Study Smart: Quality Over Quantity

Posted by Robin Gluck

November 8, 2017 at 9:16 AM

In my last two blogs on test anxiety, I provided psychoeducation about the benefits of moderate levels of anxiety, as well as guidelines for how to utilize self-compassion to temper anxiety when it becomes debilitating. The goal of this month’s blog is to help you identify some common and unhelpful behaviors you may be engaging in when anxiety gets the best of you, and identify strategies to shift away from these behaviors and instead prepare for your exam more effectively and confidently.

I have a long history with anxiety and can vividly recall instances both in college as well as during my time preparing for my own licensing exams when anxiety got the best of me. A common sign that anxiety was winning out was, rather than focusing on the task at hand, I would find a hundred and one distractions to focus on instead—and I would actually convince myself I was being productive. I know I am not alone in using this tactic; it is something I see happening regularly with those preparing for their licensing exams. So, I thought it would be helpful to provide some tips to help you recognize if this is a pattern you are engaging in and, if so, some useful tactics to shift your focus back to more effective studying habits.

Imagine for a moment that you’re back in graduate school and your professor gives the class an assignment to write a term paper. How would you proceed? I imagine you would first choose the topic, develop an outline to organize your thoughts, go to the library or locate articles online that address the subject, write your paper and turn it in. Easy, right? Now, imagine instead of this streamlined process, you instead chose your topic and then proceeded to locate one article after the next, then reached out to experts in the field, talked with friends about the assignment, then found more articles, then did more research and instead of writing your outline, you continued searching online for more articles because you felt what you had was inadequate, you were uncertain where to begin, what you wanted to write, or had insecurities about your ability to write the quality paper you expected of yourself. In the second scenario, the deadline would arrive and you would have all of this information, but no coherent plan or paper to turn in.

bigstock-Books-3763891

I have to say; just writing the latter version above caused my anxiety to spike. This type of behavior is a good sign that anxiety is getting the best of you—rather than focusing on the task at hand, anxiety tells you that what you have is not enough, and that you need more and more. It prevents you from staying focused and using your time efficiently and effectively. This method will make it harder to sit down, write the outline, and complete the paper; you are inundated with information that is difficult to sift through and you have spent a substantial amount of time on unnecessary tasks that did not move you closer to your goal. And, because you’ve used your time inefficiently, you will have less time to engage in self-care, including exercising and socializing with friends and family.

There are several variations to this manifestation of anxiety when it comes to preparing for your exams—it could be that you avoid studying all together, or you begin to study and instead search the internet, snack on foods when you’re not hungry, clean the house- the list goes on. The good news is, it’s easy to detect when you are engaging in these types of behaviors and once you recognize them, there are clear steps you can take to shift away from this pattern and toward a healthier approach to your studies.

Acknowledge anxiety’s presence. Take a pause and acknowledge the presence of anxiety and how it is affecting your ability to prepare effectively for the exam.

Try to understand the cause of the anxiety. Identify why it exists. It’s safe to say that a large reason the anxiety exists is because you have integrity and care about the outcome of this exam and your ability to advance in your profession; that’s a great thing. However, there are likely other reasons at the root of your anxiety that would be good to understand. Take a few minutes to answer the following questions:

  • What is your history with taking exams? Do you have minimal experience taking multiple choice exams? Has it been a long time since you’ve taken a multiple choice exam? Have you traditionally struggled with this format?
  • How have you organized your studies? Did you create a clear study plan to follow? Is the study plan practical based on competing demands for your time and energies?
  • What support systems do you have in place? Do you have a study partner, and if so, is it a good fit?
  • Are you active on social media groups? If so, how is your involvement affecting you? Do you find the posts on these groups helpful or harmful?
  • If you are on social media or discussing the exams with friends, how does their opinion of the exam’s level of difficulty impact your anxiety? How much are they studying and does this add to feelings of pressure-feeling like you are not doing enough compared to others?
  • Are there external pressures impacting you? Does your employer have expectations?
  • Are you over-studying? Are you spending too much time and energy on your studies and not enough engaging in self-care and finding balance? Are you wondering if your study program is enough and trying to find more and more material?

