Thoughts From a Graduate Counseling Intern - Part Two
Here at Diversified Health and Wellness Center, we encourage our interns to talk about their experience with mental health and how it impacts their time as a graduate counseling intern. Today, we asked one of our interns what it means to be a graduate counseling intern:
"I can confidently say that I am a counselor. The ability to confidently wear that mantle is naturally a culmination of all of my studies and practice up until this point. Like many accomplishments in life, it’s the kind of thing that you almost don’t realize happened because you were too busy working on making it happen. You look around yourself and realize that this was only a step to further growth.
Looking back, I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was trying to save the world when I started my graduate program. On some level, I still do have that hope of having positive change on a large scale (whatever that means), but now I think I’ve come to a more realistic view of the impact my actions can have. I still have that smoldering drive to limit undue suffering, and I view that as a positive, but now I’m working on knowing my limit on engaging with it for the sake of my mental health. Part of knowing my limit, in this respect, is not just about knowing what I can physically accomplish in my limited capacity as one human, but about what I should expect from myself. Humanity will always have a need for counseling; the degree to which it is needed and what falls under the semantic banner of counseling may change, but suffering is a hunger that can never truly be satiated. Someone out there will always need help, and sometimes, I’m one of them. I will continue to help those I can, and consider myself lucky to do so, but with the understanding that helping others can only be facilitated by sufficiently helping myself.
Knowing my limits is one element of how becoming a counselor is teaching me how to be a counselor to myself. As it turns out, the same mental muscle that is used to do the emotional labor for our clients can also be used to pull ourselves up off the ground."
Written by Drew Weingart, Graduate Counseling Intern