Sunday, February 19, 2012


Here is a recent Tweet from my Twitter friend Dr. Mason:

 Dr. Erin Mason Dr. Erin Mason @ecmmason
Most go into #schoolcounseling bc you already see self as advocate. What's one thing u want to advocate for when ur in the field? #CSL521

I have more to write then what the 140-characters Twitter allows.  So, here comes a blog post.  Usually I ponder and percolate with these things. Not with this.  It was kind of there just waiting to be expressed. So, thanks, Dr. Mason.

I segmented this metamorposis into three stages of my own personal development:  1). Reason for entering grad school, 2). Freshly minted mindset of a Graduate, and 3). What I believe at this precise moment.

Reason for entering graduate school
I was disenchanted with what I was doing, coupled with feeling compelled by the desire to have the same impact on kids which I experienced while growing up.  I was fortunate to have many adults willing to take me under their wing, kick me in the rear as was sometimes necessary, and encourage me during my formative years.  They included a coach, a few teachers, and church leaders.

Upon graduation 
It was genuine, but rather vague: Help prepare young people for a future in which they may experience success. That's it.  Not much to go on, I know, but that's it.

Today, this is where I believe my advocacy resides
Intrinsic Motivation - I'd love for kids to do stuff because they want to do it and because it is in their highest interest.
Understanding - I want young people to know about how things --desires, emotions, beliefs-- work, the cause and effect of their thoughts/actions, and what makes their 'self' tick.
Process of Change - Awareness of how changing happens naturally, not forcefully or that which is placed upon you.
Passion - Discover it.  Unleash it.  Wake up each morning to share all that you have to offer.

This is how I want to advocate and will do so for each person who I find myself in their midst to the best of my ability.  Each young person arrives with a unique life story, baggage they carry with them, limited/extensive background knowledge and experiences. Perhaps, what I strive for is to remove the obstacles from their path so as to clear the way for them to grow unencumbered.

Or, maybe, this captures what I am looking for when I now think of advocacy---as Shakespeare so elegantly penned, My heart is ever at your service.

Thanks, Dr. Mason, for nudging me to reflect.  Now it is your turn to comment, #CSL521.  I'd love to hear from you.  Please share your Counselor Mindset at this point in your career!


  1. Great post. I can't help but find myself agreeing with so much of what you said, although not the graduating part since I'm not there yet. I especially liked your comment about "removing the obstacles from their path so as to clear the way for them to grow unencumbered." My counselor mindset is that I want to help the students reach their full potential and be their fan when they think no one is rooting for them. I am looking forward to having a meaningful career where I help students :-)

    1. Thanks so much for your kind and thoughtful comment. First off, enjoy your time in school. The pure essence of collaboration from grad school is something I miss. And having a mentor like Dr. Mason is/will be influential. Great point you make about being there for students when they think no one is in their corner. It is vital for kids to have an adult in their school-life who can help instill a sense of worthiness and foster a positive connection. Rebecca, if there is anything I can ever do to help, please give a holler.

  2. I love your post! Since I do not have the part of the journey upon graduating, I am reflecting from the perspective of still being in graduate school. Passion is the guiding force in how I am shaping my journey. I "wake up each morning to share what I have to offer," in all aspects of my life. Although I have interaction with children as infants in a daycare and tutor an eight year old, if I can built a strong relationship with them and strive towards a successful future, than I can safely say that I am making a contribution in their lives. Despite my advocacy being on an individual level, if I can make a small change in a child's life than I know that given the opportunity, I can rise to the occasion.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Mary. All the hands-on experience you can get at honing your craft is essential. Putting yourself among day care kids and 8 year olds certainly is diverse and helps you to shift gears developmentally. That is a good thing to practice. I'd say your passion/energy is one of those qualities that filters through to others and has the potential to be a powerful change-agent. Continue putting yourself out there. I wish you well.

  3. I love your thoughtful approach of advocating for one's unique "organic" growth versus advocating for a specific cause. My draw towards a career in counseling stems largely from a personal, life changing struggle with an eating disorder so naturally I am extremely passionate about awareness and prevention. I have learned in my training and moreso this quarter, about the importance of working for all students and advocating for the whole. Your post resonates this theme as well. Although I plan to focus energy on ED awareness and prevention through groups, I can also apply the concepts more generally and less literally. I hope to help identify and manage student's struggles (whatever those may be) that prevent them from living fully and positively in their teenage years and beyond.

    1. Thanks for your openness and willingness to share your story. You may not think it because that is just who you are, but putting yourself out there to be vulnerable does take courage. Your keen sense of awareness and focus on prevention lends itself to naturally being proactive. Stephanie,I look forward to following your work in helping young people to live fully and positively.