Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Makes it all worth it!

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the "counseling graduation" of one the clients I counseled during my graduate school practicum. About 2 weeks ago I received a handmade invitation inviting me to the "best graduation of all time" from a 9-year-old former practicum client of mine. I began working with this little boy over 2 years ago shortly after I began my internship at The Parenting Center. At the time, he was 7 years old and had endured some pretty tough things for such a little guy. When he started coming to see me, this little boy was struggling with the fact that his mom was sporadically involved with him and his little brother because of her drug problems, his dad (who he didn't know) was trying to come back into his life to get custody, and he was having problems making friends at school because he just didn't feel like he fit in. After I had been seeing him for about a month, his mother overdosed, and we then began some grief work to help him cope with such a huge loss. I did mostly play therapy with this little guy, and learned so much while working with him. I saw him most of the year that I was doing my practicum and he was then passed on to my site supervisor to continue working with him once I graduated.

As he began approaching termination, this little boy decided that he wanted to celebrate his progress by having a counseling graduation, and I felt so honored that he thought to invite me, even though it's been over 2 years since I worked with him! I attended his ceremony yesterday, which consisted of him, his little brother, his grandmother, his current counselor and me. I was so pleased to know that he now has many friends at school and has really come out of his shell, and is a much happier child. He also is excelling at Karate, which has given him much more self-confidence. Although he obviously still misses his mom daily, he cherishes the memories he had with her. It was such a rewarding thing to hear him talk about what counseling has meant to him and how it helped him. I have such a challenging job, and sometimes it's hard to see the fruits of the work that I do or ever feel like I am helping enact change in the clients I see. This was such an encouraging reminder that I am making a difference in the lives of my clients, even if I don't always know it!

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