I've just completed my 2nd class in my graduate school counseling program and the final question asked by Instructor Yost is below followed by my response. I thought it would be fitting to post here on the blog.
In light of emerging trends in psychotherapy, discuss what your life as a therapist may look like in 15 years. Describe the kinds of clients you may see, the ways you may practice!e, and the professional environment in which you may work.
Karen's Answer: (I will be 59 in 15 years, fyi)
Oh the times, they are a changin’…
Stolling through Costco the other day, I stumbled upon a nifty black leather studio sofa where one end of it could elevate making for a great napping cot. Reminded me of something Freudian, circa 1940, that could have been used by a highly respected psychotherapist! I think those days are behind us. What I do see in 15 short years is a society in great need of what psychology has to offer and a disheveled healthcare situation which will require creative genius to meet the demands of a growing and diverse population. (If you have Rosetta Stone-Spanish, now would be the time to learn it.)
Postmodern thinking has taken aim at the very institutions that once made our society what it is today: religion, marriage, family, a culture of life, the protection of the innocence of childhood, the protection & respect for the elderly, etc. As a result, we are nearing an age of advanced secularization, where abortion, rampant drug and alcohol abuse, objectification of the human person, euthanasia, loss of personal integrity and spirituality etc. will have caused a decay so great that we may be on the verge of a collective nervous break-down.
I do not like to be gloomy and do not claim to have any prophetic abilities whatsoever (whew!). That having been said, it’s just my speculation that we will be seeing more folks who are depressed, are lost, have lost hope, are isolated and are overwhelmed. We will be watching more people attempt to ruin their lives with drugs, alcohol and newly engineered chemicals. We will need to be able to think on our feet. The need will be great and the healthcare dollars will be in short supply. People will need to be able to have access to brief therapy and work in group settings. Clinicians will need to meet people “where they are” by offering more flexible plans, office hours and location options. The eclectics will be increasingly popular because there is a trend towards more community-oriented psychologies which may give rise to approaches that are more spirituality-based.
I think in 15 yrs, I will be very busy working with post-abortive men and women and those who are chemically dependent. I would like to continue to work on a pet project of mine that involves high school girls in Title I schools in AZ in helping them to experience their true beauty as human beings. I think it would be lovely to have a book deal worked out by then so that I can subsidize my counseling practice (said with tongue firmly implanted in cheek :-)). I will go wherever I'm supposed to go...that's the deal I worked out with my Higher Power.
Though I’ve painted a very grim picture, I do believe that in times like this, special people with unique talents are called to meet the challenges that are before us. I remain eager to be of service to those who suffer…that’s why I’ve always wanted to be a counselor in the first place; in season or out of season.
On that note, it’s been my pleasure to journey through the counseling theories with you. I have learned so much from all of you and have truly enjoyed reading your thoughtful posts. Honorable mention goes to Team Nickel…you guys rock. I hope to cross paths with all of you again soon.
Respectfully yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays…