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A Week in My Life: Seeing Clients, Writing Dissertation, and Long Distance Relationship

Hi friends! I’m back with another week in my life.

Sunday

Sunday started dismally because it was a fast day. The fast day marks a sad day in Jewish history. I fasted half day, and my boyfriend did a half day fast in solidarity. We went to a botanical garden, starving, but not so much so that we couldn’t appreciate the gorgeous scenery.

Afterward, we went to a coffee shop, where he studied (I learned that med students basically study nonstop) and I did some reports.

I think the med school curriculum is really interesting. There’s some overlap between our schooling. For example, I have to know about chromosomal abnormalities because people with an extra Y chromosome are statistically more likely to have Autism.

I drove home later at night. The drive was my little pocket of solitude for the day. I spent the drive singing along to the country music station and trying not to panic on the freeway (lol).

Monday

I’m at a new practicum site. We do assessments and therapy there. I start at 8 am. My Monday schedule was super hectic. I did a bariatric evaluation, two mini mental status exams, then typed up the bariatric evaluation and scored all of the assessments before noon. Bariatric evaluations are also tricky for another reason. You have to get comfortable asking people tough questions. For example: “are you disgusted with your eating habits?” “Does obesity run in your family?”. I respect all people, regardless of what they look like, and the only way I was able to ask such questions was by reminding myself that the patient wants this surgery. There’s even a bit where I have to say “if you are here because you want to look good in a bikini, insurance will say that the surgery is not a medical necessity. How has obesity impacted your health?”.

This practicum site also has us running the phones and scheduling patients, so I get to learn how a private practice works. Then I did a case formulation for another client and finished revising her history. It was hectic but fun. I was exhausted by the end.

Tuesday

Tuesdays and Thursdays are for work and  dissertation. However, on this particular Tuesday, I ended up doing not that much work. Instead, I started daydreaming about the UCLA autism site for next year practicum. “What will I wear to the interview?” I wondered, and thus commenced my search for a pencil skirt.

I thrifted these vintage Espirit shoes, which I thoroughly disinfected, for $2. And my skirt was $1!

Not that I have an interview or anything. Not that UCLA’s autism site even knows I exist yet. But someday they will! I also went to a workout class that night.

Wednesday

My practicum site doubles as a medical facility, and I always tell myself that the stairs are for the able bodied, while the elevator is for patients. Well, after yesterday’s workout, my sore legs could only handle the elevator!

I did a therapy session with a new client. We talked for about an hour, and he told me that he prefers a psychodynamic approach. That was exciting, because we often steer toward CBT at this site. There is a section for patients to evaluate the therapy session. Little did I know that this section would turn into a minor ego boost 😂. My patient wrote that I was empathetic, and that it was a very good session. I felt really happy that I did a good job.

I also finished a case formulation for a client, but I felt very blind going into the process because there was no template for how to do one.

Hopefully my supervisor will help me revise it. After practicum, I went to a cycling class. I wore my new favorite workout top.

It has a built in bra. It was originally a swim top, which means that it’s great at resisting the sweatiness typical of cycling.

My face looked like a tomato after that class, which is how you know it was a good one.

Thursday

Today, I dropped my brother off at his bus station. I asked him to take my bag of free clothes there and leave it for the homeless people. “Did anyone take my clothes?” I texted him. He said that he immediately saw one of the food truck workers take it, which made me happy. Maybe they needed it for their family.

I went to a nearby coffee shop and ordered 1 coffee but somehow got 2.

I worked on my dissertation there for 2.5 hours and then an incident made me angry enough to leave. There was only one outlet in the shop. Some guy put his stuff on the table, “reserving” it for himself. So I plugged my computer into the wall, balancing it precariously. His girlfriend arrived halfway through and stepped on my charger. My laptop clattered to the floor. Instead of apologizing, the guy started telling me how it was my fault for plugging my laptop in like that. “This is the only outlet in the shop!” I said, examining my poor laptop.

