I recently had lunch with a female friend. She and I first met through a church I used to attend. In catching up since we had last seen each other, I found myself reflecting upon just how much my professional life has changed over the past several years.
In the summer of 2016, I was approved for full disability benefits. This was an enormous relief, given the severity of how my multiple chronic conditions were impacting my life. It also served as the trigger for the onset of severe depression.
I had tremendously enjoyed my work as a clinical psychologist, specializing in health psychology. Not doing so left me feeling completely robbed of the ability to use my many years of traning and experience.
Beginning in late 2016, I occupied my time with pursuing my artistic interests. I explored the creation of polymer clay jewelry for the first time. In 2017, I had amassed a sufficient quantity of jewelry to open a shop in a local small business co-op. Despite enjoying having the time to explore my creative side, I really missed working as a clinical psychologist.
Consequently, in 2017, I decided to pursue my licensure as a New York state psychologist. I had previously been employed as a clinical psychologist in Illinois, for more than a decade. During the late summer of 2018, I became licensed as a New York clinical psychologist.
In the late fall of 2018, I started working part-time as a clinical psychologist again, providing services in a nursing home. I also taught an Abnormal Psychogy course at a local university. These positions were my first positions since I had stopped working in February 2014.
During the spring of 2019, I again taught General Psychology, plus worked for two nursing homes. I devoted more attention to my blog. By this time, I had amassed hundreds of entries. As a result, I decided that I had enough material to actually write a book.
Fast forward to the summer of 2019: I added a second nursing home to my employment positions. In the fall of 2019, I found myself teaching both Abnormal Psychology and General Psychology, plus continuing to work one day per week in a nursibg home. In November of 2019, I published a book regarding my dual experiences with coping with chronic illness, as both provider and practitioner.
During the spring of 2020, I taught General Psychology again, plus continued to work in two nursing homes. COVID-19 entered, and the world turned upside down and inside out. I found myself unable to see my nursing home residents in person, so I explored teletherapy as an option, with my same employer.
By the summer of 2020, I explored the option of joining an online counseling platform, given the exponential increase in the demand for psychological services due to the global pandemic. I joined an online platform, and quickly built a robust caseload.
By the fall of 2020, I was permitted to return to the two nursing homes where I has previously worked. I was doing this concurrently with providing teletherapy. I found myself enjoying the convenience of not having to commute to work. COVID-19 persisted.
During the winter of 2021, I experienced the deaths of several of my residents to COVID-19. Given my shrinking caseloads at two nursing homes, I placed more emphasis on building a practice online. In the spring of 2021, I added a second online counseling position, to diversify my income stream.
Today, I find myself working full-time, for three different organizations. One involves seeing nursing home residents weekly, plus maintaining a small caseload of outpatient clients for the same organization. The other two positions involve providing varying amounts of teletherapy sessions for online platforms.
I’m simply amazed by how very much my professional life has changed in the past five years. My personal life has also experienced significant changes during this same time frame, but that’ll be the topic of another blog to write.