Spontaneity isn’t my thing. I like lists, organization, and itineraries. I like to know where I’m going, how I’m going there, who else is going, and what I should wear. Rules are my friends, and the more specific, the better.
On the first day of clinic, I panicked.
I was going into this hour-long session without a real plan. I had read the chart, grabbed some possible activities from my supervisor’s office, and wrote down a generic “session plan” for myself. Then I went out and met the parent and my client and pretended to know what I was doing. Then we went back in the therapy room. And nobody died. I didn’t faint. In fact, I actually did some therapy. With the help of my supervisor, I got a reserved, quiet preschooler to talk to me. And I started to figure out some of his goals. Each session after that, I felt a little more comfortable. I could have a general plan, but I could adapt to days when he just didn’t feel like doing what I had planned.
What I’ve learned from this first semester of clinic:
1. Prevention work is important. I absolutely loved my Hope House placement. These kids are considered “at risk” due to circumstances beyond their control, so it’s awesome that we can have a part in evening the odds for them.
2. Supervisors are your BFFs. Seriously. They are so full of experience and information. Although it would sometimes throw me off to have my therapy session taken over, I would learn something new each time my supervisor interacted with my client. They also genuinely care about you as a person and as a professional. They want to help, so ask questions and take advantage of their expertise.
3. Academics are important, but they aren’t everything. I’m having to prioritize a lot. I found myself working on therapy materials more often than studying. You have to find a happy balance because you can pull from academic knowledge in the clinic (and you have to keep a certain GPA to stay in the program!), and you need to be prepared for your clients.
4. Be spontaneous. I don’t mean be crazy. I mean that you have to be able to adapt and change and accept when things don’t go just as planned. It’s more about being able to respond to changes and being able to make your own changes when necessary. Life doesn’t follow a script, and neither does therapy.
I may have more reflections after final grades are posted. 😉