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.

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.

Networking Event-Chronic Pain Presentation Success

We had another successful presentation/networking event! Thanks to everyone who attended today’s event and a big thanks to Desirae Ysasi for her insightful presentation on chronic pain. Her presentation taught us how to address resistance with clients as well as helpful relaxation techniques and interventions used to assist clients with chronic pain.

Today’s proceeds were given to Desirae whom decided to donate the proceeds to the Out of Darkness Walk. This walk is dedicated to suicide awareness and prevention.

If you were unable to make this event, we hope to see you at our next event.

Tiffany, Tracy & Virginia

Presentation: Chronic Pain

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Join us on October 5th from 10am-12pm  for an opportunity to hear Desirae Ysasi, LPC, present on chronic pain.

This event will be held at Novian Counseling and Neuroeducation Center. Cost is $15 per person.  You can register for this event by leaving a comment below. Advance payment is required (see the paypal “Buy Now” link below). Space is limited to 10 people so register early!

After the presentation, there will be an opportunity to mingle and network. Don’t miss out on this chance to learn about chronic pain, connect with others, and build your name in the counseling field!

Buy Now - Presentation

Networking Event

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We are pleased to announce our next networking event!

This event will focus on brief therapy approaches as previously decided by our members. We are hoping to get a turnout of 10 members to this event. The format of this event will be a discussion group. This means that each person attending should be prepared to contribute their thoughts and experience regarding brief therapy approaches.

These events are designed to provide both support and opportunities to network yourself in our field. Don’t miss out on this chance to connect with others, increase your support system, and build your name in the counseling field!

This event will be held on Saturday 6/22/13 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM at Novian Counseling & Neuroeducation Center.  Please email us at SACounselors@gmail.com to register for this event.

(photo found here)

Networking Event Success

We had another successful networking event! Thanks to all who attended and for sharing your personal means of self care and burn-out. Here are a few articles shared on self care and burnout:

http://ct.counseling.org/2013/01/whos-taking-care-of-superman/

https://dl.dropbox.com/u/3790568/Unravelling2013.pdf

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/01/13/6-ways-you-can-have-a-healthy-relationship-with-yourself/

Compassion Satisfaction/Fatigue Assessment

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The photo above was a part of this article, http://www.livehiup.com/2012/08/25/natural-self-care-series-laughter/, which poses another interesting means of self-care.

If you were unable to attend this event, please share with us what you do for your own self care.

Remember to take care of YOU and we hope to see you at our next event!

Tiffany, Tracy & Virginia