June 24th (“The only thing we have to fear…”)

I was terrified of becoming a counselor.

Which is ironic, since that’s the graduate degree I’ve pursued since 2010.

But when my pre-practicum counseling course came, I had to face my fear of the counselor’s chair.

ImageWell, sure, it was a “pretend” counselor’s chair. The role plays that we did in class weren’t with actual clients yet. But I did have to sit there, with professor and classmates looking on, and try my best to be a counselor.

I was scared my best wasn’t good enough.

I made it through the introductory lectures fine, but when the night for role play came, I was curled up in my bed, in the dark, escaping through tearful sleep. I finally withdrew from the class.

I signed up for the same pre-practicum course again this summer.

I fought hard. I saw a counselor myself and worked through fears of criticism. I examined my irrational expectations of perfection. I practiced short role plays with my counselor (boy, was that a switch). And when I was afraid, my counselor asked me to remember why I wanted to do this.

I want to help people.

Mentally, I prepared and prepared. I could do this. I would not be perfect, but my little “failures” would grow and strengthen me as a counselor. I would learn. It was part of it. I would embrace it.

I wanted to be a counselor.

On June 24th, I made it through my first role play.

I still have more role plays to come. I still have my first session as a counselor with an actual client. Do I have a few lingering fears? A few tingling nerves? Yes. But come on. I want to get to that other side.

People have “role plays” to face. Maybe I can help some of them find their June 24th.

What “role play” do you face? When will your June 24th be?

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6 thoughts on “June 24th (“The only thing we have to fear…”)

  1. When I first started Chaplaincy, especially my first few visits I was so nervous. What would I talk about? But then I learned over time to take pressure off of myself. Sure, you have a few questions in your pocket to prime the pump but a lot of it is listening and reflecting what the patient is saying, going deeper, helping to facilitate their thoughts and also communication between them and other family at times.

    I also had another when I presented my first visit on paper, known as a Verbatim. But ours is not just the visit but write ups analyzing what we did, why, and what was going on with us on the inside. I kept thinking people were going to “bring the hammer” on me. I did get criticisms but it was not so bad.

    My last break through was probably being really open with my peer group during my clinical residency about inner stuff… stuff about me personally with weight, dating, family, anxiety, and my want for peace/desire to run from conflict. But what was great is when I was vulnerable, I actually grew. I grew in ways I could never have grown if I had kept it all inside (or even if I had just written about it).

    • It definitely takes courage to put ourselves in some of these “helping” professions. But it feels so great when we’re brave–then we can forget our fears and help the people in front of us. Our vulnerability can be a great tool as well, for personal growth and connection with the people we minister to.

  2. Katy, you inspire me! I love that you are stepping out and trusting Jesus as you live as the amazing person He created You to be. I have often let fear stop me from trying something new, something challenging. It is a battle here to choose- do I attempt to speak in a language that is not my own, knowing that I WILL mess up and probably say something really embarrasing, or do I stay safe and just listen, stay in my apartment where I can speak English and fully understand? I have a longs ways to go, but I getting there. I made a phone call in Khmer the other day which was super scary- but kind of like my June 24th!! :)
    ~ Sarah

    • Aw, thanks so much Sarah! What a kind comment. It is definitely challenging to step through our fears, and your use of the word “battle” is very appropriate. I’m proud of you, because I know how hard it is with unfamiliar languages! I’m so very proud of all you’re doing. And way to go with the call in Khmer! Sounds like cause for celebration. :) Blessings!

  3. “People have “role plays” to face. Maybe I can help some of them find their June 24th.”

    I love how you did that. I love your heart, friend, as well as your spirit and determination. I’m so proud of you for choosing to “battle”!

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