Quick check in

Hey folks,

Just dropping a note to keep this in my mind. My last semester of graduate school is starting next week and I will definitely need this as one of my coping skills haha.

Couple ideas I want to put down for later are: How food/diets can affect your cognition/behavior and the continual struggle of a counseling student.

Hope all is well.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


Self-Care: If I had time…or energy,…or emotions…or a mind…

I’m almost afraid to even get started on this as I will most likely get in a rant and not stop about the absurdity of it all and…blah there I go already.

So foreword: I am writing this while being upfront of one of the clinics I work at so I may publish this half completed but I want to get out whatever I can in these last thirty-ish minutes.

So self-care. I almost feel as if it is a ginormous sham for me as a grad student when I try to pass it on to my clients or fellow co-counselors. I just keep having these thoughts in my head go on and on about how I do not have any time to actually take care of myself as I should be working: either at a job so I can actually support my family and I (or try and feel like it at least), pay off bills/tuition, working on subject matter for clients, or overall just do not deserve it. Blah all this while trying to push my co-counselors and clients to take time to care for themselves.

I mean, I do get some sense of relief talking with others and being able to see them relaxing, but all that is doing it making me dependent upon their state of mind and not my own. I do have my own skill set though. I love doing Autogenics Training and Deep Breathing as mindfulness tools. But I have this nagging feeling that if I have time to relax before 2am every day, I am missing something. And that bothers me. And I get stressed that I am bothered about missing something imaginary. So I start to worry about worrying. Then I freak out questioning why I cannot calm down. Then get pissed at myself for not being able to calm down. And pissed about being pissed… By this time I have a raging headache and snap at anyone…which you probably guessed it, helps kick me down a notch.

One saving grace, and I am soooo not meaning to be corny, is my wife. She…well she’s definitely more hardheaded than I when it comes to making sure I have relax time. She always finds ways to point out how some of my reactions/feelings are due to being stressed and tired (I think I talked about my schedule last time or so). Now normally someone might get pissed that their faults are being pointed out, but I find it comforting as she’s the only one I’ve let really see me as I am. Which is quite ironic as I have been telling other co-counselors to journal/blog and even use mine as an example. So they might see this glimpse (Hey everyone) but only she, well only she really knows my demons and their names. Quite appropriate I might say.

But I digress, the sham of self-care. Bah not a sham, just…feels like one when you realize how little time there is for it in a grad student’s life.

Bah again, but there is a need for it. And honestly I do try to take time out and practice self-care, even if it is only for a few minutes. Oh man! Those few minutes do make a world of a difference. So while I may be sitting here complaining about self-care, please try to take some time out, every day, for yourself and remind yourself about your reason for doing what you are doing. Pay check? Education? To help others? Whatever it may be, hold on to it, nurture it, grow it, raise it to be such a powerful force of reckoning within yourself that whenever you need that boost, you can call upon its mightiness and feel at ease with yourself and events around you.

BTW: I do not want to leave without some resources from apps that might be helpful. I do not have an IPhone so some I am not sure about but if you try any, let me know how they work.






Ok time for my next session, later!

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 28, 2014 in Burnout, Mental Health, Personal, School


Tags: , ,

The thing about grad school

Totally hits on all marks.

Tales of a Crazy Psychology Major

  • The thing about grad school is that you get stretched so thin that you can’t do your best at anything.
  • The thing about grad school is you are too tired too appreciate how amazing it is to be paid to learn.
  • The thing about grad school is that every day is a question of picking which people to let down today.
  • The thing about grad school is that you don’t have the power to arrange your schedule in the most effective way
  • The thing about grad school is that you can’t read google calendar on the weekly view because there are too many things each day.
  • The thing about grad school is you know you are not operating at your full potential when you make mistakes from being over burdened
  • The thing about grad school is that everyone wants the tasks they assign to you to be your number 1 priority…

View original post 437 more words

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 28, 2014 in Uncategorized


Horrible truths of a Masters degree.

CAUTION: I am writing this so late as i have just gotten off of work, am worn out, tired, and overall in poor shape. Ergo, I am writing this because of these exact same reasons.

First of all, I love my Masters program. Seriously, love it. But the next person that tells me the Masters program isn’t hard,  other students have managed the feat with no real issues, or something along that line, I will stare you in the eye and call bulls…let’s go with just bull.

The only way a grad student can take time to breeze through classes and not worry about finances is A: Living solely off of some ridiculous financial aid or B: Have wealthy and generous parents. Let’s put this in perspective, for most of my grad career I have been working 40-50 hours a week for a community mental health agency. What a God sent miracle. I was able to take 9 credit hours of coursework each semester (full time is considered 6 hours or more fyi) and flex my schedule as long as I met client hours.

