My Journey to Becoming a Licensed Therapist
Yesterday, after 6.5 years of hard work and dedication, 11 months after my licensing exam, 9 months after submitting my application for my license, I'm officially a licensed mental health counselor. I can't express enough gratitude to those who have stuck by me, believed in me even when I doubted myself, and helped remind me why I chose to leave my previous career and start a new journey.
Some of you may know that I had a traumatic brain injury in high school- while it impacted my life in many ways, the most memorable is how it changed the way I learned and for far too long it buried my confidence. Numerous teachers told me to stop trying, that college wasn't in my future- I went from all A's without trying, to having to bust my behind for those A's and B's. I dropped a pre-med major and got a BA instead, and I am proud of that degree, however it wasn't ever where I wanted to be and it didn't allow me to feel satisfied within the workplace, or life.
I went into marketing and advertising, for me, as a career, it wasn't fulfilling, it didn't give me purpose or challenge me. I wasn't happy. So I made a very intentional decision to change from a "job" to a career. At 30, newly divorced, I started a graduate program, at 32 I graduated with a 3.8gpa, and here we are, 36 and I can say wholeheartedly that I am happy and fulfilled within my career.
I have been blessed with so many wonderful opportunities through the years as I've been on the journey. Through loss, grief, surgeries, flare-ups from my chronic illness, heartbreak, and adversity, I made it. Along the way I lost friends who didn't understand why I chose school over a social life, or working extra jobs to enhance my experience, in the end I realized they weren't my people, those who are, stuck by my side even if they didn't get to see me for months at a time, and only communicated on occasion.
The application process was by far the most stressful part of this process for me, which I don't believe is typical however I ran into road blocks at what felt like every turn. I had to snail mail to get signatures, some forms I had to re-send due to them not being filled out properly, COVID-19 hit and things became harder. The process and forms changed however I was unaware and filled in and submit my papers through the mail. This should have been it, I should have been licensed shortly after they received it. However, speed bumps, they no longer open their mail. it tooks months to find this out, it took months for anyone to return my e-mails or answer my calls.
I am a fighter, I fought for what was right, I had photocopies a lot of the forms, and submit them, to be told they wouldn't accept the document. I advocated for myself, and wrote a letter addressing my case, and it was approved. Then they told me I was missing my test scores from last summer, which are auto sent after you take them. Again, I re-paid (at this point I have paid for everything twice during this process) and they re-sent the scores.
After a grueling process... as of yesterday, I can officially say that I am a licensed mental health counselor. I am so grateful for all of my family and friends who have been incredibly supportive and dealt with me as I rode this Rollercoaster. I couldn't have done it without you. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.
Here's to the next chapter, new opportunities, and so much gratitude.