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The most important thing I learned in graduate school would have been a very easy sentence. I will always bear in mind my professor Dr. Lawson saying, "You are the therapy."
"What the heck did that mean?" I thought.
What he meant was that my therapy originates from my experience. It also meant what I learned from life could be the medicine that I would bring to people. It stuck outside in my head as a result of conviction in their voice when he said it. At that time I had definitely not learned enough about counseling to learn how much of your guiding principle this may be to me. I knew that I was attending graduate school for counseling psychology because I felt God leading me for the reason that direction. I was also trying to hide the guilt from my past. I was trying to keep it from my psychology teachers...
I would have been a little paranoid. I thought many times to myself that maybe they were on to me. I just knew they were secretly diagnosing me. Could they normally use their secret psychology powers to uncover the things I had done in my previous Non Accredited Colleges In Florida "experiences?" If they learned would believe that less of me as a Christian, or as a student? Ok, that's enough self -disclosure. You might learn a lot of about me if you keep nagging me this way. Ok, fine. I'll show you.
I became aware of your verse in Romans also it changed my life. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that God causes all things to work together once and for all to those who love God, to those who will be called based on His purpose." I was immediately conscious that Paul, who wrote this passage, struggled together with his own sin, and he would have been a prominent writer of New Testament books. If Paul could struggle together with his own life story and become certain that God was using his life to point out to Jesus, then who am I to state that God couldn't use my life to point out to Jesus? This made Dr. Lawson's point hit home to me.
Now, as a therapist and as a teacher, I draw on my life stories to normalize what people reveal in therapy and class. I don't want individuals to be paranoid about my "secret psychology powers." The truth is I'm at the very least as broken because they are. I have days where my wife tolerates me, and my daughter just isn't impressed with how I push her around the swing. But one thing I have found is just being genuine with my wife and my daughter works a lot better than trying to be perfect or trying to hide behind coming across perfect. Also as a teacher, I find that people relate with my stories of needing stuttering problems as a teenager (until I was about 21 really). They like to listen for that I was suspended from college (twice, but who's counting) for bad grades.
People appreciate a humble one who has learned from mistakes, greater than they respect an egomaniac. They would much rather hear that I was broken for many years, after which made a dramatic turnaround. So when I discuss overcoming failure while attending college, the storyline doesn't lead to me quitting school. I turned from my sinful choices, after which went on to make straight A's throughout the most Non Accredited Colleges In Florida and graduate school. When I think back to my times of failure, commemorate my current situation seem unreal. How does a stuttering, kid who can't motivate himself enough to actually make an appearance to his classes, go on to make straight A's in graduate school? How does he turn into a licensed talk therapist after which marry a speech therapist?
Because... God causes all things to work together once and for all, to those who love God, to those who will be called based on His purpose. It's a far better, plus more real story as opposed to letters behind my name would lead you to believe. Billy Barnett MS, LMHC.