Laura Blair is a military spouse who participated in Give an Hour’s Military Spouse Mental Health Profession Network. Now a Licensed Counselor, Laura shares with us her story about the challenges of being affiliated with the military, of becoming licensed as a clinician and why she chooses to give back through Give an Hour.
Tell us a little about your journey and affiliation with the military. Have you had to move often? What are the exciting parts? What are the challenges?
My dad retired as a Senior Chief from the Navy when I was a kid. My brother is in the Navy. My husband recently retired as a Chief in the Navy. Growing up, I did not have to move at all. My parents homesteaded and my dad moved around the same base in Virginia for as long as I can remember. I left Virginia in 2011 and met my husband in Nevada. We only made 1 active duty and 1 retired move together, but I worked hard to get licensed – 3 states and 5 years later, I finally obtained my LPC in Colorado last year. (National licensure standards would be so amazing!)
What is your ultimate or current career goal? Why did you choose this career path?
I love being a therapist. I can’t think of a more rewarding and fulfilling career than helping people. I am currently working on my PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy with the hopes of teaching at the university level. I chose this career path because as a special education teacher, the focus was becoming less on the student and more on paperwork and accreditation standards. As a therapist, I get to make my own hours and do what I love. It doesn’t feel like a job.
Thinking on your supervision, can you comment on some of the positives, and some of the barriers when working towards licensure- maybe even including how you have continued this relationship!
Positives: My state allows for distance supervision, which was super helpful when I was connected with my Give an Hour supervisor who was in Germany. Since ending our supervisory relationship, we have gone on to compete in a National Ethics competition together and have maintained contact as we also are students at the same PhD program.
Barriers: Each state has different requirements; thankfully, there weren’t too many hoops I had to jump through to move hours over to each new state, but from others I have met, this can be a daunting task, some even having to take MORE coursework (after already being licensed in another state) because the new state had additional requirements.
Another barrier my Give an Hour supervisor and I had to overcome was a time zone issue – obviously the time difference between Washington State and Germany is a few hours difference, so when she was ending her day, I was just beginning mine – which only allowed us to have a few time slots we could actually choose from. We made it work though.
What made you decide to “pay it forward” by joining Give an Hour as a licensed providers and offering to supervise someone else in the milspouse network?
I chose to pay it forward to others needing supervision because its what I do – I have always been a giver, and what better way than to promote the field/career I love, with people that I understand the struggles. I have paid THOUSANDS of dollars for supervision, so I know the cost struggle and if I can alleviate the cost factor for someone, I will always be happy to help.
To learn more about Give an Hour’s Military Spouse Mental Health Profession Network, visit http://giveanhour.org/initiatives-and-programs/military-spouse-mental-health-profession-network/