A Change of Perspective

It’s only April but I am beginning to think about graduation and what my life will be like after leaving the beautiful USD campus. About a month ago I started thinking a lot about finding a job after graduation and about leaving school; it’s a scary thought since I have been in school for 19 years, almost my whole life. Recently, I got an email from Dr. Edwards with an invitation to a workshop titled What to Expect After Graduation. The attached flyer was from two licensed MFT’s and it read: “Simply put, we were once about to graduate from our MFT programs and had no idea what to expect!  We’d like to support you – our upcoming graduates – as you join our mental health community”. I was so excited and grateful to receive this email. Although the faculty had provided information about job hunting after graduation, I was excited about the opportunity to attend an entire workshop dedicated to the topic. I was especially excited that recent graduates from MFT programs in San Diego would be providing the information because I believed they would be knowledgable, straightforward and honest (Good guess on my part, because they absolutely were!).
The two licensed MFT’s, Anne Marie and Lisa, held the workshop at their private practice, Healing Path San Diego Therapy Services. Their office was beautiful and provided a calm, comfortable atmosphere for the anxiety-provoking topic. As I arrived at the workshop and sat in my seat I thought about what I wanted to get out of the morning. I wanted to learn about useful websites to search for jobs and about how to find supportive supervision after graduation. I definitely learned this information, but more importantly, I took home a new perspective that I have been carrying with me ever since. They asked us to enter into the workshop from a place of “giving” as opposed to “getting”. They explained that it is typical for soon-to-be graduates to feel anxious about how to pay bills and how to get a job and that this comes from a place of “what I can get.” Thinking in this survival mode puts us in a place of “I don’t have” and is a negative mindset. They suggested a different approach to the job search (and life in general) which is to come from a place of “what I can give”. This means thinking about our own strengths and experiences that we have to offer to a workplace and to our clients. This is coming from a place of abundance, which is much more positive. I became a therapist because I wanted to “give” to people so this resonated with me deeply.  I want to give clients hope, understanding, support, and a listening ear. This new perspective also allowed me to think about what I do have to offer potential employers and clients. I can offer my experience, a superb USD education, work with diverse clients at my practicum site, and my deep wish to help others find happiness and balance in their lives. The concept of “giving” versus “getting” has stuck with me since the workshop and I have tried to integrate this way of thinking into my personal and professional life and have found it to be immensely valuable and rewarding.
After leaving the workshop, I truly had a sense that I had made the right choice in entering the MFT field. Ann Marie and Lisa reminded me that my colleagues are people that are passionate about giving back and caring for others. I am excited to enter the field as a professional in a few short months and to see what I can give to the MFT community and my future clients!
Feel free to check Ann Marie Smith and Lisa Maley’s practice: Healing Path San Diego Therapy Services at  www.healingpathsd.com

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