By understanding the answers to these questions, you can begin to directly address the underlying cause(s) of the anxiety.

Slow down. Take some time to build a practice to increase your ability to manage the anxiety more effectively. While some of the issues identified above may require outside support to be addressed effectively, you can immediately begin to engage in building a mindfulness practice to slow down the anxiety. We’ve recently added some great blogs to help you build this practice. You can utilize these, or utilize your own techniques.

Welcome to Meditation

Loving Kindness Meditation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Reevaluate/restructure your study plan. Take concrete steps to adjust your study plan to address any concerns you’ve identified above. For instance, if you are studying with a partner and find it increases your anxiety, consider shifting to studying on your own. Or, if your study plan currently has you studying 5 days a week, but you work full-time and are also balancing family life, study fewer days per week and plan to take a few additional weeks to prepare.

Ask for help. If you feel your anxiety is interfering with your studies, ask for help from those best suited to address your concerns. TDC has coaches available not only to answer questions about the test materials, but to help you with your studies before you go down a rabbit hole. Rather than overwhelming yourself with too much information, attending multiple workshops, spending more and more of your time, energy and resources, check in with a coach to identify the most effective ways to address your concerns. It could be that you need additional support, but maybe it will be an easy fix. That is why we are here! If your anxiety is debilitating and you do not believe it is something you can address on your own or goes beyond the scope of coaching, speak with a therapist.

When Amanda Rowan initially worked with test-takers, the common mode of preparing for licensing exams was by reading through stacks and stacks of books, literally! People would spend month after month reading detailed information on the names and numbers of legal codes, memorizing minutiae that would never be tested, and putting their lives on hold until they took their exams. Therapist Development Center’s exam prep programs were born out of the idea that the information needed to pass the exam could be streamlined, engaging, and that we could provide you with enough content and practice to take the exam all while still taking care of yourself. Rather than becoming overwhelmed by excessive amounts of information, our program provides a clear study plan and coaches to help when needed. And while this approach does not completely eliminate test anxiety, it can help quell it significantly! And remember, a little bit of anxiety is actually good!

Still haven’t signed up for an exam preparation program? Our structured, straightforward approach to exam prep will provide you with exactly what you need to pass your social work exam or MFT exam and nothing you don’t. You can learn more about our social work licensing exam prep or our our MFT licensing exam prep by clicking one of the links below.

We have a 95% success rate and look forward to helping you PASS your exam with confidence!

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

 

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, LCSW Exam Prep, Social Work Exam Prep, MFT Exam Prep, LMSW Exam Prep

Answer and Rationale for FREE Practice Question on Treatment Planning

Posted by Robin Gluck

October 19, 2017 at 10:26 AM

Yesterday's FREE practice question featured the topic of treatment planning. Today we have the answer and rationale for you!

bigstock-Couple-Discussing-Problems-Wit-105454238-1.jpg

QUESTION:

A therapist meets with the parents of a 16-year-old boy who was recently suspended from school after being caught with alcohol on campus. The parents share that their son has been fighting and abusing alcohol for several years. The father cries as he expresses his sadness and frustration, noting his son’s behavior has caused a serious strain in his relationship with his wife and that is why they are seeking therapy. The wife nods in agreement, sharing their lack of intimacy and constant arguing that she hopes to address through therapy. The wife states, “our son had a difficult childhood because his sister was constantly sick and he didn’t get the attention he needed. My husband is too hard on him, he treats our son terribly.” Which of the following goals should be included in the treatment plan for this case?

