In February of 2014, I left a government job in order to complete a Master of Education degree specializing in clinical mental health counseling. Because I took my coursework piecemeal, as I got my classes paid for by my former employer, when I left the job to address those remaining degree requirements, some of the courses I needed were not available. It’s taken me until now to complete my degree work. Other requirements remain to be met in order to obtain licensure, but the degree work is done and I graduated yesterday.
I didn’t walk in the graduation ceremony because I’d left it too late (early March) to reserve a room in a local hotel (mine was a distance-learning course of study) and all the acceptable hotels in that city were fully booked. What I did, instead, was take a bike ride in the morning through some of Stepford’s better neighborhoods. My wife and son had gone strawberry picking at a nearby farm, so I had the morning to myself. In the late morning, I again rode out to the soccer fields across town to watch my son play in the local youth league. He scored two goals in the game.
Friday before last, 24 April, I finished up my internship at a locked geriatric psychiatry unit in a nearby town’s hospital. I’d worked there from 5 December 2014 to complete two sections of internship, all that I lacked to complete my degree program. Oddly enough, the unit has no true mental health counseling program. Instead, it has social workers who (and they work, constantly) provide any counseling; they are primarily concerned, however, with discharge planning. While on the unit, where I served a 100 hour practicum during Fall 2014 semester, then carried on, more or less straight through the new year to the end of this semester, I also assisted with discharge planning as well as administering a depression scale for older adults and conducting fairly extensive background interviews with patients and family, as well as facilitating group sessions and providing individual therapy. Although not initially a fan of Solution Focused Brief Therapy (finding it extremely formulaic), I found that persons whose dementing process had progressed to the point where they cannot tell the day, their age, or even where they are can very frequently respond appropriately and meaningfully to SFBT stimulus queries.
Already, I miss the social workers and nursing staff on the unit – they treated me like a valued colleague and taught me much that will be of use in other work, the patients, the unit’s doctor and the unit’s psychiatrist. They all contributed to my education in ways I value. Now the great task is finding remunerative employment and obtaining licensure.
Also, during April, I lost an older cousin to lung cancer, but misread the email detailing his funeral arrangements and missed the service.
During the month of April, I continued to carry on as the Solitary Cyclist of Stepford. Here are a few of the photos I took on my rides – a number of these pictures were snapped with my super-cheap cellular flip-phone. The first row of pictures is from a ride I took through some of Stepford’s older districts, exploring some waste places.
This second row is from a ride in the country on the King of Bicycles, my beautiful Miyata 610 – Fairweather. I asked the octogenarian farmer repairing the barn whether he minded if I took a picture of my bike leaned up against it and he said, half-smiling, “I don’t care.”
The next row of phots is from another ride around lovely Stepford’s largely unknown waste places, this time on the Jamis Supernova.
And finally, from a ride to a scenic spot with the Supernova –