I'll be adding to these from time to time.
You may not feel like you’re ready, worthy, or trained to be what you have learned. A therapist! You have graduated from your program and you regret not being extensively trained in therapeutic techniques you were hoping for when you started. You worry the tools in your bag will not be enough.
I promise you won’t be the first or the last with these feelings. You do have a new world-view of strengths and an understanding of oppression that contributes to the suffering of humans which is a great start. You’re exactly where you should be at in your skill level. The following thoughts are related to my own experience sitting where you’re at when you are feeling unsure.
You have been thought to think.
Graduate school is more than learning about the specific interventions of Freud, Jung, and Rogers. I’ve heard many therapists regret their graduate program failed to teach them specific intervention and styles during their programming. While I don’t disagree this could be helpful, I believe they were in the process of challenging you how to think about the world and that’s not an easy task! It’s your job to develop your style and learn the “tricks of the trade” and interventions from mentors in the field now that you “think” like a mental health clinician. You are good enough with the right spirit. Spirit cannot be taught, intervention can. You are ready to begin walking the path with others even when you might feel otherwise.
Never lose your worldview you were guided into
Graduate school is a process of thinking about the world (you're right, Mark Dodd!). Understanding human behavior is a complex task. We walk along a journey with our clients and cannot underestimate our clients are the heros in the work we do together. We are not. It is less about our intervention and more about our style and rapport. Graduate schools generally attempt to mold a worldview so that you feel comfortable being able to sit with another human being and empathize with their struggles and find the strengths underneath any behavior that may seem illogical.
Too many therapists forget their roots and where they started. I remember my first restraint with a child and having limited understanding of human behavior and being thrown in. I was in panic-mode. I also remember throwing footballs with 12 year old behaviorally disturbed kids and the hugs at bed time they yearned for and how a little kindness went a long way. I remember seeing a client smoke cigarette after cigarette in an apartment building who suffered from active schizophrenia and what it meant to have me sit with her even if I couldn’t understand a thing she was saying. I remember seeing the sparkle in her eyes that she still mattered to another human being. That’s what this is about.
Most of us started our work in the field in another capacity which was less "glamorous" than a therapist you are now titled with. The moments that shaped you in the helping field cannot be forgotten and what drew you to the spot you're in today. The ability to sit with another human being and provide unconditional acceptance and being able to work through your own “baggage” is what this is about. Specific interventions take time, nobody expects you to have a style developed your first year out of graduate school. The good news is that knowing how to “be” with another human being now and the clinical interventions will build. I promise. Keep reading, keep learning.