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The Loony Bin

March 20, 2013

The crazy professor

The professor for my Counseling Theories and Techniques course kicked off the  first class by telling us that she was going to teach us everything we needed to know about counseling in the first two classes (which is that there is no right way to help people) and that the rest of the semester was going to kind of be a bit of a waste.

Hold everything that you learn lightly in your hands.

I went to the mat with her regularly during those initial two classes about evidence-based practice and standard of care.

I won’t go down the rabbit hole with you is what I heard. (I felt kind of embarrassed by my brassiness later, to be honest.)

This class has caused me a great deal of stress … and … I’ve learned more from this professor than from anyone else in the program to this point.

Crazy contradiction, eh?

There was the time that she and I walked out to our cars one night and I told her that I had had an aha experience: If someone says they are depressed, I have a picture of that depression in my mind.  It never occurred to me that depression for them might be different than depression for me. (Go figure….feelings aren’t necessarily universal!)  I am empathetic and want to help, but it never occurred to me to ask what they mean when they say depression.   It sounds silly, but I felt pretty excited by the idea of looking at things from this new perspective. 

Tell me about what that means for you swirled around in my head.

I thought we had a really great conversation because she is such a dynamic, encouraging person.

That night, she posted on her FB : What does it say about Psychology graduate students and society in general that it is a novel idea for them to consider life from other people’s perspectives.

Hey wait …. I have always tried to put myself in other people’s shoes and consider how they feel.  It’s just …. my concept understanding of feelings has been defined by my own experience.

A week later, she came to class upset.  She began the hour by telling us that she had read our major papers and that as usual some people got it and some people did not.

There is a writing lab here, why don’t people use it.

This school only requires the bare minimum for licensure (not true).

There are better institutions nearby that require writing as a part of the degree (there is an optional writing class for those who want/need it at our school).

I am an easy professor.  At other schools I would not be considered hard at all.

It was an epic bitchslap and at the end of it all, I turned to my class partner and we agreed that we felt like we needed a hug.

For the record, I got my paper back and I missed a total of 1 point out of 60 on the assignment.

Yay me?

I sent her an email.

I have already done a research masters.

I have had excellent experiences with the professors at our school.

I am happy with the program and offended.

It’s been an awkward back and forth to be honest….and here is the contradiction:

She makes me think every single week about how I view the world.

Right now, as we talk about social construction and therapy, we are talking about the meaning of words and having new and different conversations with ourselves about how we view ourselves and the world.

It has occurred to me that I do this to a degree.  I gave a presentation of my life story last semester with my life theme Choose to chance the rapids/Dare to dance the tides. I talked a lot about not always being able to control what happens to you, but being in charge of how you respond.  Am I always good at this? No.

This is a good reminder to me to look at the obstacles in my life and choose the story that I want to tell myself.







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