A.Improve problem solving and conflict resolution between parents; Refer parents to Al Anon; Increase intimacy between parents

B.Improve problem solving and conflict resolution between parents; Refer son to Alcoholics Anonymous; Increase levels of empathy between parents

C. Increase positive communication within the family; Refer son to Alcoholics Anonymous; Increase levels of empathy between parents

D. Increase positive communication within the family; Refer parents to Al Anon; Increase intimacy between parents

The best answer for this question is A.

The question is asking which goals should be included in the treatment plan for this case. This question is not only testing your ability to identify appropriate goals for therapy, but also is ensuring you are able to understand who comprises the treatment unit. The parents are in the room and although they are having problems with their son, he is not part of the therapy and thus goals should not focus on him. The issues presented by the parents include arguing, lack of intimacy, and conflict due to their son’s behaviors. Answer A directly addresses the parents expressed concerns about their relationship and a referral to Al Anon, a support group for family members coping with loved ones abusing alcohol, would help them to understand how alcohol abuse affects their family and their relationship. Answer B and C both include referrals for the son, which is inappropriate since the son is not part of the treatment unit. Answer D includes a focus on improving communication within the family, but again this is incorrect because the entire family is not working with the therapist.

Which answer did you choose? Does the rationale fit with your understanding of treatment planning and how you would work in the clinical setting? Or did you learn something new with this scenario? If you have any further questions feel free to check in with a TDC coach. We are here to support you all along the way. And if you came up with the same answer-great job! You are right on the right track to getting licensed.

Still haven’t signed up for an exam preparation program? Our structured, straightforward approach to exam prep will provide you with exactly what you need to pass your social work exam or MFT exam and nothing you don’t. You can learn more about our social work licensing exam prep or our our MFT licensing exam prep by clicking one of the links below. If you’d like to connect directly with one of our coaches, you can do that HERE.

We look forward to helping you PASS your exam with confidence!

 

 Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

 

 

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, Practice Questions, MFT Exam Prep

FREE Practice Question: What to Include in a Treatment Plan?

Posted by Robin Gluck

October 18, 2017 at 9:23 AM

Our practice question blog a few weeks ago explored the topic of assessment. As we discussed then, therapists must conduct thorough assessments at the onset of therapy to understand why their clients are seeking treatment and what they hope to achieve in addition to managing potential crises. Armed with the information obtained through a thorough assessment, therapists are able to collaborate with their clients to develop comprehensive treatment plans, the subject of this week’s free practice question. Similar to assessment, treatment planning is an ongoing and dynamic process. What appears to be indicated at the start of therapy may change as clients’ needs change and treatment moves in unanticipated directions.

Treatment planning is a broad category, which includes identifying the treatment unit, developing short and long-term goals, identifying, accessing and collaborating with adjunctive services and community resources, and takes into account the therapist’s theoretical orientation. When taking your licensing exam, you can expect to encounter a large number of questions testing your ability to address the various components of treatment planning based on the information provided in the vignette/question stem.

With all this in mind, let’s look at this week’s practice question.

bigstock-Couple-Discussing-Problems-Wit-105454238

QUESTION:

A therapist meets with the parents of a 16-year-old boy who was recently suspended from school after being caught with alcohol on campus. The parents share that their son has been fighting and abusing alcohol for several years. The father cries as he expresses his sadness and frustration, noting his son’s behavior has caused a serious strain in his relationship with his wife and that is why they are seeking therapy. The wife nods in agreement, sharing their lack of intimacy and constant arguing that she hopes to address through therapy. The wife states, “our son had a difficult childhood because his sister was constantly sick and he didn’t get the attention he needed. My husband is too hard on him, he treats our son terribly.” Which of the following goals should be included in the treatment plan for this case?

A.Improve problem solving and conflict resolution between parents; Refer parents to Al Anon; Increase intimacy between parents

B.Improve problem solving and conflict resolution between parents; Refer son to Alcoholics Anonymous; Increase levels of empathy between parents

C. Increase positive communication within the family; Refer son to Alcoholics Anonymous; Increase levels of empathy between parents

D. Increase positive communication within the family; Refer parents to Al Anon; Increase intimacy between parents

So, what would we do here? Leave your answer in the comments below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for the answer and a discussion of the rationale!

