You feel inadequate - and thats typical I expect - probably because you #1. have no experience yet. #2. are not quite sure what will be expected of you. #3 realize the importance of doing a good job. (this is good). A graduate degree would be great - BUT - does'nt ensure you'll be an effective counselor. There are many people in the mental health field ,working directly with patients, with nothing more than a high school diploma. Sure, those with degrees get higher pay, better job titles, an office maybe, and more clout with administration. One thing I've noticed - the higher the degree' the less time you actually spend with patients.(this is not a good trend!) Unfortunatly' children do not save their "problem behavior's" and needs for their scheduled visits with the professionals. Children need consistant therapeatic interaction with the adults careing for them.Remember, children are not born as trouble makers and with behavior problems. As adults,we create them. Yes,many are born with more sensitive nervous systems and certain learning "disorders", but even these children probably did'nt get the proper parenting. What you need to have , beyond your education, is a sincere desire to see these kids get what all children MUST have. (Consistancy, unconditional love and respect, adults who do what they say, listen to them- hear them, role models and a way to learn to trust.)And you must have patience, patience, patience. If you go on to work now, see that you are able to provide these things ,along with your education thus far, you wil be a much needed asset. You may want to go on and get the graduate degree anyway. Be careful not to rely too much on theory. Let the child steer you toward his needs. If you decide to wait on the grad school, you can (and should) do some reading up on specific diagnoses and treatment etc on what your seeing in your program. Always be gentle, learn to be firm at the same time and be prepared to work very hard.
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