Ever think you are riding on a sinking ship? Everything seems to be going well then all of a sudden people are missing or you witness friends jumping overboard. You hear rumors, but of course they are just rumors…right? How is someone supposed to know if it is safe to stay on the sinking ship? You hear that the holes are getting plugged then someone else goes overboard. What to do? What to think?
Times are tough today and everything, especially incoming money, is dwindling. Counseling clients is not the only part of a job classification anymore. When fellow colleagues and friends are let go or see it greener on the other side of the fence, it starts to get lonely and anxiety has a tendency to reveal its ugly head. You wonder, ‘Am I next? Will I see the writing on the wall? How long before I’m overboard?’ During this “perfect storm” you comfort hurting friends, grieve lost colleagues, gather your acumen for self preservation, plus the regular duties of client care.
It can be frightening when you do not have control over what occurs around you but worrying still does no good. When a counselor loses control over the work environment or realizes that there was never any control to begin with, the part of the brain that focuses on self starts to enlighten. Gaining insight into what you REALLY have control over is a process of self-actualization that everyone has to go through. What potential do you see for yourself and have you realized that potential yet?
For many of us, realizing what we are and what we are supposed to do takes a divine intervention. No, we may not have to spend a few nights in the belly of a fish but we do need to go into our secret room, close the door, and seek guidance. Realizing your potential as a counselor, friend, colleague, husband, wife, sibling, parent, friendly stranger, etc… can increase self-determination into achieving what you found out about yourself.
Sometimes the ship you are on is so battered by the stormy weather that there is no other option but to go overboard and ride the waves for a while. Yes, it may be frustrating, frightening, and at times debilitating but once you start looking around and see friendly faces floating with you, you realize you are not alone. Sooner or later another ship will come along and the people on board will be part of your next destination where you will learn more about yourself. Trials and tribulations accompany every storm and can make self care the last thing on our minds. Allowing yourself to continue to realize your full potential as a counselor will enable you to keep self care at the forefront and help guide others to their next ship at the same time.
Josh Andrews is a counselor at a behavioral health agency working with children, adolescents, and families. His professional interests include the spiritual side of humankind, cognitive behavior therapy, reality therapy, and advancing the knowledge and practice of professional counseling.