Hey guys!!! As some of you all know, I have taken and passed my exam to receive licensure as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. This means that once I have completed hours of supervised work I will be able to officially practice on my own! Yay! Today I want to take some of you all through this journey with me. I want to explain how self doubt and negative thinking can almost hinder you from achieving your goal, even with sufficient evidence.
The exam consists of 10 simulations each varying in topics, needing about 15-18 minutes to complete. Most of the information you learn throughout college and if you have been practicing you know that this is not how real therapy works. Textbook therapy is like HA! Many clients look at you like bruh -_-. Anywho, I had to do a ton of studying, and the entire time I was telling myself I would fail. And that my whole life depended on my ability to pass this exam, so then my life would be over. I had a sense of hopelessness before even stepping into the exam room.
So, while studying for this (life or death) exam, I had to relearn things like interventions, the DSM V front and back, as well as theories. I came across Erikson, now I have learned this but it meant nothing to me before (like throw the whole textbook away). Erikson’s theory is an expanded version of Freud’s psychoanalytic theory in that there are specific stages of development throughout life that are influenced by psycho social factors. For the sake of this post I will not discuss Freud’s infatuation with sexual drive, nor will I bore you. Ok, Erikson theorized that there are stages:
- Oral Sensory: Age 0-1 Feeding, weaning, this stage is when you learn trust and mistrust
- Muscular/ Anal: Ages 1-3 Autonomy v. Doubt, this stage via toilet training is where you are to gain hope and will
- Locomotor: Ages 3-6 Initiative v. Inadequacy, Independence and Purpose
- Latency: Ages 6 -12 (pay attention this is important) Industry v. Inferiority, this is the stage in which we navigate through school and gain competence.
- Adolescence: Ages 12-18 Identity v. Role Confusion, influenced by stage of life, you learn peer relationships, and fidelity
- Young Adult: Ages 18- 40 Intimacy v. Isolation love/ work/ family influence the outcomes
- Middle: Ages 40-65 Generativity v. Stagnation able to guide, caring
- Maturity: Ages 65- Integrity v. Despair this stage you are expected to understand meaning beyond you, and gain wisdom.
I provided examples of all the stages because someone might find meaning depending on their stage in life. These stages and the goal are in response to what things are going on around you, and what crisis that contributes to our psychosocial growth. The stage I want to focus on is Latency; this stage is where you gain your confidence. Children also are more competitive during this stage. They want to prove that they can do what other kids are doing. When they are successful at a task, they develop self-confidence. However they feel they are inferior to others, if they fail. Most people are bullied during these years teaching them self doubt and self hate. One stage shapes how you go through each stage. I was abused during these years in my life. So if we are to assume that Erikson’s theory was correct, this is why I lack self confidence no matter what accomplishment I achieve and always feel inferior to others.
Imagine you are trying to navigate your confidence and learn how effective you are while learning that you have no control. How can one be confident when someone spreads a rumor about how you’ve lost your virginity? I imagine that during this period these people were going through their own phases, finding their place and value. I don’t know what anyone else has gone through during this stage that clouds their world view but I hope this provides insight.
The best part of all of this is that the phases are until you give your last breath. This means that the next phase offers hope for change. It is through my young adult phase that I have met the most amazing friends who have become family. I have begun my own little clan and am so proud of myself. It allowed me have people around me to reaffirm how great I am and put to shame my negative thinking about myself.
Back to the Exam: How I passed, on every page that I took notes on I wrote down every person’s affirmations about me. “You got this” you’re already great” “take your time” “breathe” I knew that in those moments I wouldn’t be able to fight it on my own. So I needed ya’ll to help me combat the negative thoughts. I even imagined the faces.
I hope this helps anyone navigating through a difficult life stage. If you need clarity about a particular stage I am happy to provide more information. Thank you for allowing me to educate and share.
For the Culture.