It was a success!

Yesterday, was our first Happy Hour Meet & Greet event. We enjoyed meeting, and learning the specialties of, each member that attended. It was a pleasure connecting and networking with other counselors. We each walked away with valuable information for referrals and new supportive connections.

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Thanks to all who attended yesterday’s event and for making it a success. If you were unable to make this event, we hope to see you at our next event.

Tiffany, Tracy, & Virginia

P.S. Check out the positive reviews from your fellow members on Facebook about this event!

Images taken by Photography by Tracy

What now?

“You will have many more opportunities once you obtain your LPC.” I heard this over and over again as an LPC-Intern. I was excited for these opportunities, but what were they exactly? More pay? A promotion? My own private practice? During this time of transition, I was unsure what this meant for me and unfortunately, no job miraculously landed in my lap. I had to apply, research, and then apply some more. However, this process taught me a lot about myself and what I wanted to do.

Here are some tips to consider based on what I learned when looking for work…

Know what you want

We all start somewhere and all have to “pay our dues”.

Several of my internship jobs were unpaid and I traveled all over the city to gain experience and hours. This was a very frustrating and overwhelming time for me; however, it paid off. I learned a lot about myself and what I wanted. This was specifically important as I learned what population I want to work with, the hours I feel comfortable working, and where I wanted to work.

Think about the work you are doing…is it what you want? Are you working with the populations and issues your are most interested in?  Are you working the hours you want? Are you working where you want to work? If you answered no to any of these questions, take some time to reevaluate your wants.

It is possible to work where you want, as soon as you figure out what it is that you want.

Do your research

This step is very important. Consider this task to be your job when your are trying to plan your next move. Researching and obtaining information about training, job prospects, and/or a potential employer are incredibly important.  Don’t expect things to be laid out for you.  You must be prepared.

Start this task by researching potential places of employment as well as the questions you want to ask. For example, if having benefits such as medical insurance are a necessity, then take the time to write down the important questions you have about the company’s benefits. When prepared with knowledge from the research done and questions in hand, you will appear organized which could possibly increase your marketability.  Plus being prepared will make your decision making process easier.

Research should also be done when looking to expand your education and training. Find out how additional education and training would benefit you and your career. Don’t trust the guidance of a colleague whom may not know what is best for you—you know what is best for you and the responsibility falls on you to know what you are doing.

Bottom line, research, research, research any and all opportunities.

Make yourself marketable

In a market full of LPC’s and limited job opportunities, the best way to set yourself apart is to market yourself. There is only one you. People are buying into you, so make yourself a high commodity. I did this at my last place of employment. Among 10 LPC’s and LPC-Intern’s, I was one of three counselors who saw children for counseling. There was a large need for counselors to see children there; therefore, I had a busy schedule and job security.

To make yourself a high commodity, review your wants and do your research. Are you an expert at anything? Do you speak another language? Is there a need for a service that no one else is providing? These are the things that will help you to stand out. Market your differences to your current or future employer in order to stand out from the crowd. This goes a long way in the counseling field. If you are the only one providing a particular service, prepare yourself for referrals and a busy schedule.

Network

So you know what you want, have done your research, and made yourself marketable, now is the time to network with your people. Your people are the people with whom you know and have connections with. This is the easiest way to find out about jobs and training opportunities. Tell your people when you are looking for work. More often than not, they will know about someone hiring or about an awesome training course to participate in. I know I have heard about job opportunities from my people several times because they are supportive and interested in helping me reach my goals. I encourage you to create a supportive network to connect with. This is an easy and important way to learn about job and training opportunities.

If this is not possible for you, consider using the internet to network with other counselors. A good starting place is our blog and Facebook page, SA Counselors Networking Group. Here we provide support and guidance to LPC-Interns and LPC’s. However, don’t stop with us. Look to network with other professionals in various fields online and/or in person. To find more networking groups on Facebook, click on find new groups and type in the type of group you are looking to network with.

Create it yourself

And if all else fails, create it yourself.

“The best way to predict your future is to create it yourself.” –Unknown

If what you want is not out there, I encourage you to create it yourself. There are many more opportunities available when you create what you want. A colleague of mine splits her time between two cities, counseling and writing books. She does not sit in an office all day or have traditional work hours. This may not work for you, but it works for her. It allows her the opportunity to make money, travel, and do what she wants.

Getting out there and creating what you want is possible. It takes a lot of hard work and it can happen for you. We did just that with the SA Counselors Networking Group. The three of us needed support while obtaining our LPC-Intern hours. What we received in return has been more than we anticipated. We started with three members and have grown to over 600 members. We now have the support and guidance we need at our fingertips. If you are interested in creating your own networking group, read more here.

Know that it is possible to create what you want and make your dream job a reality.

Best of luck to you on your job search.

Tracy Cooper, LPC

P.S. If you have any tips that you have found to be helpful when looking for a job, please share them with us all by leaving a comment. We appreciate your feedback.