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

more

Topics: Marriage Therapy, MFT, Family Therapy, Exam Prep, Practice Questions

Answer and Rationale for FREE Question on Record Keeping

Posted by Robin Gluck

October 6, 2017 at 11:59 AM

In honor of TDC's launch of our new continuing education courses, yesterday's practice question explored the legal issue of record keeping. Today we have the answer and rationale for you!

bigstock--189659989

QUESTION:

A therapist worked with a couple for several years following mutual infidelity. The couple separated after two years in treatment and is in the midst of divorce proceedings. The husband requests access to his records. What actions should the therapist take to address the legal issues presented in this case?

a. Inform the husband that the records belong to both the husband and wife and would require a release of information from both.

b. Request a written release from the husband and turn over all of the records, but redact information deemed detrimental to the wife’s well-being or therapeutic relationship.

c. Determine how access to records would affect the therapeutic relationship and the well being of the husband and wife.

d. Inform the husband that records belong to both the husband and wife and request the wife sign a release.

Answer:

  • The best answer to this question is A. The husband is requesting records, but the client is the couple and the therapist would need both members of the treatment unit to authorize release of records before doing so.
  • Answer B is too limiting in what would be redacted. Without a release from her, the therapist would need to redact all information for the wife, not just information that could be detrimental.
  • Answer C would be an option if an individual were requesting records, but that is not the scenario provided in this question.
  • Answer D is incorrect because the therapist is requesting the wife sign a release, which is inappropriate. Answer D would be better if the answer had the therapist asking the wife what she would like to do in response to the request, but the therapist should not request the wife sign a release.

This topic is explored in much greater detail in our second CE course and our social work and MFT programs prepare you for all of the legal and ethical questions that could show up on your exams!

Which answer did you choose? Does the rationale fit with your understanding of the law and how you would apply it in a clinical setting? Or did you learn something new with this scenario? If you have any further questions feel free to check in with a TDC coach. We are here to support you all along the way. And if you came up with the same answer-great job! You are on the right track to getting licensed.

Still haven’t signed up for an exam preparation program? Or have you already passed the exam and need to complete your continuing education requirements? Our structured, straightforward approach will provide you with exactly what you need!

You can learn more about our social work licensing exam prep HERE, our MFT licensing exam prep HERE, and continuing education courses HERE. If you’d like to connect directly with one of our coaches, you can do that HERE.

We look forward to helping you PASS your exam with confidence!

 

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, Professional Development, Continuing Education

Announcement: BBS ESL Accommodations Are Back!

Posted by Robin Gluck

October 6, 2017 at 8:12 AM

 

bigstock-Make-your-announcement-Mixed--188795527

It’s official! After many years of advocacy from professional associations and practitioners in the field, the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) once again offers accommodations for English as a Second Language (ESL) test takers!

To qualify for this accommodation, the BBS requires you to meet one of the following criteria and to provide accompanying documentation:

1. Score of 85 or below on the Test of English as a Foreign Language, Internet-Based Test (TOEFL-iBT), taken within the two (2) years prior to application

· Required Documentation: Your TOEFL-iBT scores must be sent directly to the Board from the Educational Testing Service (ETS), or you may attach them in an envelope that has been SEALED BY ETS.

2. Prior ESL accommodation granted by your qualifying degree program

· Required Documentation: Attach a letter from the chair of the degree program or from the school’s chief academic officer.

3. Degree program that qualified you for licensure was obtained from a school outside of the United States AND at least 50% of the coursework was presented in a language other than English

· Attach a letter from the chair of the degree program or from the school’s chief academic officer.

