Monday, August 30, 2010

To Everything There is a Season, and This Season is Done

My time as a counselor, for right now, is done.

In January 2007, I graduated Gordon-Conwell with a Master's in Counseling. I zipped through the program in record time because I knew the track in life I wanted and had only that goal in mind. I busted my rear and graduated Cum Laude while taking extra classes to get out 1-3 semesters earlier than my peers.

In December of 2007 I joined Peer In Counseling Center as a counselor under supervision and working towards becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). I needed only to pass the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and accumulate 2000 supervised hours, 740 of which had been obtained in graduate school.

In July of 2009 I passed my NCE and statistically was within the top 5-10% of people who took the same test as me. In December of 2009 I completed my 2000 hours. However, because of life circumstances, a budding practice, and general distractions it was a few months before I turned in my final application.

What I learned after submitting my application was that in October of 2009, my licensure board voted to change several of the requirements to become a counselor. Chief among the changes was to move the required hours under supervision to 3000 hours and make the 740 hours obtained as a graduate student only count as an educational requirement and not count towards the 3000 necessary hours.

This was a huge blow to the progress I had made because I was now not considered up for licensure and the additional requirements voted on by the board made it much more impractical to obtain the additional hours needed. In essence, they made maintaining my private practice close to impossible. They also refused to grandfather me in under the old requirements because during several discussions with them, I got some terrible process advice and things were done incorrectly.

I am not going lie. I am livid. I am hurt. I am distraught. I feel slighted. I have nothing but disdain for the licensure board. But, after checking many options, there is very little I can do about it. So, I must move on in the confidence that God has brought me to this point and given me my proclivities, training and skills for a reason.

So where does that put me today? No longer able to successfully proceed in my current environment, my counseling supervisor and I have mutually decided that I will no longer be a part of Peer In Counseling Center. We have left on very good terms. I was not fired and I did not quit. I have nothing but love for Kim Honeycutt and the work she does. We both hope that our professional lives will intertwine again. We just agreed, that based on the board's new requirements, it was no longer in my best fiscal interest to continue paying rent on a space that I would not be able to adequately use.

As of September 1, 2010, I will no longer be considered a counselor because any work that I do will be outside of the necessary supervision required to legally call myself one. However, just because I am not currently pursuing my license does not mean I have lost hold of my therapeutic capabilities. I am currently looking at options for how to still involve my daily passions help people in their daily life struggles until I find the environment best suited to continue on in getting my LPC.

I am sure there will be more to come on this in the future, but in addition to following up on a few job possibilities, I may for a time, become a Life Consultant or a similar title. This will provide an opportunity where I can be contracted to work with individuals and families who need someone to provide an outside perspective on their troubles and situations or need a mediator in their marriage or family dynamics. Just because I don't currently hold the title does not mean I do not have the skills.

I may also step away from the field altogether for a while journeying through corporate America trying to positively impact those I come into direct contact with.