Happy Graduation

June 15, 2015 by  

For many years, I taught wonderful graduate students. First, at the Chicago School when it was small and everyone knew each other, and then in Counseling Psychology at Northwestern. It was wonderful – the students were bright, sincere, and ready to change the world. Unfortunately, these days the world of psychology is changing, not always for the better. Jobs are harder to find; having a first rate practice is much harder to maintain.

To graduates in psychology, new and old, Stay with it! Good Luck! You chose a field that will be endlessly interesting (and humbling). Here is one of the many cartoons that I created for my book (with Charlie Waehler) “What Do I Say?: The Therapist’s Guide for Answering Questions.” This one never made it into the book but did get into the discussion guide.

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4 Tips To Take You From Grad School To Real Life

July 1, 2013 by  

Since many people are finishing up graduate programs this month (and I still dream/have nightmares about my own graduate education), I thought that I would share some thoughts on the transition from grad school to employment in the real world.

Initial years of employment for professionals tend to be stressful with reports of stress, frustration, anxiety and disappointment. There is a big discrepancy between the hopes/expectations of work and the real world of work. Most grad students have not been socialized to fit into workplace organizations.dreamstimefree_741620 pencils

1.  Graduate students often relocate upon completion of their degree. The MYTH: I will feel settled once I unpack. REALITY: Geographic relocation, settling in, leaving friends and starting over produces strain. ANSWER: Be realistic about the impact of your move, your job, and your life changes.

2.  New professionals are thrown into organizations. The MYTH: People will welcome me and I will be accepted. REALITY: Don’t count on it. You may find competition and a slow adjustment to you. ANSWER: Give people a chance; they may have lost a colleague; you may be unsettling to the status quo; they are busy so, let them get to know you. You need to stay in touch with your support systems.

3.  New professionals want to get going and show what they know. The MYTH: I won’t be an apprentice. REALITY: You are a subordinate to many people in the organization. ANSWER: Take your time and learn the ropes; cultivate inter-dependence rather than pure independence.

4.  New professionals often struggle with the ‘impostor syndrome’. MYTH: I have to be an expert; I have to be perfect. REALITY: No one expects you to be perfect; it is only you who is applying intense pressure.  ANSWER: Accept your unique strengths and weaknesses.

Source: Is there life after graduate school? S. Olson et al. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice V 17 #5: 415-419, 1986.

Someday, you may want to read and write again. Start with my mystery novel.

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