Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Narrative Therapy Seminar Series

Let me start with this: I love my job. Actually for me, it's really more of a vocation.


vo·ca·tion
vōˈkāSHən/
noun
  1. 1.
    a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.
    "not all of us have a vocation to be nurses or doctors"
    synonyms:calling, life's work, missionpurposefunction
But no matter how much a person loves their chosen career, it's far too easy to become comfortable or stagnant. Especially when you're really busy and have a caseload of...oh, I don't know say, 650. In graduate school, we would practice and have really long, drawn-out counseling sessions in which we had plenty of time to paraphrase, check for understanding and then really begin some Narrative work. We had plenty of time to use externalizing language to help the problem be viewed as separate from the person, and something that could be changed. 

Some days are so busy that the ideal counseling session is not possible. In a school setting, a counselor may only have 10 minutes with a student, while other students may be waiting. Sometimes, we're with a student and teacher or administrator comes with a student in crisis and we need to prioritize and switch gears. Counselors are often also pulled in different directions or, depending on the time of the year, busy inputting classes and data or presenting guidance lessons. Whenever we're out of our office, things pile up and its easy to fall behind.

In order for me to stay excited about my career, I need to be refreshed on counseling perspectives I love, like Narrative. In 2011, I began piloting Undercover Bullying Teams at our school with huge success. Initially, it was more work on my end but now, its a time-saver and it's also hugely rewarding. Also very rewarding are the grief counseling groups that I run, also from a Narrative perspective.

Our work while in graduate school on the grief counseling groups for adolescents was actually published and can be read about here. It was based on the work of Barbara Myerhoff and Lorraine Hedke's work on Re-Membering with adults, but was the first time that approach had be tailored to adolescents.

Dr. John Winslade, my professor in graduate school, and his wife Dr. Lorraine Hedtke are pretty amazing people, both personally and professionally. She recently opened up the Fabula Centercenter in Redlands. Last weekend, I attended the first in a series of Narrative Therapy seminars, held there on State Street. 

Attending that seminar has really re-energized my work and reminded me of why I do what I do. It has been eight years (really?!) since graduate school ended and attending this has been a wonderful review and reminder of the fundamental concepts in counseling from this perspective, and why I love them so much. It has also re-connected me to Lorraine and John, whom I've now known for 10 years. Since this seminar, Lorraine and I have talked about having her meet with my Mom and interview her, and possibly having it professionally recorded. This is something I would forever cherish, as would my children.

Going back to work that Monday was exciting, and my caseload of 650 seemed a little more manageable. Looking forward to the next one on March 30th!





No comments:

Post a Comment