Tag Archives: MFT

New Grads: How to Stand Out From the Crowd

All the hard work you put in with graduate school is coming to an end and now you’re ready to get your career started. Distinguishing yourself from other fresh grads is essential to landing that first position out in the field. Below are eight tips to help you get started today.

Join and assume leadership in a professional organization. Get involved with your local AAMFT, CAMFT or NSW chapters. By actively participating in established organizations in the mental health community, you’re demonstrating a commitment to the field and your career development.

Network and make friends in the field. Not only does networking give you a broader circle to turn to when you’re looking for jobs, it also give you people to turn to when you need advice in the field.  Building a broad network takes work and this task should be a top priority as you transition from student to clinician.

Find a mentor. We’ve discussed tips on finding a mentor before, but let me emphasize how important having a mentor can be in your career development. The right match in a mentor can help you navigate your path towards licensure, hone your skills, develop marketing techniques and provide valuable insights, especially in the early stages of your career.

Maintain affiliation with your school. Keeping in touch with your graduate school is a great way to stay current with what’s developing in the mental health community.  Take advantage of ongoing training opportunities in order to stay connected and to continue your learning.

Have a well-polished resume. Creating a solid resume that effectively showcases your experience can be key in helping you land that first job out of grad school. Now that a majority of job postings are found online, which increases the number of applicants per position, making sure that your resume shines is more important than ever. Don’t just brush up that old resume you used to apply to practicums, take this opportunity to make sure to start a fresh; highlight your qualities and strengths, include your professional goals and put the most important information first.  Have your mentor and several colleagues review your resume to ensure that you are effectively selling yourself.

Switching Careers?  Use this to your advantage. For many therapists and social workers, the path to the mental health field wasn’t a direct one.  If working as a clinician is your second career, don’t think that your prior experience is moot.  What challenges did you overcome in your previous profession?  Did you have an opportunity to build relationships with clients or vendors?  Any leadership experience? Identify and emphasize your transferable skills in your resume and cover letter and make them work for you.

Be flexible. Everyone is looking for their dream job. Make a list of things that you want in your dream job. Is it flexible hours? Working with a specific population? Do you need to make a certain salary? Rank what is really important to you in finding that first job out of grad school and what you are willing to work for later on.

Remember why you chose this field.  As you make the transition from student to clinician it is easy to get distracted .  Keep yourself grounded and focus on what matters most…your clients.  You have dedicated a lot of time and energy to become licensed in a field where you can truly make a difference in the lives of others.  Congratulations and good luck.

Beating Burnout

As Therapists and Social Workers working towards licensure, it is easy to spread yourself thin. Working to ‘get your hours’ while trying to balance your work and family life can feel like multiple full-time jobs. With routines, paperwork and working with clients, you can reach a point where things begin to feel overwhelming. Use the tips listed below to nip burnout in the bud or help prevent burnout before it starts.

Switch it up. The mind thrives on novelty and new experiences.  If you’re working on a big project for school, take a break to fit in a stress relieving workout and a trip to the grocery store before picking up where you left off.  Burnout puts your mind and body in a weakened state and stifles your creativity.  Give both a break by working in small items off that never-ending to-do list between the larger projects.
Seek activities outside your field. Socializing outside of your classmates and coworkers can provide fresh perspectives, stimulate new ideas and help to reignite passions.
Move, move move. The good news is that almost any form of exercise, from lifting weight to a brisk walk, can act as a natural stress reliever.  Physical activity helps to juice up your endorphins and can allow you to focus on the activity that you’re engaged in, which can help your mind to help shed daily stress. Plus, regular exercise of 30+ minutes has been shown to increase self-confidence and lower symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.
Schedule downtime. Between juggling grad school, working with clients and home and family life, it may feel like you never have a free minute in your calendar.  Take the opportunity to schedule time specifically to relax and recoup.
Unplug from the outside. If you’re one who’s embraced gadgets. The very links technology provides us with — iphones, laptops, e-mail, IMs, Facebook and Twitter — can be huge benefits to our productivity when used correctly but can also blur the ever-thinning boundary between work and life.  Being constantly connected can provide just as much stress as the benefits connection.  With unplugging from your smartphones and e-mails, starting small can make a big difference on your stress levels. Try limiting your connectivity by turning off your phone when you get home at night or not checking work e-mail on weekends.

