Transitional Transformation

What’s the difference between transition and transformation? I’ve heard transition defined as meeting some external criteria whereas transformation means undergoing fundamental internal change. For example, when the BBS taps you on both shoulders with the license and dubs you “Therapist,” this is a transition. But overcoming self-doubt and inexperience so you can sit comfortably in the room with clients, secure in the belief you may be of service, that’s a transformation!

In other words: Transition is about doing. Transformation is about being.

I think of getting credentials (degrees, licenses, certifications) as transitions. I see gaining expertise as transformation. This is an important distinction! Credentials merely qualify me to practice. Expertise qualifies me to succeed. In the world of licensing boards, credentials are mandatory, but expertise is optional. As proof, I invite you to consider your fellow licensed drivers.

Remembering the difference between credentials and expertise actually helps me. Rather than feeling like a burden, it keeps me mindful. The track to licensure is intensely focused on rules and structure. It’s easy to get so buried under the onslaught of BBS regulations and paperwork that clinical work with clients becomes that thing I do between case notes, intakes, supervision and studying. I experience mantra-shift and start to think: To be a therapist, I only need to be licensed.

That’s when mindfulness comes in. I think of credentials and expertise. This helps me value my clinical time and remember that in order to be the therapist I want to be, I must remain vigilant, present and attend to both.

Achieving the credential meets my need. Enhancing expertise feeds my passion!

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