Decide what to be and go be it...

Nikki. 24. I am a rural social worker, just graduated with my MSW, about to begin working as a mental health professional in a therapeutic day care. My heart belongs to mental health, community based non-profit, play therapy, the gym, aaaaand my husband. My intentions are mostly pure. Striving to find balance in the craziness that is my life.
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Sandtray workshop today..learned quite a bit about myself and my colleagues. Even therapists need help dealing with our issues sometimes, and that’s ok. Oh, the power of play!

So. I love love love my new job. But, and there is a HUGE but, there’s a little thing called “managed care” that guides every aspect of the work that I do. I know that it has been harped on and harped on throughout grad school, but working in the non-profit sector, I was able to avoid most of the ridiculousness. Now, I truly want to make a difference with these profoundly troubled kids, but my hands are tied in every aspect. I have to bill a certain amount of units per child per day, regardless of whether quality of care is affected. I have to bill pretty much every second that I am at the clinic, not taking any sort of lunch break/self care/breathing time, to make productivity (36 units a day..or for those not intimately familiar with units..roughly 9 billable hours) or I could lose my job. And we are limited even to the type of therapy we can provide. We are forced to use only cognitive behavioral therapy, which is great but not appropriate for all children and all diagnoses, but that is what Medicaid will pay for because it is intended to be a brief treatment modality (yeah right). So, I’m just a little dissatisfied at the work that I’m Doing and the level of care that I am providing to these children when I am told to focus on the numbers and doing my documentation in session and all kinds of other crap. It’s just not fair to the children. I miss private practice where I could do whatever the hell I wanted and what was actually the most appropriate and effective treatment for the individual. More than anything, I miss play therapy :(. Anyway, I guess my goal will be to just provide the best services and therapeutic environment as i can for the kids and work on building relationships regardless of what I can bill and hope that I don’t get fired! Wish me luck!

So this is my last full day at the job I’ve worked for nearly 3 years.. It’s going to be super busy with home visits and meetings, so I decided to go to hot yoga at 5:30am to get mentally and physically prepared. Not the best idea I’ve ever had…hot yoga is not a good look for me (see photo), and I’ve discovered that my body is not capable of movement that early in the morning.. Sigh. Now we know.

So this is my last full day at the job I’ve worked for nearly 3 years.. It’s going to be super busy with home visits and meetings, so I decided to go to hot yoga at 5:30am to get mentally and physically prepared. Not the best idea I’ve ever had…hot yoga is not a good look for me (see photo), and I’ve discovered that my body is not capable of movement that early in the morning.. Sigh. Now we know.

For my last session with a client today, we went for yogurt… Now I’m going to hot yoga to throw it all up…maybe ice cream was not such a great idea after all

We freakin did it, it’s done, over. I will never graduate again. Praise Buddha, baby Jesus, Vishnu, president Obama, Cthulhu and any other entity you are so inclined, I now have a masters degree. Boo-yes.

We freakin did it, it’s done, over. I will never graduate again. Praise Buddha, baby Jesus, Vishnu, president Obama, Cthulhu and any other entity you are so inclined, I now have a masters degree. Boo-yes.

The girls at work surprised me with a graduation/new job gift of two pairs of scrubs, since that is the only thing I can wear at my new office! They know me so well, hello kitty is my fav!! Loooooove!

Picked up my super awesome academic hood for graduation on saturday! Masters degree, check. Dream job, check. World domination, working on it. We seriously needed some good karma to come our way after the horrendous last two months. Our family has been turned upside down and sideways after monumental loss, and I feel like we are finally beginning to turn that corner. After all the responsibility, the pressure, and just shit that has been thrust into our laps, I am so…ready for this.

Listening with the intent of understanding is one of the most important tools for any therapist; this is especially true for therapists working with children.
VanFleet, Sywulak, & Sniscak (2010)
Hmg health expo today with work..we are so serious

Hmg health expo today with work..we are so serious

I know it’s heavy, I know it ain’t light, but how ya gonna lift it with your arms folded tight?
Arcade Fire

What a table looks like at a play therapy conference, lol

Sand tray workshop tomorrow at AR Play Therapy Conference! I never really gave much thought to the sand tray experience, I just thought it was another play technique, no big deal. Wrong, mister. Sand tray is so comforting and empowering for children and adolescents and allows them a safe forum to express themselves and work out their issues using the only language they have, play. I have witnessed some amazing disclosures utilizing this method and I am SO excited about learning more about it and integrating it into my own practice. Therapy makes me excited :)

Learning all about neurobiology and trauma and the brain and why kids act and respond in various ways. SosoSO interesting. Officially the biggest nerd in the room.