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🕎Blognukkah Day 5 & 6: “Am I Good at My Job”, Cooking Adventures, & Gun Scare

Hi friends. I’m a bit behind on Blognukkah due to work, school, and a healthy dose of burnout, if I’m honest. But writing is meant for processing things, so here goes. 

Monday

Monday was busy– which one isn’t? Monday is also quieter because it’s just one other intern and me at practicum. We cranked out some reports in the early hours of the morning. Then, I had a therapy patient, which I did by phone call. It’s a unique way of doing therapy, to be sure, but I am mindful of a) gas being expensive and b) the long distance that patients often have to drive to see me. Also, c) my population is patients with chronic pain, which makes it doubly difficult for them to drive to me. 

I recently had an identity crisis as a therapist because cognitive behavioral therapy (the modality that I practice) suggests that a therapist should be like a teacher. Yet, the clients that like me the most are the clients who spend 90% of the session just venting. I typically have time for (1!) intervention, which feels to me like they’re not getting their money’s worth. I also do a lot of reflective listening (“Sounds like you are feeling sad because of X, and Y certainly isn’t making it easier”). 

Not only did those patients like me more, but the scales I gave them each week suggested that their symptoms were improving. I just couldn’t figure out why. My friend suggested that maybe the patients were using the few interventions I had time to teach. And my reflective listening could be helping them find their own solutions. So, the next time my patient solved a problem well, I asked them what they did right in the moment. I was stunned to realize that they were implementing everything we talked about and more, all on their own. I felt extremely proud of them. 

I decided not to fix what wasn’t broken. Haha. 

After that, I wrote up the clinical note and caught up on a few other notes. In the afternoon, I did neuropsychological testing for a patient. Throughout the day, the other intern and I were also answering the phone to schedule patients and finishing reports. I felt kind of drained? sad? by the end. I couldn’t identify the feeling, just that it was negative. Like a true therapist, I tried to work backwards. “What were you thinking about right before you realized that you were sad?” I was thinking about the week ahead, and about the assignments I had to do on Tuesday. So maybe the feeling was burnout. I was unsure. 

I went straight to the gym after practicum. I consider the gym like an adult playground. It is noisy, full of equipment, and you often have to take turns. But, like at a playground, people mostly have fun. I went to the stairmaster, which is my go-to for when I don’t want to think about my workout. I lifted some weights.

Did you really go to the gym if you didn’t take a picture?

I came home and worked on my dissertation. I had to kind of make myself do that, but in the end, I was happy I did. My dissertation chair left me really helpful edits. He was very thorough and although he said it was a great first draft, there were a few things I had to do beyond just grammar (finding another article here and there). After this, I will officially have 3 chapters.

My mom and stepdad were having a movie night. I made myself dinner. It was a cozy evening.

Tuesday night

Hello hello friends! I had a funny night of sleep– I woke up at 5:30 am, then went back to sleep, then woke up due to a garbage truck coming at 6 am (“I’m so glad that’s not my job,” I thought, groggily), and then finally woke up for good right before 8 am. 

One of the best things about my practicum site is the espresso machine, which I dearly missed today. I made myself some instant coffee instead. I’m at practicum three days a week, and for the other two days, I have school. However, classes are over, and all I have left are a few assignments before I’m officially done. All I wanted to do was nothing. This was compounded by the fact that one of our professors said, and I quote: “You can’t work through burnout. You just have to take a break.” 

A break is around the corner for me. My supervisor is giving us two! whole weeks off in December. Unfortunately, I had to request a third because Christmas break is too expensive for airplane tickets. He suggested that I can make that up by finishing all of the reports that the rest of the practicum students leave behind if we do end up with a backlog. Which is okay– I’m very self motivated, I know I could get those done fast. 

Therefore, all I have to do is push through this week, next week, and the backlog of reports. Before I know it, I’ll be on a break. 

With that in mind, I got myself out of hibernation mode and went to the gym. I’ve been exercising for the past five years, but over those five years, my goals shifted from “how skinny can I get?” to “let’s just maintain what we have” to “what if I try to get stronger?” 

For the first time in at least a year, I didn’t do any cardio at the gym. Instead, I did a very intense leg day workout. I got really excited about planning my exercise. So, if you guys are in a rut with your exercise, this is your sign to change it up somehow! 

Then, I made lunch, as well as enough lunch for tomorrow. I tried to recreate the meal from the Thai place I went to this past Saturday night. Then, I took myself to the library for several hours and finished a long assignment.

A few hours into my studying, there were two loud, terrifying sounds that sounded like gunshots. The entire library almost seemed to shake. The sound was loud enough to break my reverie. It even drowned out Taylor Swift, whose voice played merrily from my headphones. Everyone looked up. “What was that?” I mouthed, to the girl at the table across from me. She shrugged. For one terrifying moment, I wondered what the hell to do if one is in a situation with a shooter. Hide? Flee? I packed my things as fast as I could. When it comes to fight or flight, I always choose flight. There was a police officer at the library. Bless our police officers, honestly, because instead of running (as we all were preparing to do), he stayed. He inspected the library and we concluded that the sound had to have come from outside (were there gunshots in the neighborhood? Who knows).

Well, I took that as my sign to go home anyway. I was just thankful that everyone was fine. Came home and wanted to be a vegetable again, but decided that I should probably do my dissertation. I took a break to write this blog post. That brings us up to date. 

Thank you for reading! I will write again tomorrow 🙂

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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!

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