I just saw a post on social media from one of my former students. He obtained his LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor credential). I decided to comment congratulations. I almost stopped there. But instead I decided to say more. I decided to leave a reminder of what was on my heart. The truth is that I am more than a “congrats,” type of social media engager. Congrats are for those I know only in passing or as a salutation after a more thoughtful message. So even though these days I am more sentimental than ever, in so many ways I’ve become less publicly expressive. I have been living the social media version of “Nothing to see here move along now.” I haven’t wanted to call attention to myself. But since my word for this year is “live” I am giving myself permission to push through my introvert ways and my self-contained nature. I wanted to say more to acknowledge what this accomplishment truly means.
One of the cool things about social media is that they are our modern day digital scrapbooks or perpetual yearbooks. When I thought about what I’d want my former student, mentee, and now colleague to remember or at least have as reference for what I said to him on the day he celebrated his LPC was ultimately more than congrats. The truth is that although his non-therapist friends and family were happy for him, they cannot fully appreciate what it took to achieve his LPC license in the state of Georgia. It’s not just our standards (3,000 hours in the field of practice and 105 hours of supervision over the span of at least 3 years but no more than 5 years); it’s also all of the life events that happen over the course of 3 to 5 years. It is all of the roadblocks. Even the good things that can happen in life like getting married, becoming a parent, moving into a new home…all of them, every single one can present a challenge toward staying on track for one’s LPC license.
- You have to make sure to keep regular meetings with your supervisor.
- You have to prioritize your professional responsibilities and invest in your profession with your time and your money.
- You have to get back on track or stay on track when you have varied competing interests.
- You have to maintain qualified employment in the field.
- You have to navigate challenging work settings.
- You have to learn to trust yourself and think for yourself as a therapist.
- You have to be willing to take ownership of the tremendous responsibility it is to be someone’s mental health provider.
- You have to internalize what you have learned and recognize where you need support.
- You have to pay attention to professional standards, ethics, and laws governing the profession.
- You have to be willing to receive criticism and/or feedback and alter your actions.
- You have to figure out how to make a livable wage while working toward your LPC.
- You have to have the wisdom to select a supervisor who can truly support you.
- You have to have the courage to advocate for yourself and for clients when you are in circumstances that don’t promote either of your highest good.
- You have to overcome fatigue, vicarious trauma, grief and loss, illness, divorce, separation, children going off to college and empty nests.
- You have to learn to prioritize your own needs and set boundaries.
- You have to learn healthy confrontation.
- You have to slay your interpersonal and intrapersonal demons.
- You have to navigate the seemingly never-ending continuous improvement and thus ever-changing nature of our licensing rules.
- You have to take and pass the licensing exam. But before that…
- You have to complete the application(s)…
- You have to get people to complete paperwork.
- You have to -in some cases- beg and chase people to complete forms.
- You have to survive feeling like you can’t serve others when you can barely hold your own life together.
- You have to come to terms with your humanity and compassion and professionalism and heart.
You can obtain your LPC license in GA. However, in order to do so…you must be willing to keep going when you feel tired. You must be willing to ask for help when you feel lost. You may need to seek counseling in addition to supervision. You might need help from family and friends. Whether it’s financial help, emotional support, childcare etc…. You might ask yourself numerous times….”Why did I start this process?” You may even question whether or not you want your LPC. But like I’ve told many a supervisee of mine, “If you keep going you will finish. Don’t give up. This is a marathon…not a sprint.”
Congratulations to all of those colleagues who have obtained their LPC’s! Congrats! This one is for you!
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