Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Seeking Advice From Others [Guest Post By Kim Peterson]

I clearly remember one of the most difficult decisions I had to make halfway through my internship. 

The pediatric clinic I worked for throughout graduate school offered me an amazing opportunity with their company, which meant leaving my current internship at a successful group private practice. There were so many factors to consider, such as the fact that I would be changing supervisors, working longer hours away from home, and treating a totally different population.  I remember quickly getting on the phone to my colleagues, friends, mom, dad, grandmother, husband, and so on… I needed feedback from those I trusted most. It was during this time that I truly realized how much I valued the knowledge and experience from each of these individuals in my life. Have you ever stopped to think of the wealth and diversity of life perspectives you have around you, just in your own personal circle?

Interns and new therapists are confronted with challenging decisions like this every day, and often our decisions greatly impact clients and colleagues, as well as family. Seeking advice from others is a must in our personal and professional lives. We all have a great deal of people in our circles, from family members to friends to professional associations, and each individual varies in their background, education, and life experience.

Taking time to discover and learn from others is something I recommend to my clients regularly. We refer to this circle as a “support system,” but I don’t believe people always maximize the benefits of their network.

The worksheets below are intended to generate awareness of who is in one’s social circle and what they can offer. There is an adult worksheet and teen worksheet, and for the purpose of this post, I also modified one for counseling interns.

For a complimentary post and self-help worksheet, check out my blog post “Everybody Needs Somebody!

Just for fun, here are some examples of a few pieces of advice I received from my own family:

Children: Nana- Love them, teach them to respect others, make them lovable enough so others enjoy being around them, teach them good behavior, have them in church.

Aging well: Nana-Stay active and take care of yourself the best you can.

Spirituality: Dad- Without faith there is no hope.

Marriage: Mom- Communication and listening are important to meeting one another's needs and avoiding unnecessary conflict.

Difficult decisions: Dad- The easiest way to make the hardest decisions is to strive to do what is right.

Helping others: Mom- Try to practice this every day because you will feel good and your outlook each day is better.

Being critical: Cody- You will never regret withholding judgment.

Hearing some of the responses, I chuckled (because they were so typical of that person), or found myself surprised and impressed. I encourage you to use this in your own life, as well as use this tool in your clinical practice. Stephanie and I would love to hear your feedback and any questions you may have!

Kim Peterson is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor and Registered Play Therapist in Kingwood, Texas. She works with individuals of all ages with a focus on child therapy, depression, adjustment, anxiety, parenting dilemmas, and teen issues. Kim is also passionate about educating others on issues in counseling through her blog at  Kim can be reached at

Kim's name sound familiar? It should! She first appeared in Beginning Counselor in the blog post Free Worksheets For Therapists on October 3. Click the link to read.

Did you miss it? Kim gave you links to 3 FREE worksheets! Download the worksheets here. Subscribe to her blog for more great advice and free worksheets.