Important BBS Update: Logging Conjoint Incentive Hours

bbs logo

Here is an important excerpt from the BBS FAQ sheet on logging your Conjoint Couples & Family Incentive hours. (Click here to read the entire document).

How do I log/get credit for the conjoint couples and family incentive hours?

When completing the Weekly Summary of Hours of Experience form and the MFT Experience Verification form, you will document the total couples, families and children hours gained on or after 1/1/2010 on the form item titled “Couples, families, and children.” In the subsection below, record the amount of actual conjoint couples and families hours. This subsection is only for recording purposes and will not affect your supervision requirements or increase your weekly totals. Please only document actual hours. Do not double count the hours on your forms.

Watch Those Numbers Add Up!

Watch Those Numbers Add Up!

Do you know that people who track their hours finish their hours more quickly? Ok, so I do not actually have any proof of this :0). However, what I do know is that the people I talk to who have a “general” idea of their hours often end up waiting until well after they have hit the “mark” before submitting their hours. Sometimes, spending an extra 4 months, or more gathering hours.

What their mind tells them is happening with their hours is often quite different than the reality. In addition, because they don’t track on a regular basis, inputting hours and calculating totals becomes a chore, and easy to avoid! While taking a laid back approach to the licensing process is absolutely the right fit for some people, for others it just makes a long process take even longer!

You are here at www.trackyourhours.com, so I imagine you are the kind of person who wants to keep track, and is excited to see the number of hours you have completed grow. You know that breaking your big goal into smaller steps and keeping track of your progress helps you to reach your goal. You have already learned that www.trackyourhours.com is the best way to keep track of your hours, the most intuitive, and the easiest!

Here are some additional tips to speed along the process:

1. Have a method for daily tracking of your clinical tasks. Whether it is in a dayplanner, agency scheduling book, or a piece of paper with little hash marks, keep good track of what you are doing at work. I find that many interns underestimate the amount of time they are spending on the phone with clients and doing clinical paperwork.
2. Input your hours on a weekly basis, print them off, and get them signed. I think this is especially important at the beginning of a supervision relationship. You are building trust in one another. If there is going to be a problem with signing off hours, you want to know right away. In addition, life happens. You don’t want to be scurrying if the supervisor suddenly leaves, gets in a car accident, or dies.
3. Know the laws and have a clear idea of how they relate to your workplace. Make sure you have a clear understanding of where your cross the line between client contact and countable hours. Did you know that doing a children or teen therapy group counts towards your children, families, and couples hours? My clinical supervisor, who was wonderful, didn’t know this and gave me misinformation. While clinical supervisors are great, get in the habit of going straight to the source with your questions. BBS and CAMFT are great resources (even for ACSWs).
4. Workshops, trainings, and individual therapy are all great ways to max out your hours. Just be aware of the 1,000 maximum on professional enrichment activities: supervision, trainings, and individual therapy.
5. Keep an eye on those ratios. The ratios are important for a variety of reasons. In the next “installment” I will be talking about what to do if your ratios are off to get back on track.

Are you doing all of the above? A+!
Find an area that you need to work on? Get moving!
Did this bring up questions? Ask them!

Let me know how helpful (or unhelpful) this information is for you! You can easily post a comment or question using the simple form below. Have a private question or want to make a suggestion about future topics? E-mail [email protected]

Remember, the process from here to the license and professional life you want does not have to be painful!

Miranda Palmer, MFT

Miranda Palmer, MFT is a coach who helps pre-licensed individuals develop and follow their individualized path from where they are, to the license, business, and salary they want! You can learn more about her services, free online study groups for exams, and read more free articles at http://mftguide.com