Are you a pre-licensed therapist in need of some tips in order to maintain your health during the tedious days between graduation and licensure? Keep reading to find out some helpful pointers for surviving this beginning stage of your career.
Hello Pre-Licensed Therapists!
If you found this page, there is a good chance that you are in the earlier stages of your counseling career or just finishing up with graduate training. To you: I’m SO glad you’re here! I wish I had the wherewithal to tap into resources in my early days.
Pre-Licensure is Hard
One thing that I experienced during my pre-licensure days, and that I’ve observed since then, is that the period of time between graduation and licensure is INCREDIBLY tedious!
We all know it, but we also don’t really talk about it. It almost feels like the tedium is inherent to the process, a “paying your dues” of sorts. So we don’t validate how hard the time is. We just assume it sucks and that’s the way it is.
5 Tips To Maintain Your Health
I’m perpetually baffled by how a field intended to help folks’ mental health is designed in such a way that the system harms our mental health as trainees.
Though I don’t have the power to change the way the system operates, I can offer some thoughts on ways you can stay healthy while in this tedious process.
Pre-Licensed Therapist Tips:
- Prioritize a healthy work environment
- Take permission to go at your own pace (It’s not a race!)
- Know it’s okay to supplement your income with non-counseling options
- This list of alternative career choices could give you some inspiration.
- Find supportive peers and mentors (Watch out for anxious echo chambers!)
- Even though you’re not licensed, you are still in the driver’s seat. (You are not obligated to do it the way a supervisor or other licensed person says!) Sometimes people offer unhealthy advice because they feel bitter about their own negative past experiences and then project it onto you.
Your Health Is Worth It
I know it’s painful to slow down or to turn down an internship at an unhealthy work environment when it feels like the clock is ticking and you need to get your license, like, yesterday. But, I promise, your licensure will still await you in the future.
One Last Tip From Me
Personally, though I completed my hours for licensure relatively quickly, when I look back at that time my primary feeling is stress rather than pride. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so proud of all my accomplishments.
But, in retrospect I just remember being a ball of anxiety during that time and largely a shell of myself. I’d feel much prouder of that time if I allowed myself to acknowledge how much pressure I was putting on myself and pumped the brakes a bit.
If you are interested in hearing more of my story from my pre-licensure days, I share some of it in this video.
Or, if you want to avoid some of the mistakes I made earlier on in my career, I’ve shared some of the things I wish I would have done differently here.
Until next time, from one therapist to another: I wish you well!
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels
Photo by Alex Green: on Pexels