How I Became a Therapist
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Here’s my personal story on how I became a therapist.
I remember being in high school taking an Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology class and falling in love with it all. Learning what shapes people into who they are and why they do what they do was fascinating. It still is! From there, I thought I may go into Physical Therapy. I completely bombed my first biology class and knew I needed a switch. I changed my major to Psychology and knew I found my people.
In a few years I finished my Bachelor’s in Psychology at Kennesaw State University and applied to a Master’s program in Social Work. I wasn’t accepted due to a lack of experience at the time. It was disheartening at first. Then, I figured I would go find experience and it felt like a challenge. I then moved to Montana to work at a therapeutic boarding school for teen girls. This boarding school was a wonderful opportunity to figure out if I liked the population I wanted to work with, turns out they’re some of my favorite types of clients. I considered this a post undergraduate internship with mentoring the teens and assisting them in their therapy homework. I also experienced an episode of depression where I felt homesick.
Then I moved back to Georgia to be closer to family and apply to graduate school for clinical mental health counseling at University of North Georgia. Luckily I got in after a long set of group interviews. In the meantime, I balanced a part time job and volunteered for Crisis Text Line. This was hands down the experience that prepared me the most for being a therapist. I learned how to help someone regulate their emotions in distressing moments, provide resources, and mostly be a listening ear when someone needed it most.
I started grad school in August 2016 and the program lasted for 3 years. I’m grateful for all I learned and the people I met in my program. The classes were tough, there was a mix of research papers, literature reviews, and self reflection papers. I don’t think I had ever thought so much about my past and inner life, ever. My classmates and I had a Facebook group to keep up with one another, ask questions, and plan get togethers. It’s likely how we kept up in all our classes and our sanity through grad school. I also worked at a community mental health agency with low income individuals helping with addiction services and psychosocial rehabilitation. It was easily the hardest job of my life and I learned quickly that private practice was the route for me.
The last of year of grad school included a practicum and two semesters of internship. I completed that time in a group private practice, my dream internship spot. It was hard work learning the ropes in how to build a case load, market to clients, gain referral sources and understand how a private practice works. Graduation in May 2019 came quickly and I was grateful to be hired on at the group private practice I had interned with.
I’ve now been in private practice since May 2019 and learned so much about myself, the populations I like to work with, the business side of things and gained confidence in myself as a therapist. I had major imposter syndrome in the beginning and still have moments of doubt. No one is perfect and I try to remind myself of this daily.
My eventual plan is to own my own private practice and offer internships to grad students finishing up their program. I also currently offer social media and psychotherapy assistant internships to undergraduate students because I know just how difficult it is to find any experience in the mental health field before attending grad school.
Update: I opened my private practice in September 2022 and am hiring fully licensed clinicians to join my team.
Have more questions about my story? Want to work with me to have the best application possible to grad school? Let’s work together!
To learn more about how we can work together, contact me.
Want to read more? Here are a few of my related blog posts you may be interested in checking out!
– “10 Steps to Find a Great Therapist”
– “10 Tips For New Therapists”