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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Help(less)!

Do you ever feel helpless?

I will admit I have serious control issues, when I do not feel in control of something I become extremely anxious. If I also feel helpless I become terrified.

That's kind of how I've been feeling about school/my future lately.

Aside from completing my practicum, I also need to write a Master Case Presentation (i.e. case study/mini-thesis) in order to graduate. It is due 2 weeks after I complete my practicum.

I put off thinking about my MCP altogether until a few weeks ago. I was actually pleased with myself for procrastinating. You see, last year when I did the cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), one of the things I worked on with the psychologist was the obsessive tendencies I had developed with my school work. I had gotten myself to the point where I experienced extreme anxiety unless ALL my work was completed. This meant that I was forcing myself to work further and further ahead until I had finished assignments due weeks or months later. So being able to procrastinate on this is actually a sign of progress for me.

Unfortunately, events of this week now have me filled with anxiety and doubt.

You see, I am actually sort of at a disadvantage for doing the MCP because of the nature of my placements. You need to pick a client for your case study that you have seen 5+ times so you have enough material. But at the fertility clinic, we mostly see clients once - since it is mandatory that anyone doing IVF or any third party treatments (sperm donation, egg donation or surrogacy). This means I likely have to do a multiple case study, using a series of clients that have a similar issue that is of interest to me.

At my other placement, as of yet, I have not had a client present with a problem that is of interest to me or is really well-suited for the MCP.

I decided I wanted to investigate the link between trauma and infertility. I have been overwhelmed by the number of patients we have seen who have some sort of trauma in their past that interferred with their childbearing through one of many avenues: inability to have emotional or sexual intimacy, lack of confidence in parenting, etc.

I spent the past 2 weeks doing extensive research and literature reviews for this project. Then, however, I found out that one of the requirements for the MCP is that you were the sole counsellor for the clients you choose. Unfortunately, most of the work I have done at the fertility clinic has been co-counselling with my supervisor. I am doing more and more solo sessions, however, only a fraction of these include cases where trauma was involved. My original idea is not going to work and all that research I did was for nought.

At the other clinic I have a new client with a history of serious trauma who would be perfect to use but she has cancelled the last 2 appointments we had set up, so I am not confident she will stick with it for enough sessions to make her an appropriate choice.

So now I'm stuck. I can't really do any more work on my MCP until I figure out what I am going to do and time is TICKING AWAY.

I have already been worrying about how things are going to play out once I graduate and this is only heightening my anxiety.

I am a very independent, self-reliant person and I have been since I was very young. I have worked hard to reach my goals and have always been resourceful in terms of finding ways to support myself financially. Yet each time I am at a transition point in my life such as this one, I become terrified of failure and start feeling utterly helpless and hopeless. Like the only way I will succeed is if someone swoops down to save me or if there is a miracle involved.

And the negative self-talk starts:

"I can't start my own practice, how am I ever going to get clients?"

"If I don't start my own practice, I am going to have to get a job. But every counselling job I see requires more years of experience and/or different areas of expertise."

"The only jobs I'm qualified for are still research jobs, I'm going to have to go back to doing research and being miserable."

"I will now be the official biggest loser on the planet: I will have a BA, two Masters degrees and a PhD and I STILL can't find myself a fulfilling career!"

"If only I had made different choices early on (gone to med school, majored in psychology in my undergrad and done a PhD in clinical psychology, etc.), I would have a well-established, lucrative career now and could better support my family."

Someone, help me please!

Now add to this wallowing my anxiety over even completing my degree because of this whole mess with my MCP and you have one pathetic bag of anxiety (that would be me, of course).

But I don't really expect to win a lottery or receive a call from someone with an offer for the perfect job. I know I've got to pull myself up by my boot straps (sandal straps, actually), and make this happen.

So I have put aside work on my MCP again (since as Adam reminded me, I have no choice anyways. Period.), and instead have turned my attention to my new love (actually an old love that has been reignited): art. More on that later!

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