Holiday Stress Management: Tips from BJ Barksdale

kate walker training continuing education, counselor education, counselor resources

My good friend and advisory board member BJ Barksdale has some good advice for the holidays. With her permission, I am publishing her words along with some links to great articles and resources. She uses these resources with her clients and we invite you to please use and share in your own practice!

The Basics from BJ:

  1. Have an attitude of gratitude.
  2. Enjoy the process not just the outcome.
  3. Step away from your phone/computer/TV.
  4. Take the opportunity to really connect with others.
  5. Create a “NEW” Holiday Tradition.
  6. Try something new.
  7. Volunteer – Giving to others gives a “Sense of Satisfaction”
  8. Decide upon your priorities and stick to them.
  9. Stick to a budget.
  10. Laughter can be very therapeutic.
  11. 11.Eat sensibly
  12. Exercise
  13. Get some sunshine.
  14. Ask for Help – “Be Specific.”
  15. Give yourself a break – Plan for some alone time.

Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping – Mayo Clinic

Ten Ways to Overcome Holiday-Related Stress

Mindfulness: Restore the Pleasure of Life’s Ordinary and Extraordinary Moments

25 Ways to Find Joy and Balance During the Holidays

Want more great resources? Stay tuned for more info from our advisory board and other super star counselor supervisors and counselor educators!

Take a Look at My Intake Paperwork

Check out KateWalkerTraining Paperwork

Happy 2018! Every January I edit and revise all of my paperwork. As promised, here is a fifteen minute video consultation. In it, I act as your supervisor and tell you exactly why I include the things I do.  As a speaker, this is a topic I get asked to present a lot. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

 

New Year New Paperwork?

Click the Katewalkertraining store for more paperwork for your practice

Annual Paperwork Cleanup

January is that beautiful time of year when I clean my counseling practice ‘house’ including my paperwork. This year was a little extreme because I literally got a new coat of paint and new floors. As you can see from the artsy filtered photo I took below, my office looks amazing.

But what about the things you can’t see in the photo? Is my paperwork up to date with the latest licensing laws? Have I changed my passwords on a regular basis? Have I checked to see if my credit card charges are accurate?

I’m not even joking – I called about a charge on my account I didn’t recognize and found out it was from something I THOUGHT I had closed in February 2017. The lesson? Watch your bank account.

January 2018 I will edit all of my new client paperwork, change my passwords, and update my bookkeeping. Today’s housekeeping item will be my new client intake Face Sheet. Catch my next blog and I will walk you through my editing process for our 2018 Service Agreement/Consent to Treat. Is it exciting? No, not really, but it’s only 3 minutes of your life and it will save you a lot of headaches down the road. When you’re ready you can even head to our store here to purchase the fully edited  paperwork you can download and customize for your practice. Enjoy!

Watch Me Edit My Face Sheet

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We Need You Counselors and Supervisors!

Texas Supervisor Training Consultation and Speaking

Texas, we have a problem.

Our state has over 15 universities with CACREP accredited counselor education programs. There are almost twenty thousand licensed professional counselors at this writing and almost four thousand counselor interns. Counselor supervisors are ready to offer consultation and supervision. We have active state organizations, a legislature that is open to hearing us if we choose to speak, and one of the hottest business demographics in the United States.

So why is the Texas prison system our biggest mental health provider? According to NAMI 2010 statistics Texas spent just $35 per capita on mental health agency services in 2006. This was just 1.1 percent of total state spending that year in the state of Texas. Nationally, approximately 70 percent of youth in juvenile justice systems experience mental health disorders and in 2008, approximately 37,700 adults with mental illnesses were incarcerated in prisons in Texas.

It’s not easy being a counselor.

Potential counselors enter universities with dreams of helping, but the reality is, the job market doesn’t offer much. LPC Interns, after having completed a sixty-hour master’s degree program, still cannot bill insurance for their time. As a result, they compete for lower paying bachelor’s level Qualified Mental Health Provider positions, gain low quality hours in hospital settings, or volunteer. That is tough to do when you are paying a supervisor and student loans every month.

When fully licensed counselors get a job, the situation is less than ideal. Counselors who seek me out for consultation tell me they are overworked, underpaid, and forced to do paperwork on their own unpaid time. Not only that, they are often placed in dangerous situations, and required by third-party payers to apply ineffective treatment modalities that are inconsistent with their training. Counselors in private practice face the daunting task of running a business, a skill that was missing from their counseling.

We need counselors and supervisors.

We need passionate people who will advocate in the legislature and supervise the interns. We need generous people who will give time because not every client has the means to get the help they need. We need balanced people who will focus on their own attitude and mental health so we don’t lose them to burnout. Good training, consultation, and opportunities to grow will help counselors keep the passion that got them started. Counselors who train to become supervisors can expand their knowledge, grow their practice, and impact the next generation.

So consider supervising. Remember, we need you.

 

Dear Future Counselor

Texas Supervisor Training Speaker Consultant

As a mental health practice consultant, supervisor, and speaker, I enjoy sharing good information. Luckily I have amazing colleagues who share their wisdom with me. In my book “My Next Steps: Create a Counseling Career You’ll Love,” I had a blast learning from five amazing experts in the field. If I could put all of their good advice in a letter to a future counselor, I think it might look something like this:

Dear Future Counselor,

Now that you have decided to become a professional helper, I want to welcome you to the field! It won’t be easy and it won’t always be neat and tidy, but it will be the most satisfying thing you have ever done. As I think back to my own journey from ‘thinking about counseling’ to ‘actually counseling,’ I remember some key elements.

Our Story

We all have a story that led to our passion.

Ask any professional counselor (and that includes licensed professionals and school counselors) ‘what made you choose counseling?’ and you will hear the story. It is usually a tale of heartbreak, perseverance, pain, and victory. The teller will probably explain how an important person, perhaps a counselor, clergy member, or family member, listened and served as a guide through the fire. The professional counselor may then relate how this experience led to the desire to become a helper and provide hurting people with the same unconditional positive regard he or she received.

Our Supervisor and Our Training

Once we decided that we could not live a moment longer without actually becoming a counselor, we started our training. Not gonna lie, the search for the perfect school has gotten a little more complicated (CACREP, non-CACREP, online, etc.). I cannot emphasize enough Future Counselor, the importance of choosing a school that will actually enable you to get PAID once you have your almighty license or certification. Even if you earn your master’s degree and pass your exams, many organizations and third party payers (think insurance panels, the VA, some schools) will NOT hire you (or pay you) if you went to the wrong type or insufficiently accredited counseling program. Choose a good school and choose a good supervisor. You will be supervised for THOUSANDS of hours while you practice your craft as an intern.  Make sure you and your supervisor are a good fit. Once you are fully licensed/certified you will continue gaining continuing education. The learning and growing never end!

So, Future Counselor, the Stakes are High

A license protects the public from individuals who may be ‘good listeners,’ but don’t have the skills to help. Ditto with school counselor certification. If you choose to practice without a license, that is grounds for a conviction. If a school district hires you to be their school counselor and you are not certified, then you, and the students you serve, are being set up for failure. So accrue your hours, earn your license or certificate, and get to work. In the end, it is worth it.