The BBS form can be found here:

http://www.bbs.ca.gov/pdf/forms/esl_specaccom.pdf

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, LCSW Exam Prep

FREE Practice Question: Record Keeping

Posted by Robin Gluck

October 5, 2017 at 11:59 AM

This week, we are excited to expand TDC’s professional development opportunities for therapists with the launch of our first continuing education courses. This first set of courses focuses on the laws and ethics of our profession. In honor of these courses, this week’s free MFT practice question will explore the legal issue of record keeping. More specifically, we will examine who has the right to access client records.

bigstock--189659989

When it comes to working with couples, record keeping is more complex than working with individuals. Some therapists try to simplify the process by maintaining separate files for each member of the treatment unit, with one record for partner A and another for partner B. However, this may not be advisable since the client is the couple and all treatment goals and case notes will pertain to the dynamics within the treatment unit. Thus, it would make more sense to keep a single file for the client (the couple) with this file containing information regarding both partners. It is important during the informed consent process to make this policy clear to your clients.

If you maintain a single client file, what happens if one member of the treatment unit wants to access the records? Since the records include information about more than one person, you would need to take steps to ensure confidentiality is being protected adequately for all members of the treatment unit. There are two options available to a therapist in this case. To meet the legal requirements of confidentiality, you would either want to set a policy that requires each member of the treatment unit to sign an authorization of release before sharing records with either party OR you can provide records to one member of the treatment unit with only an authorization of release from that member, but you must then redact (black out) all information related to the other member(s).

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the question.

QUESTION:

A therapist worked with a couple for several years following mutual infidelity. The couple separated after two years in treatment and is in the midst of divorce proceedings. The husband requests access to his records. What actions should the therapist take to address the legal issues presented in this case?

a. Inform the husband that the records belong to both the husband and wife and would require a release of information from both.

b. Request a written release from the husband and turn over all of the records, but redact information deemed detrimental to the wife’s well-being or therapeutic relationship.

c. Determine how access to records would affect the therapeutic relationship and the well being of the husband and wife.

d. Inform the husband that records belong to both the husband and wife and request the wife sign a release.

So, what would we do here? Leave your answer in the comments below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for the answer and a discussion of the rationale!

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

 

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, Professional Development, Continuing Education

Answer and Rationale for Practice Question on Assessment

Posted by Robin Gluck

September 23, 2017 at 11:59 AM

 

bigstock--125508848

On Friday we posted the following question on assessments, and today we have the answer and rationale for you!

A 50-year-old male client meets with a therapist on the advice of his husband. The client shares that he has been out of work for almost a year, losing his job after his company completed mass layoffs. He reports feeling discouraged by his job prospects, feels lost without a place to go each day, and feels increasing hopelessness with each passing month he is unemployed. He states, “I feel completely useless and am questioning the point of it all. I feel completely dependent on my husband and I know he’s sick of being the sole breadwinner.” Which of the following actions should the therapist take to assess this client?

A. Explore job history, identify existence of somatic concerns, identify familial coping patterns

B. Explore job history, determine current risk of self-harm, explore support systems

C. Explore mental health history, identify existence of somatic concerns, explore coping mechanisms

D. Explore mental health history, determine current risk of self-harm, explore coping mechanisms

This question provides information that should raise a red flag regarding the client’s safety and influence the therapist’s priorities for assessment. First, the client reports he is feeling hopeless and helpless, and makes the alarming statement, “I feel completely useless and am questioning the point of it all.” With this in mind, let’s look at the answer choices and evaluate which answer choice is the best.

Answer:

The best answer for this question is D.

The question is asking which actions the therapist should take to assess this client. With this type of question, it’s possible several answer options include items we would want to assess, but we need to prioritize what is most important in this case. We’ve already noted that the client’s expressions of hopelessness and helplessness should raise red flags regarding danger to self. The client is expressing thoughts and feelings that are indicators of potential suicidality. Client safety is our priority and we must immediately assess for risk of harm to self. If an answer does not include a focus on the client’s risk of self-harm or suicidality, we can eliminate it. Therefore, answers A and C can be ruled out. This leaves us with answer B) Explore job history, determine current risk of self-harm, explore support systems, and D) Explore mental health history, determine current risk of self-harm, explore coping mechanisms.

