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Oct 12, 2010

Dear Self Doubt, You Are Not My Friend, Or Are You?

Self-doubt is an ugly emotion. I called my husband last week feeling completely disheartened and wondering about my abilities as a counselor-in-training. I am completing my practicum this semester, and it's my first time to really counsel clients. My current case load is four clients – all of whom possess fascinating and challenging stories. I desire to help them. To be perfectly honest, I desire to fix them. Wait a minute. I can't fix anybody. That is not my job. Yet, self-doubt tells me that it is. Self-doubt tells me a lot of things. "You should be a better counselor". "You need a stronger connection with that client". "You are not making a difference at all". "You should have said this instead of that". "Your client should be better by now". "You can't do anything in six sessions". I am learning that self-doubt manifests itself in all counselors – novices and seasoned professionals. And, like any ugly emotion, we must set aside time to examine it. What does our self-doubt really look like? What causes it? What changes does it produce in you? There is an excellent article in the October 2010 issue of Counseling Today, which was written by Emil Vernarec, that examines how we as counselors move beyond the self-doubt that plagues us. This article arrived at a perfect time in my life, and I encourage y'all to set aside time to read its insight into the self-doubt battle. So, fellow counselors, how do you process self-doubt? How does it affect you as a counselor? What advice do you have for a novice counselor such as myself in embracing self-doubt? We are on this journey together, so I look forward to hearing from and connecting with you.

Courtnay Veazey is a counselor in training at Mississippi State University pursuing a Master of Science in clinical mental health counseling and working as a graduate assistant at MSU's Career Center

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