Yet at this point in time, I am in the final stretches of the program and am trying to complete my practicum/internship hours. Internship 1+2 need a total of 600 hours to pass. In the time span of 6 months, doesn’t sound to bad right? That’s only of your clients actually show up. Any clinician in any field can attest we humans sometimes suck at making appointments. Guilty right here. So if like my case, only half show up on a regular basis, you need 1200 clinic hours to be safe. Aka a full time job.

Where am I going with this? Hell at this time of night I’m not to clear myself except this sucks. Best way to describe it is to lay out my schedule for ya’ll:
Sunday: 9a wake up, 1115a-1p church, 2/3p-11p Valet job.
Monday: 5a wake up, 6a-2p Valet job, drive to CC, 530p-9p Garcia Center clinic (GCC)
Tuesday-Thursday: 9a wake up, 11a-8p Counseling and Training Clinic (CTC), 8p-3a Bar job
Friday: 530p-9p GCC
Saturday: 9a-1p Internship class, drive to SA, 3p-11p Valet job.

See the problem? No rest for the frigging wicked. But wait, what about Friday? That looks slow. Errrrrrr! That’s time to write pending papers, case studies, journal reviews, and other professional development material assigned to us.

With all of this, there’s no way I am making enough money to cover my school and cost of living. The only jobs that will accommodate my weird hours of availability are minimum wage jobs like bars and restaurants. Not a way to make not just a living but just stay afloat. Hell, I just had to stop by a coinstar to cash in my change so I would have enough money to cover my bills. Thank God for tips otherwise I would not have money after tomorrow night for gas to get me home to SA.

So to tie my sleep-deprived, delusional rant up, I’m apparently a suckered for punishment, am slowly dying from no rest, and want to punch something… I guess. I don’t know. I can’t think straight to save my life right now. Time to shower, rinse and repeat for tomorrow. Lord have mercy on this weary soul…

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Burnout, Mental Health, Personal, School


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Exciting side note!

While this more so deals with my professional development, I passed my comprehensive examination test! Basically this is an end-of-program, all-inclusive test so that I can graduate from the program.

Generally, the program PTBs want you to take this stress-inducing test when you get into practicum. This is mostly due to students only being allowed to take the test three times before needing remediate classes.

Needless to say I am stoked and can feel such a sense of relief. Passing the test is a relief in two ways; I get to graduate once I finish my classes and I know I have a better grasp on my licensure test in October. I say this as they are basically the same setup tests, albeit different types questions!

Anywho… Just wanted to spout out again about this as my friends are probably sick of me going on about this haha. Later all!

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 12, 2014 in Uncategorized


Weird type of racism.

Random I know but still frustrating. (Background info: I’m half Spaniard half Russian.) So during the week, I work as a doorman at a local bar to help make ends meet. Growing up in Ohio, I’m used to being subjected to Mexican racism. So much so, that I began to accept the slander and make jokes before others as a way of coping. Not saying it didn’t hurt, but it made the pill easier to swallow.

On the flip-side, I’ve never had anyone say or do anything close to racist about me being Russian. Looking back, it could be the whole being part of the Euro-white but meh. Until recently, I haven’t even been that into learning about my Russian side. Sadly, with all the regime changes, there’s no real way to learn my origins. The closest thing I got was my undergrad professor in Russian Literature. She told me the extra “F” tacked on to my mother’s maiden name indicates my family immigrated to New York by way of France.

Anyways, so the incident. While working at the bar, I told a patron my heritage and, being the level of intoxication that he was, decided my new name was” Dragov”and greeted me with “Heil” and “Nein .” Oh man was that frustrating. If you’re gonna make fun of me, do it right. Not gonna lie, it surprised me on how riled I got from the jabs. I could go on about the things he said but why spread it around?

Either way the tl;dr is this: Treat each human with respect and respect their heritage.


1 Comment

Posted by on August 6, 2014 in Personal


Tags: , , , ,

School Journals

Ok so I know I said I would post after each class but that seemed too tedious and cloggy…if that’s a word. AKA here they are in one post lol.


Today there were six presentations: Empty Chair, Role Reversal, Dreamwork, Relaxation/Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Emotional Freedom, and Identifying Feelings. Empty Chair was an interesting technique that I particularly enjoyed. I like how the client can use this skill to help explore possible options and act out new things. I did not like Dreamwork. It was presented in an interesting manner, not a Freudian manner. My partner presented her Relaxation technique and showed how I did not like Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Talking with the professor was enlightening as I found out that one did not need to induce tension before relaxing your muscles. I did not get to go as apparently I did not have the right connection for the file…embarrassing.


I presented today on Alter-ego exercise. I appreciated the feedback from the others as I was uncertain about my ability to utilize the skill i chose. What I seem to need to work on is my ability to explain a skill during a session enough so the client can easily understand. While I can attribute some of this lack of description to the time limit our videos had, it is a good reminder to understand each skill I try to use. One other skill that stood out was the Thought-stopping skill. While yes the Mad TV skit is a comedic approach to the skill, my classmate’s use of a sudden, loud “Stop” seemed to do the job. His partner even admitted her pause and struggle to continue her conversation was real surprise. I liked how she indicated, due to her loss of concentration, she questioned herself if the topic was important and why she was thinking about that topic.


