Thursday, June 26, 2014

Are we there yet? Part 2

Are we there yet? Another way of saying, "Have we arrived?" Well, we all know the counseling profession - like the practice of counseling - isn't about a destination, but instead is closer to a scaffolding of levels. Today, we're talking about how you know when you've arrived at the level of readiness for professional practice, agency or private. I've scoured the archives of some of the best counselor bloggers out there to help me arrive at the right answers. Here's what I've come up with since Part 1. 

Before you have reached the level of a counseling professional, you must: 

Know how to communicate your value as a counselor to others. Many of us stumble when it comes to asserting our own value. Especially where you are now, it feels like you are barely competent sometimes. But you DO offer your clients value, and you need to know how to identify and develop that. One great way to practice demonstrating value (and attract clients in the meantime) is to start a blog. In "Ten Types of Blog Posts for Your Therapy Website," Becky DeGrossa nails the many different ways to express yourself and develop your self-confidence through blogging. 

Be comfortable with the financial compensation you earn as being commensurate with that value. This is where the process can really break down. You may be able to accept that you have value, but putting a price tag on that? Ouch. Whether it's accepting a salary or setting a private practice rate, you need to overcome "Counseling Fee Shame," as this outstanding video by Camille McDaniel demonstrates. 

Match your daydreams with reality. This may not mean what you think it means. It is important to balance the more unrealistic dreams you may have with the reality of everyday life. But it is EQUALLY important not to limit your daydreams because you think that it's not something you can accomplish. You are called at a deep level to serve others. It is okay for that to follow a non-traditional format if that's what it takes to fulfill your soul calling. In, "The Dirty Secret Behind Success," Elizabeth Doherty Thomas shares her 10 steps to real, self-actualized success. 

Do you find any of these goals intimidating? Do they feel less than possible for you? 

Part 1 was about professionalism at a surface level. In Part 2, I want to encourage you to take your thoughts on professionalism to a deeper level.

What does it mean for you, to be a counseling professional?
What limitations do you think you have as a counseling professional, and why?
How do you define success for yourself?
What is your biggest professional daydream, and do you think you will allow yourself to achieve it? Why or why not? 

Professionalism is not an event. But it can be a paradigm shift that is a turning point for the rest of your career.

I would love for you to put one of the answers to the questions above in the comment box, so as a community, we can support you in your professionalism. Would you do that right now?