By Danny W. Pettry II, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, CTRS-BHS
Professor Acha Goris at Linsey Wilson College (Ashland, Kentucky campus) told our class of graduate students “everyone has issues,” when I was a Mental Health Counseling graduate student (sometime during 2010 to 2012).
A human being without issues would be fake.
One of my colleagues in the program, asked, “What about Danny? He doesn’t have any issues.”
We all have past baggage.
Danny: “I replied saying, I have a lot of issues. They’re called comic books.” Laugh aloud. I do read graphic novels from time to time.
The truth is: everyone has issues. I’ll disclose a few of mine here.
- Mental health: As a child, I suffered with separation anxiety (from my parents until I was about 13.) I also have Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
- Speech: I had speech therapy until 6th grade because I couldn’t pronounce the constant R sound. I finally learned to put the GRR in my Tiger (instead of a gor in my tigor).
- Intellectual: I had a learning disability. I had taken additional classes from elementary to high school for reading. My ACT was only a 12. I had to take three English classes and two math classes during undergraduate school that didn’t count towards my degree due to low ACT scores. These included classes like Math 99; Math 100; English 98; English 99; and English 100 before I could even take the basic Math and English classes required for my undergraduate degree.
- Interpersonal: I was a loner. I didn’t talk to many people during my elementary through high school years because of my anxiety.
Growth mindset: Anyone can make improvements in their life with dedication and practice.
Sometimes my (Danny Pettry’s) patients (kids and teenagers) say, “Danny’s always happy. He never gets mad.”
I let the children and teens know that I’d be fake if I was always happy. I let them know that I’m happy most of the time (about 75 to 80%). I let them know there are days when I feel the full range of emotions. I let them know that I still treat them (the kids/ teens/ patients) with
It’s important for those of us in helping professions like recreation therapy to be self-aware.
Practitioners need to be aware of their own issues in so they aren’t triggered by their client’s issues.
Countertransference is a term used in counseling when a professional transfers emotions to a client.
The client might remind the professional of a friend, family member, or someone who brings back uncomfortable memories. The client is not the same person. The professional must be self-aware and prepared to provide ethical services.
It’s important for recreation therapists to be aware of their own issues or diagnosis and be responsible for their own health and healing.
Questions to consider:
What are your issues in life?
How are you effectively dealing with these issues so they don’t interfere with your professional services?