A strong consideration when assessing risk is the client’s prior mental health as well as the coping mechanisms available to the client. These two items included in answer D would help the therapist better understand the client’s level of risk based on prior mental health AND help the therapist identify strategies to manage safety. While there is nothing inherently wrong with answer B, the client’s job history is not as important a factor to consider, making it the weaker answer choice between B and D.

Which answer did you choose? Does the rationale fit with your understanding of assessment, or did you learn something new with this scenario? If you have any further questions feel free to check in with a TDC coach. We are here to support you all along the way. And if you came up with the same answer-great job! You are on the right track to getting licensed.

Still haven’t signed up for an exam preparation program? Our structured, straightforward approach to exam prep will provide you with exactly what you need to pass your social work exam or MFT exam and nothing you don’t. You can learn more about our social work licensing exam prep HERE and more about our MFT licensing exam prep HERE. If you’d like to connect directly with one of our coaches, you can do that HERE.

We look forward to helping you PASS your exam with confidence!

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, Practice Questions, Suicide Prevention

Free Practice Question: Assessment

Posted by Robin Gluck

September 22, 2017 at 8:39 AM

bigstock--125508848.jpg

For this week’s MFT practice question, we explore the subject of assessment. If you are preparing for your licensing exam, whether the Law and Ethics or Clinical exam, you can expect to see multiple questions on this topic. The importance of conducting a thorough assessment cannot be overstated. Comprehensive assessments are necessary at the onset of treatment to help clinicians understand why their client is seeking treatment, what their client hopes to achieve, if any crisis issues are present and require attention, and ultimately allows them to develop an effective treatment plan. Knowing when to assess and what the priorities of assessment are will both be tested on your exam.

A crucial goal of assessment is to identify and properly manage potential crises. Therapists are legally and ethically required to both assess and manage their clients’ safety. Therapists put themselves, their clients, and sometimes even the public in harms way when they fail to identify and explore potential safety issues. It is important to note for both your exam and your clinical practice that assessments are not a one-time deal. Therapists are expected to conduct assessments when first interacting with a client and over the course of treatment. Clients are dynamic. Priorities and needs shift over time, and without continuously assessing clients, it will be hard (if not impossible), to best meet their needs. Therapist Development Center will help you understand how to approach these questions on the exam AND will allow you to carry this knowledge into your clinical practice.

Let’s move on to this week’s question:

A 50-year-old male client meets with a therapist on the advice of his husband. The client shares that he has been out of work for almost a year, losing his job after his company completed mass layoffs. He reports feeling discouraged by his job prospects, feels lost without a place to go each day, and feels increasing hopelessness with each passing month he is unemployed. He states, “I feel completely useless and am questioning the point of it all. I feel completely dependent on my husband and I know he’s sick of being the sole breadwinner.” Which of the following actions should the therapist take to assess this client?

A. Explore job history, identify existence of somatic concerns, identify familial coping patterns

B. Explore job history, determine current risk of self-harm, explore support systems

C. Explore mental health history, identify existence of somatic concerns, explore coping mechanisms

D. Explore mental health history, determine current risk of self-harm, explore coping mechanisms

The answer and rationale will be posted at noon PST tomorrow! We encourage you to post an answer in the comments section below or on our Facebook page (you can also post your reasoning behind your answer choice!). Then check back in tomorrow for the correct answer and rationale explaining why the correct answer is correct and why the other answers are not correct.

Haven't signed up for an exam prep program yet? Our structured, straightforward approach to exam prep will provide you with exactly what you need to pass your social work exam or MFT exam and nothing you don’t. You can learn more about our social work licensing exam prep HERE and more about our MFT licensing exam prep HERE. If you’d like to connect directly with one of our coaches, you can do that HERE.

We look forward to helping you PASS your exam with confidence!

