally feel like I am doing, what I was placed here for. Helping others find their voice. Helping others, help themselves. And in that, they help me too…