I presented Autogenics Training today. This was especially nerve-wracking as this skill I personally like and hoped I would perform it well. The professor did not have any qualms and neither did my classmates it seemed. I was greatly encouraged by my ability to explain the skill, process, and how it applies towards counseling with little need for outside help. One skill I watched and enjoyed was the Flooding skill. The use of a computer program and actually getting in a car to help reduce anxiety was really cool. Especially since the partner/”client” was actually afraid of driving.


Watching how Scaling questions can be used for more than initial check-ins for counseling was a great thing to see. I particularly like how the skill was lightly peppered throughout the role play. Whle the main focus was about the skill, it was only used as a tool to help move the session forward. it even helped clarify a client’s thoughts/feelings on where she wanted to go. I can definitely see myself using this tool later in my own sessions.


That looks like that’s about it.

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 4, 2014 in CNEP 5375, Mental Health, School


Tags: , , ,

Scary “P” word… No not that one!

So I had an interesting conversation with my clinic supervisor today. I was looking up information on Adventure Therapy and where it was around central Texas. During my discussion about this method, she drops a word I never thought I would fear… Published.

After picking up my jaw, let me give you the rest of the story as that just might help. Since Adventure Therapy is relatively new, she suggested I do a literature review on the topic. Heck, she would even help me and support me as needed.

… Oh yeah, and after doing this review, I should submit it to the American Counseling Association’s Creative Counseling journal to be published. Uhm… What?!?  Hell I’m just trying to make ends meet for classes and grades, much less become a published pre-Masters student! It would be amazing but, oh who am I kidding… I have already started looking up resources and seeing who I could contact for this.

This fall should be interesting…

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Mental Health, Personal, School, Texas


Tags: ,

Testing my patience

Long story short, I know I need to do an update for my journal and just overall utilization here. But man, I’m just exhausted from some stuff that went down at my night job and school. Actually, I just finished taking my program’s comprehensive exam so I’m all blargh.

Aka I’ll do a more detailed post later haha.

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 18, 2014 in Uncategorized


Ok seriously, gotta get back.

Ok I’m serious  About keeping more up to date on this blog. This is in part because I need to do a journal weekly for one of my classes I’m currently in but I thought, why not just do them all together?

So first my class. Today we discussed assessments and how we can apply them for different applications. Honestly my initial thoughts about assessments were not so great. I’ve done it before while working with the community mental health clinic, but I always felt so lost when walking through the fields of acronyms and revisions and numbers. But after our professor and TA discussed mental status exam and the different types of assessments they utilize for different situations, such as DARS or DDS, I felt more confident about being able to use these different assessments. I really don’t know, I feel better prepared for my future graduation and for the possible assessments I need to do when I start practicing on my own.

Speaking of practicing, what’s really cool right now is that a way I am practicing while working on my masters. I’m currently working on my internship hours which involves me being at the school’s training clinic providing services for clients. This is so much cooler and more what I’m looking to get out of my degree in terms of seeing people compare to working as a case manager at Coastal Plains Community Center. I do miss working there but being able to apply everything that I’m learning in so much greater freedom takes the cake. This is great for me cuz I can actually pursue my interests in solution focused therapy and narrative therapy while exploring new things I stumble across. I have recently found a relatively new theory for me called focusing therapy. Essentially what this therapy is goal is two have a client um be in touch with themselves, explore their emotions and feelings about a certain situation, and then just followed that feeling focus on it for a long time and then discuss it with the therapist. Things like, did the feeling change? Did the feeling take a different direction? What was it like just observing this emotion? And so on to get a better understanding about their cognitive abilities.

What I really need to keep an eye on though is burnout. After taking my stress management class in the spring semester, I’ve gotten back into reading up and just keep an eye on managing burnout. Not just with me, but just how to deal with it since I have been hit really hard before. Ohoo the joy! Being able to discuss these things these topics and ideas with other clinicians not just my classmates but doctoral students and even with Dr Castillo.

One final thing. I think I kind of messed myself up with my choices of part time jobs while focusing on my internship hours. I say this is because I now work as a doorman at a bar & a hotel valet driver. In both of these jobs I need to remember people, such as regular clients or regular people to the bar, all while trying to remember my client caseload information. So far ive done OK, what I really need to watch my burn out to make sure that I don’t lose my mind.

And actually on that note, I should probably be getting some sleep so that I’m well rested and therefore better prepared to push off the possible oncoming effects of burnout.

Leave a comment

Posted by on July 14, 2014 in Burnout, CNEP 5375, Personal, School


Tags: , , ,