ACA Blog

Sep 05, 2013

Clinicians in transition: Getting started, moving on, starting over…

Sometimes it seems that no matter the clinician, no matter the age and no matter the setting, they are in the process of some kind of transition. The transition can be personal or professional, but it seems that as a group of folks, we are never or at least seldom happy with simply sitting back, relaxing and enjoying the fruit of our hard work and good deeds. I took some time in the recent weeks to talk to a few very talented folks to see what they are up to. Though I have permission to share, I have changed their names and a few key details just the same. I find it is easier for me if I always make these types of changes, lest I make a mistake when it really counts.

“Sue” is a professional in the field of counseling. She stated she has a great job in terms of pay and benefits but sometimes questions whether or not she is able to make real and lasting change. When asked what she felt she could do to answer this question she stated that there were many ways but for her, she felt it was time to pursue licensure and open her own office. She has contacted a financial planner who is helping her to set up her finances in a way that make more sense to her. Beyond study guides, she is also looking into locations and ways to develop a practice (she contacted me after picking up a copy of “Counseling With Confidence” a book I contributed to. My chapter focusses on developing a private practice.). She stated that she feels that “middle age is the new 20 so why not start something new?”

“Gene” is a therapist in private practice who also teaches at a local (to her) college. She enjoys the clinical life especially as it intersects with education but felt that there was more to life than making a living. As she too deals with middle age and the beginnings of what may become an empty nest, she too started to explore what would make her happier. She is not leaving clinical or academia anytime soon but she stated that she is ready to look into personal growth. She recently started art classes again and is building a really cool portfolio. I bumped into her at a therapeutic art class at the farm recently and admired her ever growing body of work.

No matter where you are in this world, it is important to remember who you are and what you desire. We can work in this great field of ours for our entire life or we can work in it in intervals. So long as our clients are never left hanging therapeutically, there is no reason why you cannot live your dreams.

“Liam” is a talented chap that I met quite by accident. He is a “self-made man” who paid his dues working at a family owned business for many years. Now retired and collecting Social Security “we call it being on the doll in my home country” he says with a wink and a smile; he told me he decided that he wanted to be an alienist (a long time history buff, Liam is referring to a therapist; as some of you may know, “alienist” is one of the first terms used to describe us). He went to grad school, completed his requirements and now works per diem half the year, traveling the remainder. Though a newbie in the profession, he has no fears of starting out as he stated “I figure it is just about time to start something new as I have no idea how long I have left.” As a per diem therapist he does not worry about disrupting the flow of therapy. He has been known to leave the continent with little more than a call to the airline.

Those who read this are in many differing stages of the profession. I can’t tell you how exciting it is for me to read the emails that I receive from folks who felt something for at least one of my writings. Though my replies may not always show excitement (when giving complements I never really know what to say so I often simply say “thanks”) but I find it amazing that we have the depth and level of passion in this organization.

As I head out into a new endeavor myself, as a new columnist for the Central Connecticut Post, I do so with the warmth that I get from this group. Though I will continue here for as long as I feel there are any interested readers, I felt a need to expand into writing for consumers as well, so “Real Issues With Doc Warren” was born. I made the commitment after being approached by clients on their desire to have something from me that was geared towards them and after being approached by a writer for the newspaper as well. Like all folks in transition I have no idea where I am going nor if it will work out but even a trip that ends no place special, there will be some changes in scenery and hopefully some new perspectives. After all, as clinicians, don’t we specialize in transitions?
________________________________________________________________________
Warren Corson III (Doc Warren) is a counselor and the clinical & executive director of a community counseling agency in central CT (www.docwarren.org). 

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