Graduate School and Balancing Life

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Observation of counseling session on “Graduate School and Balancing Life”

After completing the second lab session, I am going to be a counselee, studying for a Master’s degree in psychology and working as an assistant teacher for children with special needs. That is why I am experiencing stress, which is mainly caused by my work specifics and the educational process.

I am in my thirties. I am from Jamaica, where my parents still live. My mother raised me alone and I do not know her (my) father. My parents still maintain good relations and are in contact with each other. I have two brothers with whom I have good relationships. I have never been married and do not have children. I do not go out on dates or with friends.

The counselor (Asante) suggested I think about going out with my friends or making new ones in order to release stress and become more opened. No one in my family has ever been diagnosed with mental illness or has ever been noted to suffer from anxiety. There is also no history of substance abuse, domestic violence, or sexual abuse in my family.

My job is a complicated one and requires high rate of responsibility. Unfortunately, I do not get a significant help from my coworkers. To my opinion, my colleagues completely do not care about the things that they need.

I have got a Master’s degree in education and, consequently, I have received a special education teacher’s license. Now, I’m pursuing a second Master’s degree in school of psychology.  I feel frustrated due to the fact that some of the textbooks are on backorder. As a result, I’m falling behind the required reading and feeling overburdened with schoolwork. That is why I have asked one of my classmates to lend me her book for mastering the material, which is required for the educational process.

As I visited the counselor, she asked me a question concerning the factors which result in stressful situations for me.  My answer was that I have two classes and in these classes, I am experiencing stress because I have to write papers. On the other hand, in my job, I have to check the students’ papers. Usually, everything is done by students in the case of the audit. Such approach to the educational process is very stressful for me.

I am experiencing the chest pain, heart palpitations, and lower back pain.  However, my primary doctor diagnosed these symptoms as a result of stress and referred me to a counselor (Asante).  My primary doctor says that the core reason of my preoccupation is the constant need of balancing graduate school and my personal life. The best solution for this problem may be generated after I take a consultation concerning my problems from the specialist.  The doctor says that the consultation of the counselor will help me in managing my emotions and stress. 

The counselor asked me several questions concerning my history and current situation and helped me evaluate the core reasons and background of my problems. According to Hills (2009), in the case when the clients get insights, they see things from a new perspective and develop a new approach towards these problems. As a result, they are able to find interrelations between things and get understanding the core reasons of negative things, which take place in their lives. As an insight, a sudden feeling of “aha” occurs, which, in turn, may be compared to a light bulb going off (Hills, 2009).  I have found the interrelation between the things which are primary related to my stress.

From the client’s point of view and taking into account the counselor’s suggestions, I have made a conclusion that the core reason of my problems is hidden in the absence of communication with my father and in watching my mom struggle. As a result, the constant observation as a single woman’s life has given me a sense of stress in balancing my personal life.

According to the explanation of Hills (2009), “insight usually must be emotional as well as intellectual to lead action. In other words, the insight must be deeply felt as well as cognitively understood. Intellectual insight provides an objective explanation for a problem; it has a barren, sterile quality that keeps clients stuck in understandings that lead nowhere” (Hills, 2009).

That is why it is possible to make a conclusion that, in order to feel the insight deeply, there is a need for its mental understanding. While I was telling the counselor how I felt, I began understanding my problem of stress and finding the solutions of how to release my stress.

According to Hills, talks are very important in having insights: “The need to make sense of events is a fundamental to human beings as the need for food or water. They suggested that people evaluate internal and external stimuli in view of their assumptions about what is dangerous, safe, important, good, bad and so on” (Hills, 2009).

It is obvious that making assumptions of what is good or bad is natural. In my session with the counselor, I have started the exploration and evaluation of my own internal and external stimuli. Hills says that “it is usually to attain insight before moving on to action. If clients did whatever helper told them to do, with no understanding of or explanation for why these actions were important, they would not have a framework to guide their behavior when new problems develop” (Hills, 2009).

That is exactly the thing which helps the client understand the problem and assimilate it. If the client does not understand the core reason of the problem, then whatever the counselor advices, nothing suits or helps the client. The client will consider it as something one has to check.

The counselor suggested and recommended I pursue more interests outside of work in order to release some of my stress. She said that I needed to spend more time with friends. I also told the counselor that I had already looked for a stress management class, which would be held in Woodhull Hospital. In addition, this class is free of charge and that suits me fine.

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