Happy New Year!!! Bring on 2012!!!by Dawn Womack on 01/01/12
Happy New Year!!! I am so excited that 2012 is here and all that it will bring with it! I received my LCSW license on 11/28/11 and spent the month of December getting things set up to start a private practice in the afternoons/evenings working mostly with children and adolescents. I have no intentions of leaving my day job because I love my job and the kids I work with, but want to try my hand at private practice. I am in my 5th year as a school counselor working mostly in a middle school in an impoverished community and the students there have a hold on my heart, so no thoughts of leaving my job...just adding something else!
It has been a long time coming for this day to finally get here that I can "hang my shingle" and start my own practice. There are several reasons I enjoy working with kids who have problems, but the main one is that I was a kid who had problems. After a series of poor decisions, I dropped out of school at 16, earned a GED at 19, started college at 24, and graduated college at 39. I started working on my master's degree right after earning my bachelor's degree and finished at 41 years old in 2007. In order to have a private practice, I had to work over 5,000 hours to be eligible to sit for the LCSW exam with more than 3,000 of those hours being supervised by an LCSW. Here I am, 4 1/2 years later, and i'm finally there!
It's difficult to find high school drop-outs or GED recipients with master's degrees, but i'm living proof that it can be done. I strive to push the kids I work with to stay in school, no matter how old they are, because they can make it through, no matter what obstacles in their lives are trying to hold them back. While dropping out seems to be the answer for a lot of teenagers, it really only increases the problems they are having, and then adds additional ones. Once you have to work, raise kids, pay bills, etc., finding the time, money, and energy for school is sometimes impossible.
I am officially beginning my practice on January 2nd and already have 2 clients scheduled for my first week! With 2 more waiting to schedule appointments. This is such an exciting time for me and I just wanted to share my excitement with my readers! I would also like to say thank you to all of my family and friends who have supported me in multiple ways throughout my life and especially over the last few years. I couldn't have done it without any of you, and especially couldn't have done it without my wonderful husband, Walter. I surely couldn't have and wouldn't have gone down this path without the experiences gained from my students at school who have taught me a whole lot more than I have taught them over the last 5 years.
I never set goals for myself as a teenager/young adult and that is because I never believed that I could reach them. Now, I know that I can and I push myself to set new goals and push the kids I work with to do the same. Sometimes it is just a daily goal - what are you going to accomplish today?? In my office at school, I have a bulletin board with my students' behavior goal for the month listed on it. It keeps them focused on what they are trying to change or accomplish for themselves. We update it each month...sometimes it needs to stay the same because the goal hasn't been reached, and sometimes they are ready for the next goal, once the current one has been accomplished. Sometimes it is a longer-term goal, but it's incredible to help kids see that they can reach their goals. Can you imagine asking a teenager what they want to be when they grow up, and then find out nobody has ever asked them that before? And they've never thought about it before? That is my favorite part about working with my students and clients -seeing them figure out who they are and what they want to do with their lives. Without goals, you really have no reason to try.
So here we are in a new year, 2012! Set your goals and strive to meet them! Leave a comment and tell us what your goals are!!
Happy New Year!!!