Dr. Katrina Harris
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Reflecting upon my journey to becoming a professional counselor has been an incredible journey of growth filled with various experiences and emotions. Through this journey, I have come to the understanding that anything worth having requires great sacrifice and nonstop commitment. The challenges that I have been presented with have been there from the very beginning of the program. I am originally from Ohio but I toke a leap of faith and established myself in a different area independent of my family. I was not really sure of what I would endure but I made the best decision for myself and I don’t regret it. Through the program I have learned, as counselor we will not be given every detail which in that case our clinical judgment will be used in order to make the best decision possible. Another challenge is realizing that there is no perfect client. Each individual is diverse and unique in their own way. To overcome, I have come to a true understanding that no matter what theory is being used the foundation to building a working relationship is empathy, unconditional positive regard and congruence.
The structure of the program is what I really respect and admire. The design from my prospective is breaking you down but in the process building you up. The program gives you a foundation for professional and personal life. The biggest challenge I faced was dealing with my “own stuff” in the words of Dr. Hoskins. How can we expect results from our clients when we haven’t addressed our own issues? Never in a million years did I expect to actually have to face my own issues. In Spring 2014, I was placed at WestCare Women’s and Children’s facility for practicum. I was very scared because I knew I would hear stories similar to what I had experienced as a child. The way I overcame that challenge was actually admitting to myself that this issue needs to be addressed and it’s time for change and healing. I continued with this process by seeking out counseling and finding a home church in Las Vegas. My experiences helped me recognized that growth is a continual process. The world changes daily and it is inevitable that we experience change with it. Through those methods I have witnessed incredible growth within myself but I do realize I still have room to grow. The other challenges are self-doubt, constant questioning, confidence, and self-advocating. Honestly, I have not overcome all of these challenges but I have taken some necessary steps in order to address my issues. Self-advocating was one of the most challenging yet fulfilling things I have experienced in this program. I have experienced not feeling like I was being heard and that my needs were not being met as a counselor in training at my site. I had to realize that if I don’t speak up nobody will. I had to actually voice my concerns with my site supervisor and be straightforward. As a result things changed for the better. Self-advocating is important throughout life both personal and professional. To me, it means realizing my strengths, needs, goals and knowing my rights and effectively communicating them in a manner in which they will be met. All of this correlates to what we are being taught in the program specifically in our internship class.
As I progress and move into internship one of my major