The guy could’ve moved his stuff to make space for others who needed the outlet. Or, at the least, his girlfriend could’ve said sorry for stepping on my stuff? I gritted my teeth. I realized I was too mad to sit by them and get much more work done, so I headed home. Luckily, I had something really exciting to look forward to. I was going to be watching an autism assessment!

The assessment went really well. The boy was a confident and social kid who very apparently did not have autism. But even more than watching the evaluation, it was incredible to watch my mom in her element. Everything about the assessment said “I’m an expert”, from the way that she asked many questions from memory to the play scenario that she made up on the spot. I felt immense pride for my mom, especially knowing that she created all of this success on her own as a first generation immigrant.

Friday

I was at my former practicum site today, where I have a commitment until August 30th. The interns and I all collaborated to buy gift cards and sign cards for the staff members who mentored us. “Do you want to do the talking, or should I?” K asked. K is very well-spoken and a superstar therapist. “Definitely you,” I said, feeling weirdly nervous. I knew the staff members would appreciate this, I just wasn’t sure exactly how to voice our gratitude. We need not have worried. They were so touched by our gesture that one of them actually cried. They said to reach out if we ever had questions in future years about career-related things.

On my schedule were two therapy sessions. In one of them, we discussed logotherapy. Victor Frankl, a psychiatrist, pioneered logo therapy when he was in a concentration camp during WW2. To keep himself from becoming depressed, he sought out meaningful activities and meaningful people. He spent the time thinking about his wife or writing his book. My patient and I came up with a list of meaningful activities and meaningful people for him to engage with, in order to minimize his depression.

I wore a variation of this outfit. Picture the top with a white camisole underneath (for modesty), no hoops, and hair down (to make me look older, hopefully).

After my two sessions, I had a phone call with my supervisor. I asked him if we could do supervision by phone because I, ever the multi-tasker, wanted to be able to drive to my grandparents’ house. And so I did. As I was leaving the car, trying to finagle all of my belongings into both hands, disaster struck. My pencil skirt split right down the middle.

Rest In Peace.

I was so thankful to God, the universe, and all else above for not making my skirt split during, I don’t know, a session with one of my male clients? Seriously, what a close call. Note to self: cut down on the squats. Thankfully, because I thrift a lot of my clothes, I am not too upset if something happens to one of the pieces. After all, each clothing item only costs about a dollar.

I changed into this outfit to mark my transition to a restful weekend:

Then, I went to the library, where I stocked up on books. My favorites that I read on Saturday were: 1) November 9 by Colleen Hoover, and 2) Confess by Colleen Hoover. I also read “The Secret Lives of Cheating Wives” which left me feeling sad and disillusioned. Don’t recommend that one. Then, I had about an hour of client notes to do. And that sums up my week!

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Published by adventuresofagradgirl.wordpress.com

Hi everyone! I started my doctorate in clinical psychology in fall 2020. A google search revealed that there are no current grad school blogs for psychology students. Anyway, I happen to know a girl who wants to document her journey to getting a doctorate (spoiler: it's me). Welcome. Hope you stay awhile!

2 thoughts on “A Week in My Life: Seeing Clients, Writing Dissertation, and Long Distance Relationship

  1. Your man is in med school?! That is amazing! So neat that some of your studies overlap, too! I am with ya on not being too upset if something gets ruined when it was thrifted in the first place. So glad your skirt didn’t split during a session, though! That would have been one for the books, LOL.

    I am so impressed by your mom! I want to hear more about her!!

    Like

    1. He is! I’m very proud of him!
      Haha, I agree– it would’ve been mortifying if my skirt ripped like that. Not even sure that I’d have a chance to change.
      Thank you, I look up to my mom so much ❤️ one time a professor commented that I talk about her a lot instead of talking about my own clinical experience, lol. But I can’t help being impressed by her!

      Like

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