Happy Birthday to this lovely gentleman, Jamie Tworkowski!
Jamie is the founder and creative director of To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) Inc. – a non-profit organization dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with a number of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, self-injury and suicide. And though he may not be a mental health counselor, he is a huge advocate for breaking the stigma about mental illness and an incredible inspiration for millions. I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time working with and for Jamie over the past few years and he has been a major influence in the direction I want to take with my counseling career.

For more information about Jamie and TWLOHA, click here.


Now that I got that out there…
It’s the start of a new year! The start of my second semester in the Community and Mental Health Counseling Masters program! And I’m actually quite excited about it!

I chose to ease up on the course load this semester for the sake of my sanity. Last semester, though I did well in the end, I bit off way more than I could chew by taking four classes and working approx. 50 hours a week. By mid-semester I was paying for it with exhaustion, malnourishment and more than a little distress. So now I’m taking it a little easier – three classes and one of them is online. (I encourage you to follow my example if you work full-time as well!)

My Classes:

  • Psychopathology with Dr. Rutter: It’s all about the more commonly diagnosed disorders and what is considered abnormal in mental health. It looks like there will be a significant emphasis on growing acquainted with the DSM-IV-TR (even though the DSM-V is coming out shortly).
  • Group Counseling with Dr. Fetter: It seems this course is going to emphasize learning about and practicing facilitating a variety of groups (therapy groups, task groups, psychoeducational groups…etc). BUT, we also get to be a member of a group – We have 10 sessions over the course of the semester where we meet with a facilitator and go through the group counseling process ourselves. We had our first session last night and though it was strange, I’m excited to see how we grow over the next dozen weeks.
  • Lifespan Development with Dr. Stevens: This class is online and though we have a schedule, it isn’t quite as structured as I was anticipating so I’m not sure what to expect other than a lot of discussion board posts and interaction with the classmates through Angel. I was reluctant to take an online class because I have ridiculous time-management skills, but I know the presenting material is very important to have a solid grasp of as a counselor so we’ll see how things unfold.

Those noted, it’s been nice going into my classes and recognizing the vast majority of the students from previous classes and feeling comfortable with them there. We may not be considered a cohort program, but as a whole, we kinda go and grow through the program together – especially considering the amount of personal disclosure that goes on during classes and counseling sessions. I imagine it’s impossible to avoid connecting with other students in the program and that’s a wonderful feeling.

So, the break is over and it’s now two weeks into the semester. Time to pick back up on the professional and personal growth process again. Let’s go!

With hope,