Friday, August 31, 2012

Office Dress Code: and other lies they tell you

Two weeks of training completed.
Tuesday I'll see my first clients at a practicum  site completely unrelated to my school.
It's not as though the client's I saw through my school's clinic were not real.
They were people, with real, chronic, serious issues.
The practicum itself, however, was not so real.
It had ridiculous expectations, limitations, rules and requirements that I am quickly finding out...have nothing to do with how things work in actual organizations.
What I will say, is that my school clinic over-prepared me...which I suppose is much better than the reverse of that.
It over-prepared my ideas about therapy sessions, dress code requirements, procedures, paperwork, etc.
The dress code alone is one of the things I find the most comical. at my school clinic there were so many restrictions, fabric and length requirements and overall appearance rules...and then I get to my new site, where people are wearing denim and sneakers and I'm damn near in a pants suit.  
I am quite surprised how at ease I actually feel about this new practicum of mine.
There are quite a number of reasons it should scare me and I should be incredibly worried:
  • It is working with substance abuse issues
  • It is at a methadone clinic
  • There is an element of mandated treatment (which gives you quite a bit of resistance from clients)
  • I'm going from my prior caseload of 2 clients to (currently) 6 but that number will be 10-15 within the next month.
Despite all of that, I am surprisingly calm about it all. I mean, don't get me wrong. I am not completely calm, there definitely exists a level of anxiety and worry, but it is what I would call a "healthy" or "appropriate" amount given the circumstances.
Mostly I am just excited to be getting more experience and to get into the swing of things. I know there are elements such as paper work and assessments that will need to be done that will be tedious and overwhelming, but for now I'm more or less looking forward to it.
My school's clinic felt like there was so many limitations it was hard to actually accomplish much.
This new site, from what I can tell so far, is much more open and flexible in terms of giving me the reins and allowing me to make treatment decisions.
I suppose had I not gone through everything I did with my school clinic, I would not be so ready and willing to make all those decisions that have now been placed on my lap though.
It just feels good to be taking the next step.
It feels like I'm actually out in the real world, working toward something bigger than myself and my school.

I'm actually curious to see how I react to this experience of working at a methadone clinic.
I'm sure there are going to be many stressful times ahead, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it impacts me, in what ways I end up growing as a clinician and as a person in general.

Although, I haven't seen a client there yet, so this could all go out the window once that occurs and I realize what I'm actually in for!
For now, I will just remain optimistic about this experience and use it as an opportunity to learn and grow in any way that it may allow me to.

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