Emerging from graduate school and entering the male-dominated world of psychiatry can be a daunting experience. Mindpath Health’s Anna Marie Boyd reveals why finding the right mentors can encourage us to follow our intuition and develop our own therapeutic identities. See highlights below or read the full article in Psychiatric Times here.
Still fresh in my career, the world is evolving like a moving freight train, and the process of finding your voice as a therapist is certainly a process. In graduate school, most of us are offered countless theologies, approaches, and specialties to consider as a part of our approach to the therapeutic relationship.
Graduate school also consists of internships that encourage you to try out different populations that further author your methodology and therapeutic philosophy. We are finding our place in this world and developing our identity as therapists. Post-school, many emerging therapists are limited due to the never-ending credentialing processes where you work as an “intern” beyond school.
Entering the workforce is where you start to learn your work preferences and style. Through this process, clinicians continue to forge their therapeutic identity. My training began in the world of drama therapy and New York University, where I was drawn into the somatic experience of healing. I have worked in inpatient and outpatient settings, and even started my PhD in mind-body medicine.
Throughout my journey, there have been a few voices that have encouraged, supported, and walked with me through self-discovery.
My former colleague-turned-manager who is a licensed professional counselor was always a sounding board to my curiosities and exhibited such enthusiasm for my passions. She will be a bridesmaid at my wedding in a few months. Her spirit never exhibited anything other than unconditional positive regard and encouragement, sprinkled in with hard truths regarding life and decision-making.
My supervisor always held me accountable for asserting clear boundaries for myself as a woman in a male-dominant organization. She reminded me to check in with my comfort level with certain clients and encouraged me to follow my intuition.
My current clinical director embodies a symbol of my future aspirations. She is around five years further into her career, and her role in the clinical workforce is clear and concise. She embodies a warmness that feels welcoming, and she stands firm in her position of leadership.
As I observe the women around me who have played a part in shaping my professional identity, I am humbled to reflect on the kindness they have offered. Without these women, I cannot imagine where my journey would fall. For that I am grateful, inspired, and hopeful for women clinicians across the globe.
My story is just an example of how female connection can create space to dream, grow, and serve those around us with a gentle heart.
Ms Boyd is a licensed professional counselor at Mindpath Health, a registered drama therapist, a registered yoga teacher, and a PhD candidate in mind-body medicine.