It’s been a very full month for me (Mike), but yesterday was officially my last day of summer classes at RTS this semester!!! Whoohooo!!! I still have some schoolwork that I have to do (rather a lot, actually), but it still feels good to be “done” with classes. I have about a week and a half before the start of the fall semester, but that time will go by fast–home improvement projects, a video-editing job, and maybe (just maybe) even some leisure time thrown in there too! 🙂 Ah, the life of a grad student… Anyway, before I start writing my paper and taking my test and reading all the books I need to read, allow me to take a moment to fill you in about my classes and my experience in general here at RTS. Off we go!

First of all, I’m happy to report that Jen and I are making friends with my fellow counseling students. There have been several opportunities for spontaneous social events, and it’s been great to spend some time getting to know this amazing bunch of folks and their spouses/boyfriends/etc. For example, recently we had a game night at one the students’ houses. The girls all ended up sitting around a big table playing Taboo or something, chatting away and being social, and guys (of course) ended up in the living room playing Wii Sports . Figures, huh? 🙂

Dinner with RTS cohorts

Guys and Wii

Classes have been great so far—incredible teaching and some challenging experiences. In my first class, Addictions, I was challenged to attend a 12-step meeting (which I did, and was deeply impacted by it) and to share some deeper things in my life with my classmates–as you can imagine, everyone was wiped-out emotionally by the end of that week! My next class was Research and Program Development, which challenged me to enter the world of scientific psychological research journals (and the APA writing format) head-on. But they saved the most intense for last–this week’s class was Fundamental Therapy Skills, which gave us our first chance to actually counsel someone! Every day we would learn some basic therapy skills in lecture, and then take turns counseling each other–all with a professional observer sitting in the room! And on the last day, we had a 30-minute observed session with a “real” client whom we never meet before! It was GREAT practice , but it was very nerve-wracking and anxiety-provoking, and everyone was freaking out about the last session. So partially as a way to remember all the skills, and partially as a way to lighten up the mood a bit and give people some encouragement, I created a little Photoshop image called The Confident Counselor. I think it helped everyone to laugh away some of their tension:

Hehehe… I actually got this image from a random CD that I found at the thrift store. And yes, those words are all basic skills that we need to learn. When I actually start seeing clients (which will be next February), I’m planning on printing this image out and posting it on the wall behind the client’s head so I can refer to it every 30 seconds or so.

Anyway, that’s just a snippet of life at RTS—so far, so good!!!

Now, back to those books I have to read and that paper I have to write and that test I have to take… 🙂

-Mike