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, Practice Questions, Suicide Prevention

LCSW/LMSW FREE Practice Question: Suicidal Clients

Posted by Bethany Vanderbilt

September 13, 2017 at 9:37 AM

As you all know, September is Suicide Prevention Month, and here at TDC, we are using the month as a platform to begin conversations around this often-taboo topic. If you’re studying for your licensure exam, whether a social work exam OR a MFT exam, you’ve probably found that this topic is front and center. There’s a good reason for that: at some point in our professional lives we will almost certainly work with at least one client who wants to end his or her life. Our state boards and licensing organizations want to ensure that as competent professionals we can recognize the signs and symptoms of potential suicide, assess for it accurately, and take the necessary steps to help our client’s stay safe.

Our study systems help prepare you for this topic in a number of ways: we provide concrete information on danger to self and others, risk factors, signs, behaviors, how to evaluate the level of risk, and a spectrum of interventions that will be reflected on the exam. We also provide numerous practice questions with rationales that help you think about this topic from all angles.

Let’s get into a practice question that looks at this topic:

SAMPLE QUESTION: 

bigstock-Old-male-hands-on-a-table-in-a-18863801

 

A 66-year-old man is referred to a social worker by his adult daughter. During the initial assessment, the man reports poor sleep, decreased appetite, and increased feelings of agitation and restlessness after being laid off from his job. He goes on to tell the social worker that “things just seem to keep going downhill since my wife died a year ago.” What action should the social worker take FIRST:

A. Refer the client to an MD to rule out any medical issues

B. Teach the client relaxation skills to help him sleep

C. Ask the client if he’s having any thoughts of suicide or self harm

D. Normalize the client’s feelings of grief and loss

So, what would we do here? Try to help him with concrete issues? Address the potential for medical problems? Leave your answer in the comments below and be sure to tune in tomorrow for the answer and a discussion of the rationale.

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep, LCSW Exam Prep, Suicide Prevention

MFT Success Story!

Posted by Heidi Tobe

September 11, 2017 at 8:54 AM

Last month we shared Yves Domond's successful journey using the Therapist Development Center to pass his master's level social work exam after failing the exam four previous times. This month we are excited to share our interview with Caroline Moreno who recently PASSED her marriage and family therapy exam to become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist!

Image[1].png

Caroline Moreno graduated in 2014 from California Baptist University. She's had a passion for helping people as far back as she can remember. Caroline shares that her journey to getting licensed "has been a very interesting one to say the least." She is glad that despite some bumps in the road she was able to follow through with this process and make her dream of becoming a LMFT come true!

TDC: How did you find the Therapist Development Center?

Caroline: I heard about Therapist Development Center back when I was in grad school. Then a couple years later, once I was ready to take my exams, my co-workers at the time were using the program and shared how helpful it was.

TDC: Had you taken the exam before? 

Caroline: I had taken the test once before. The first time I took the exam I definitely let anxiety get the best of me. Not only was I anxious about taking the test, working full time did not make it any easier to study. It was difficult to incorporate studying into my personal life.

TDC: What did you like about the Therapist Development Center’s approach?

Caroline: What I liked about Therapist Development Center’s approach was how user friendly it was. Like I had mentioned before, when you work full time it can make it difficult to study. With TDC you can set up your own schedule and figure out how long you need to study. Another thing that I liked about the program was that they do not overwhelm you with a bunch of study material. The material is very specific and the lectures that go along with it make it easier to comprehend the concepts. The best part about TDC is even if you do not pass the exam the first time, they will restart your program at no charge. They truly work with you to ensure that you will pass.

TDC: Did you use any other prep materials?

Caroline: I personally did not use any other prep materials, but I had friends that did. When looking at their material even I became overwhelmed for them. They were sent packets of papers and books with no direction. Most of them complained that they had no idea where to start because they were sent so much material.

TDC: How long did you study with TDC materials and what did your studying look like?

