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Step 4: Personal and Professional Intersection

Now that you have identified personal and professional goals you would like to achieve, put them together to explore their match. Is there consistency in what you want and what you will need to do to get there? Think about the intersection, for example, of your lifestyle preferences. How will working as a counselor help you to obtain and maintain this lifestyle? Write down a few comments to help you further explore this concept.

Find a friend you trust, and talk with this person about the process you just engaged in, including the goals you identified. Research shows that when people verbalize their goals to another person, the goals become more real and there is a sense of accountability to work toward them. This conversation is intended to help you organize your thoughts and reactions, clarify your personal and professional goals, explore how your goals fit with one another, and identify steps that you will need to take to move toward achieving those goals.

After you have talked it out with your friend, self-reflect (purposefully, of course!) individually in a quiet space. Recall the past goal from Step 1: What did you learn from the process of accomplishing this goal that will help you identify what you will need to do to achieve these newly identified goals?

In the lines below, write down one career goal, which may or may not be related to counseling programs.

My career goal is: _

The steps that I can take now to work toward this goal are:

  • 1)_
  • 2)


Remember, self-reflection is a process, much like applying to graduate programs. As you continue reading, keep self-reflecting on the knowledge you gain. We have provided more space for self-reflection at the end of this chapter that you can use to keep your notes together. If you find that writing your reflections is helpful, you might even consider using a notepad that you can keep on hand when you have other revelations and reflections.

The next chapter covers the ins and outs of not only searching for graduate counseling programs, but also comparing programs and finding the "perfect fit.” Consider how the information being presented intersects with your personal dimensions as well as the personal and professional goals you have for yourself. Imagine yourself in various types of programs. Keep track of the program characteristics that seem most important to you and make time to purposefully self-reflect on these items once you finish chapter 6.


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