Early Career Committee report

Conducting therapy with clients is not the only route to growth for young clinicians

By Ruchira Gulati, MS

The Early Career Committee is pleased to offer the first in a series of short articles by young clinicians. We will be highlighting early career professionals, their current jobs and experiences. This first article is written by Ruchira Gulati, MA, MS, who works for the Erikson Institute (Early Childhood Project with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services). She will be graduating from the MSW program at Loyola, December 2012. She is a member of the Early Career Committee for Division 39. Her account of her work is below:

It is often assumed that most young clinicians spend the first few years of their careers doing therapy with clients. I have had a slightly unorthodox trajectory as a young clinician, having been given an early break in my career to train in clinical administration for a program that was part of the child welfare system in my city.

This opportunity to use a psychodynamic lens when working with individual staff or groups, and also to evaluate the program itself, has been an asset in my clinical training. It has helped me obtain a deeper understanding of the complexity of the pathology and the range of issues that clients bring to our program. This experience has also helped me to appreciate the interplay between individual and system issues, to recognize, for example, parallel processes that individual clinicians and the program as a whole are in danger of reenacting when they are dealing with the foster care population. It has further solidified my appreciation for the importance of clinical supervision in protecting the health and integrity of clinicians within a direct service program.

Trusting the concept of 'following the process' and recognizing transference-countertransference issues has been a guiding light for my training to do clinical supervision. It has helped me to explore and get comfortable with the boundaries between supervision and therapy, challenged me to get comfortable with my own anger (a very important part of clinical training) and allowed me to confront and respond to difficult borderline affects that sometimes get acted out by staff in programs that serve disturbed clientele within a well-intentioned butdysfunctional system.

As an early career clinician, providing psychotherapy is an integral component of our training. However, I have learned that using a clinical lens when doing other roles within our field can also be significantly enriching and a growth enhancing experience for a young clinician's development.

Monthly Telephone Meetings

The Early Career Committee hosts monthly telephone meetings, and is working on numerous projects in order to serve the early career professionals of Division 39. Some of these include developing a workshop, "How to build a private practice", for next year's 2013 Spring Meeting. We are also creating division awards, liaison experiences, and mentoring programs for our members. If you have any questions or comments, please contact our co-chairs: Marilyn Charles, PhD ABPP and/or Heather-Ayn Indelicato, PsyD.