Caroline: It took me about 4 to 5 month to study because I decided to go at my own pace. After contacting TDC and telling them that I would be retaking my clinical exam they recommended that I go over the whole program. I am going to be honest, I did not want to go through all the material, but I am glad that I did. I studied about 3-4 days out of the week. I utilized my city library to study because I found that there were fewer distractions. I really focused on areas that I felt were my weak points. I listened to the lectures more than once until I felt comfortable with the concept. Even though I was focused on studying, I made sure to incorporate self-care into my routine. For me that was hanging out with friends and family, going to concerts, and doing whatever I found fun. This helped because when I felt myself burning out, doing something fun was a refresher and made it easier to go back to studying.

TDC: Did you utilize coaching at all? If so, tell us about that experience and how it impacted your studying.

Caroline: I had a great experience with the coaches at TDC. Whenever I had a question, a coach would contact me in a timely manner and give me a detailed answer. The coaches are encouraging and I truly felt like they were genuinely there to help me pass.

TDC: How did you feel while taking the exam after using TDC materials?

Caroline: Before entering into the testing center, I parked my car and took a couple of minutes to myself. I listened to one of my favorite songs that motivated me (Eminem-Lose Yourself), said a quick prayer, and told myself “You got this.” This helped me get my anxiety out. Once I was inside taking the test I felt confident, because I knew that I knew the material. There were times where I started to second guess myself, but I remembered what TDC said about feeling like you will be failing the test, and being comfortable about being uncertain. This helped because you normalize the feeling before taking the test. The exam is truly a marathon. By the time I reached question 100 my brain was tired, but once I got up and took my break I was refreshed and ready to pass the test!

TDC: What do you think made the difference to help you pass this time?

Caroline: My mindset definitely was the difference between me passing and the previous time I took it. The first time I took the exam I had a lot going on personally. I had just been laid off, my Mom had a major surgery, and I just felt pressured to take the test. I went in telling myself "I am not going to pass" because I did not feel ready. The second time around I made sure that I was mentally and emotionally ready to take the test. I had a job that was supportive of me studying and my friends and family were understanding of the process. I made sure that I was going to take the exam on my own time and kept a positive attitude.

TDC: What were the best and hardest parts of the licensing journey?

Caroline: The best part of the licensing journey is the experience. You learn so much being an intern and working with different environments and people. When you finally get licensed it is like a weight is lifted. It is also a surreal feeling because you start to think back to all of the sacrifices you have made to get to that point and realize that everything was worth it. Even though sometimes being an intern can be a stressful journey, I know that every little step made me a stronger therapist. I am just grateful that I also had some fantastic people that helped me on the way.

TDC: How is your life and career different now that you've passed?

Caroline: Now that I am licensed I feel like the sky is the limit! Being licensed allows me to be a little more independent, which is always exciting. Since I am newly licensed I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for me!

TDC: Do you have any advice for people studying for this exam?

Caroline: My advice for people studying for this test is RELAX! There are going to be times when you feel overwhelmed, but do not forget to live your life. Do not let this exam take over. If you set up a realistic schedule of when you can study and follow through with it you will be fine. Surround yourself with positive people and think positively going in. You can do whatever you set your mind to. Good Luck!

TDC: Anything else you'd like to add?

Caroline: Everyone’s experience is different when studying/taking the exam. Find a routine that works for you and never compare yourself to someone else. You will PASS the test if you study at your own pace and in your own way. TDC is there to help you do so!

We at TDC are so excited for Caroline! Whether you’re studying for the first or the tenth time, we encourage you to sign up for TDC today and join the thousands of social workers and marriage and family therapists who have successfully passed their licensing exams using TDC. To read more about social workers who have successfully used TDC to pass their licensing exams, click here. To read more about marriage and family therapists who have successfully used TDC to pass their licensing exams, click here.

Social Work Exam Prep Programs     MFT Exam  Prep Programs

more

Topics: MFT, Exam Prep

Subscribe to TDC Blog

Recent Posts