How To: Start Your Own Networking Group

We often get asked if there are networking groups like ours in other cities.  The truth is we haven’t been able to locate one.  So it occurred to us that there might be some industrious counselors out there who are interested in starting their own networking group.  And we have to say, that would be fantastic.  Our hope is that if other areas of Texas, and other cities in the U.S., establish successful groups, we can then connect group by group to create a cohesive sense of community within the mental health field as a whole.  The mere idea of this makes us giddy.

So by popular demand, here are our tips regarding how to create your own networking group.

  1. Be prepared to invest some time. We have devoted many hours to the creation of this group.  Co-founder meetings, blog posts, Facebook monitoring, networking events – really the list goes on.  We started this group because we believed it was possible to create a community that was missing in our field.  Communities take a lot of effort to build.
  2. Find a partner, or three. – As previously stated, this takes serious time.  Trying to tackle such an  endeavor by yourself will likely be  unsuccessful and exhausting. Plus, with partners, there is always someone to take the reins when life gets in the way. For example, when one of our co-founders was out on maternity leave, the other two of us were able to take over her duties seamlessly.  It needs to be noted that constant communication and a good working relationship are vital for this to be a positive experience for all involved.
  3. Be clear about your mission, rules, and expectations of group members.  Make sure to post these on all means of social media.
  4. As the co-founders of your own networking group, take your gate keeping duties seriously. Be diligent about monitoring your Facebook page (or any page where members can post comments). There will be times when members post something that can be viewed as unethical. In our experience, this is almost always unintentional. However in those cases, you will need to delete the questionable material.  We have also found it to be helpful to privately message the member this applies to and explain why their post was deleted.  Hopefully this will clarify the situation for them and prevent them from making similar mistakes in the future. If not, it may be time to delete that member from the group.  Either way, if there is unethical material on your networking page, the responsibility rests with you.
  5. If you are not yet fully licensed make sure you have appropriate supervision regarding all aspects of the group. For example, we were all three LPC-Interns when we started the SA Counselors Networking Group, so we made sure to include our individual LPC Supervisors in our decision making process.
  6. Verify potential members’ information prior to adding them to your group.  We manage this by sending a private message to everyone who requests membership. This message asks them for information regarding their license number and reasons for joining the group. We did not start doing this until fairly recently, and as a result we ended up with group members who were not in the counseling field at all. This led to spam, which is just annoying to everyone.
  7. You will not please everyone – do not take this personally.  While there are many people who will be so grateful for your efforts and will tell you so; there will also be people who complain to you about various aspects of the group.  When it seems that these complaints are valid, consider them valuable feedback and make changes as you feel it is appropriate. As for the rest, joke about it with your co-founders and move on.

Hopefully these tips are helpful to any who have a desire to create a community of their own. We would love to be informed of any future networking groups created.

Please post feedback and questions below. We are eager to hear if you find this post helpful.

6 things to remember when filing for your LPC license

The day had finally come.  After completing the required internship hours I submitted my paperwork to transition from LPC-Intern to LPC. At this time, I was mere days away from delivering my first child, so I could not have been more relieved.  This was in January. Flash forward to May. My son was now 4 months old and I was still an LPC-Intern. Fortunately everything worked out. I was fully licensed just in time to return to work at the beginning of June.  But I can say that during those 4 months, I spent more time and energy than I would have liked calling the board, locating lost paperwork, and trying to calm my anxious nerves.  So, what went wrong?  It was actually a strange multitude of random occurrences that made the journey more difficult. But I did learn a few things about the application process. Hopefully my experience and lessons learned will be helpful to those of you who have yet to file for your LPC license.

1.  When keeping track of your hours, do so on one form.  During the middle of my internship my supervisor moved and I had to find a new one. My new supervisor recommended that I use the Supervision Log Form provided by the board.  Because I tend to be a creature of habit I resisted this change. This resulted in my having to transfer my hours from my original log to the official form.  It was a huge pain and I got confused in the mix of it.  It took me forever to get the numbers on the original log and the numbers on the new form to match.  Hear me now, just use the official form from the start. You will thank me later.

2.  Copies. Make copies of your copies and then copy those as well. Seriously. I had two wonderful supervisors throughout my internship.  They were organized, professional, and on top of everything.  Unfortunately they both moved to a different city. So when I couldn’t find my copies of my paperwork and decided to reach out to them and ask for theirs, everything was packed away.  It was stressful for everyone.

3. If there is a problem with your paperwork that is not quickly resolved email the board to formally request a copy of your records. If I had done this sooner, I would have quickly seen the problem and fixed it easily.  In fact, once I had the copy of my records, I was able to take care of the problem within an hour.

4. When contacting the board be pleasant and thorough.  Be prepared with a specific list of questions. You will not be offered information that you have not specifically asked about. For example, the first time I called I was told I was missing the jurisprudence exam. I rectified this, but still no license. The next time I called, I was informed that there was a mistake within the paperwork I filed and I would need to correct this mistake.  Later, after many more phone calls, I found out that there were actually 3 mistakes.  This brings me to my next tip.

5. Take notes while talking to the board and always ask who specifically you are speaking with.

6.  Last but not least, as my grandmother has always said, you get more flies with honey than with vinegar.  Once I corrected all mistakes and sent the new paperwork in via both email and fax (better safe than sorry) I made sure to include a letter explaining the corrections and apologizing for any inconvenience that the errors may have caused anyone. I cannot prove it, but I firmly believe that this made all the difference.  I was licensed less than 3 days later.  Ask anyone, that turnaround time is almost unheard of.

If you have any other tips or suggestions to help with the process of filing for your LPC license, please share them with us all by leaving a comment in the box below!

Good luck!

Tiffany Frias, LPC

Maternity Leave

Our fellow co-founder, Tiffany Frias Rabenaldt, is currently expecting her first child next month. Due to this wonderful life transition, she will be taking a step back from the group for the next several months so that she can focus on the needs of her family. Beginning on January 20th, Tiffany will not be returning emails or Facebook messages. Tiffany will be returning to her role in the group after her maternity leave. In the meantime, please contact the other co-founders, Tracy Cooper or Virginia Gonzalez, by email or on Facebook.

Here is their information:

Tracy Cooper- Email: tccounselor@yahoo.com

Virginia Gonzalez-Email: virginiagg.ma@gmail.com

Please be patient with us during this time. We will check Facebook daily and respond to your emails and Facebook messages within 1 to 2 business days.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Gift Guide: 2nd Counselor Edition

December is my favorite time of year and one of my favorite things to do during the holidays is give to others. And who deserves a gift more than those who help others – such as us hard working counselors?

Here are some great gifts for the dedicated and hard working counselor on your holiday list.

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1.scarf l $29                                                                                                                                   2. mugs l $10 (we could all use an afternoon pick-me-up in a pretty mug)

3. diffuser l $20 (set the stage for healing)

4. bookmark l $12.50  & journal (we do need to be doing our own awareness work, after all)51PQEkujxSL

5.  office calendar (lets face it – we are BUSY)

6.  slippers (to keep under our desk for those times in between clients) master_MOC184

 

7. e-reader (to keep up with all the articles and books we recommend to our clients)

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Comment below to add your own good counselor gift ideas.

Happy Holidays!

Tracy Cooper, MA, LPC

TCA Professional Growth Conference 2013

This year’s TCA Professional Growth Conference is in San Antonio and several of our colleagues are presenting. TCA’s Professional Growth Conference, is the largest annual conference for professional counselors who provide services in private practice settings, at elementary and secondary schools, on college campuses, in criminal justice settings, community mental health centers, hospitals, nursing homes/managed care facilities, and in other settings across Texas.The conference starts on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 and ends on Saturday, November 23, 2013.

We previously asked for presentation information on Facebook and received information from our colleague, Julie Jarzombek. Below is information on Julie’s presentation, Internal Change for External Success: Counseling the obese in their Bariatric process:

Title of Session

Internal Change for External Success: Counseling the obese in their Bariatric process

Preferred Session Format

“1.5 hour Sectional Program”

More than once

Yes

Publish Email

Yes

Record Session

Yes

Program Summary

Who and what dictates’ our wellness status, disease or body image? Bariatric surgery is an innovative approach to treating obesity, but the question remains; why does it work for some and not others? This presentation will examine disordered eating behaviors among the obese population seeking to lose weight with bariatric surgery. Counseling implications and interventions will be discussed. Exploring excess weight as the external symptom from disconnected internal emotions, thoughts, sensations and energies in clients.

Rationale

Obesity is at its highest rate ever, resulting in clients presenting physical, psychological and social issues in session. Research suggests people who are obese are more likely to perceive themselves as unattractive, believe others make disparaging comments about their weight, dislike being in public, feel discrimination when applying for jobs, at work, church and doctor offices; all of which leads to negative self beliefs and fear of being in the world. This session will help counselors be aware of the affects obesity has on clients, overall functioning in the world.

Educational Content

In this eye-opening presentation, education and methods of counseling the obese will be discussed as well as experienced. Participants will be educated on bariatric surgery, gain insight related to obese clients and experience exercises meant to be applied with clients. Breathing techniques, energy work and expressive arts provide an avenue for clients to identify and name their issues, chiefly abuse, trauma, and loss; in a secure manner. Techniques covered in this presentation can be easily incorporated into existing counseling models and work easily with most theoretical backgrounds. Particular consideration will be given to the mental and emotional blocks held in the physical body and the importance of relation to the disordered eating behaviors and the client’s self-beliefs and body image. By understanding the emotional and mental blocks held within the body, clinicians are able to engage with clients in much more effective way and have a deeper perceptive of the unspoken issues. Participants will find these techniques are applicable to all clients who struggle with weight and body issues.

Usage of PowerPoint and distributing handouts.

Learning Objective 1

Learn the definition & types of bariatric surgery, risks and benefits.

Learning Objective 2

Learn the pre-op psychological process for clients & why it’s important.

Learning Objective 3

Learn the challenges in counseling the obese in their bariatric process.

Learning Objective 4

How to acknowledge key elements contributing to disordered eating behavior

Learning Objective 5

Learn somatic techniques to promote client awareness- relationship food.

Targeted Audience

All levels

Group Size

51-100

Track

Mental Health Counseling

If attending TCA, make sure to check out Julie’s presentation and share your TCA personal growth and experiences with us by commenting on this blog post.

(image found here)