Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wednesday is classy

Christina: I have never been to Amsterdam! I have heard it is a must-see place, though. How very cool!

Cassie: I'm glad to hear auditions are going well!

So. My JAB week. My last JAB week.

I'm not sure what to write about!

So I guess I'll write about my classes and how they're going so far.

I should preface: 75% of my classes this semester are taught by the same professor, Dr. N. The remaining class is taught by Dr. E. I'm not sure why that was important to say at the get-go, but I should also say that I am delighted to have, for the first time possibly ever, a professor in every class who actually knows the material. Whether he or she is an apt teacher of that material is almost (upcoming pun intended) immaterial; for once, they actually know what they're talking about. This is freaking unprecedented.

Okay. So. My classes.

On Mondays from 6:30 to 9:10, I have psychopathology with Dr. N. So far, this class is just a load of fun (for real). We get to learn about all sorts of mental disorders, how they're classified, how to start treating them, etc. Dr. N knows this stuff, and he is a very good teacher of it. And my classmates are pretty awesome, in that they also know a lot and are willing to discuss it. So it's pretty great.

On Wednesdays from 6:30 to 9:10, I have techniques of group counseling with Dr. E. Now, I'm not sure yet whether Dr. E will be an effective professor or try to treat class as an overgrown group therapy session, but this woman knows her group counseling. She actually likes--nay, prefers!--group counseling to individual counseling, which is relatively unheard of in this profession. And, at the very least, I find her enthusiasm contagious, and the texts are enlightening. It gets a bit old when she reads directly from the Word doc outline of notes (most of which consists of direct quotes from the reading anyway), but it is a good time to catch up on reading or Fruit Ninja on my iPad.

Thursday from 2:00 to 4:40 is psychopharmacology, again with Dr. N. This class is, broadly speaking, about psychotropic drugs (that is, drugs that affect the mind) and how they do what they do. It's hella intimidating. I'm hella glad I didn't go into pharmacy, as did some of my more ambitious friends. I'm enjoying it so far, and Dr. N is a good teacher of this material as well, but pretty soon it's going to turn from "This is the brain! It has nerves!" to "Now, acetylcholine is an agonist for this and that and OMG SO MANY THINGS TO REMEMBER WHAT IS GOING ON." (The latter was in my reading for tomorrow's class, and I really don't know whether acetylcholine is an agonist for anything. The only reason I know I spelled "acetylcholine" right is because there is no red squiggly line under it as I type.) So that should be fun.

After that, Thursdays from 5:00 to 9:00 is spent in practicum. This is where we get to the meat of counseling--I get to see actual clients. I get to influence actual people, with actual problems, who are going to come to me for an actual session to get actual therapy. I don't have a client yet, but many of my classmates do. I feel pretty decently prepared to do a pretty decent job once I do get a client, as long as I don't get thrown a curveball.

(Example of a curveball: One of my friends got a client who had previously been in therapy with an older student who graduated and therefore passed his clientele onto younger student counselors. When last the old counselor saw Client, things were going ostensibly well. But then, during my friend A's first session with Client [his first-ever client], Client disclosed that he had attempted suicide during the intermission between counselors. Cue faculty supervisor intervention, etc. And as if that weren't enough, in their third session together, Client [a minor] disclosed that his alcoholic mother's boyfriend had punched him. Cue calls to Child Protective Services, etc. My friend A is feeling just an eeeeensy bit like he was tossed into the deep end hitched to a cinderblock.)

So that's where I am. I'll have an update in the upcoming weeks about getting a client, if the Fates have me in kind sight.

And if the Fates are being very kind, my first session will not include disclosures of self-harm.

Happy days to you all!

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