When I stepped upon my Pagan Path in the early 90's, I had no idea where it would lead. My first glimpse of Paganism was actually in the 80's, when RaeLynn, a beautiful dyke I still think of fondly and much regret, had several powerful gifts. She called herself a witch, and at the time I didn't have the vocabulary to inquire about her training or former community. We were in grad school at Southern Illinois at Carbondale. I still had dreams of becoming an English professor. She was getting a terminal degree in Creative Writing (try finding a job that will support; sigh). One late evening we went to the local state park, hiking to the top of ridge. In a private nook I played lookout (with many glances over my shoulder as she was a beautiful woman), as she took her shirt off and blessed herself in the streaming moonlight. She was beautiful.
Several years later I found my way to the metaphysical bookstore that hosted my first circle (click here for the back story). I became Weaver, later Grace, and finally Grace DreamWeaver. My path to my third degree coincided with taking Pastoral Therapy as I began my journal as a student in Marriage and Family Therapy. Now I work as a substance abuse counselor, have graduated, am a Marriage and Family Therapy Intern (LMFT-I isn't as grand as it might be when you print 50+ case notes every month to be filed, in addition to assorted Dr orders, etc and sign it to everyone...it takes more time! LOL). It takes two years and 1500 clinical hours to become a full fledged therapist, including 150 hours of supervision. Today will make 40 hours of that count and yesterday was my first day of supervision.
With the right supervisor, I love supervision. I had four different supervisors in the program and one who was not useful. I dodged the not useful one as an intern by switching my service to Safe Homes/Rape Crisis Coalition and offering service for supervision. The supervisor is in still in process herself of completing the requirements to be a full fledged supervisor. She's also a former professor; I don't know which one of us is more excited to have formed the professional relationship: )
While I am totally jazzed about where I will be volunteering my time, it has also hit me like a ton of bricks. The shift of plan to Safe Homes only happened over the last month, so I didn't really process what that would mean to my doing therapy. Yesterday, I got the wake up call. My supervisor and I role played an intake so I could see how she does it. Intakes vary by clinic, and while ask about sexual, physical and emotional abuse, it's a little different at Safe Homes. And it really impacted me -- all I could think was "Oh man! What was I thinking?!" I'm listening to a therapist preparing for court. I hear another on the phone doing an intake and talking about restraining orders. We talk about being mandated reporters and role play info that would require a report. Oh boy...
I went home thinking, "What have I gotten myself into?" The first a report I made on a client; a co-therapist called based on the information provided by a child. I lost my client, of course. The other time I reported was a neighbor/trailer park manager who was allowing drug dealers to take over the neighborhood and pimping her teen/adolescent daughters out for food and drugs. No matter how badly the call needs to be made, it's always hard.
Now, I won't be seeing the crisis clients at the shelter. I will be seeing clients who request therapy or are referred to therapy by DSS or SADAC. Most will be working through issues when they were kids or in a prior relationship. Nevertheless, the clients and their potential stories really hit me hard. I guess it got real. In a way, my reaction is kind of silly. Rarely do my clients at work not have these same histories. Abuse can lead to substance abuse to cope with the past. Nevertheless, Cameron and I spent some time last night processing this next step in my career and in my calling.