Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ritual #27 Contact Someone from Past


My mother in law, Denise for my ritual wanted me to contact someone from my past, thank them, and let them know what impact they have had on my life. I thought about it for a bit and feel that if it wasn't for my amazing supervisor Elaine I don't know if I would be where I am today. I was just out of school and was working as a nurse at the VA when finally my graduation/degree went through. I interviewed for a social work associate position at the VA after encouragement from the unit social worker who gave me a good referral. I interviewed with Deborah, Elaine, and Bob who was the head of the social work deparment at the time. Deb and Elaine were really supportive while Bob was a little more intimidating. I felt immediately at ease when either Elaine or Deb directed a question at me. I left them with my portfolio not knowing how the actual interview went. When I came back to pick up my portfolio, Bob actually told me that it was enthralling. Hoping that was a good sign I left for home. After I got home my mother in law called me to tell me I got the job! She worked in HR so was one of the first to know. No one knew that I was dating Brian at the time. She told them that I was her future daughter in law, and they were surprised. So I feel good that I got it on my own.

Elaine was always so reassuring and supportive. I would bring my worries and questions to her and she would always make time to be receptive. My anxiety evaporated when I was around her and I increasingly started to grow some confidence in my skills and decision making. She was always there though if I was full of self doubt on a case or even if I had a personal concern. She had a way about her where she could see right through to the problem at hand, address it, while making everyone feel good about the decision. She encouraged me in my development and motivated me to work on any weaknesses without any severe criticism. She saw my strenths too when I didn't always see them and always would tell me that I was a good social worker. It was a very caring and wonderful environment to explore and grow in myself. Debbie my other supervisor, was also great as she was sharp witted, funny, and more into the clinical side of things. We could discuss cases and she was a good one to let out steam with. With both of them I felt that I had the complete package.

When I moved out to California it was quite a shock to be in the "real world." I was expected to do a lot of things on my own in my new job as a social worker. I had to run unit life instead of going to monitor which what I had been doing before. The support I received from Elaine gave me the confidence that I could do it. I called her the first few months I was out and got great support and advice from her.

Even though I decided to not pursue a higher degree in social work, Elaine has been supportive the whole way through. She was one of my main referalls to get into grad school and I couldn't wait to tell her I was accepted, and then when I graduated.
She still sends Christmas cards and we still correspond through email now and then.

I am still so grateful to have met her and know that looking back I will always see her as one of the most influential people I met while building my career.

This is what I recently emailed her but think I might send her a more thorough email detailing everything I wrote above.


Wanted to let you know that I finished my Masters in Clinical Psychology. I am officially a Marriange and Family Therapist Intern and registered with the board! Now just about to take the next step. Updating my resume and will try to get a job in the mental health field.

Thanks so much for all of your support. Don't know if I would be here right now without you and your encouragement.

Thanks and hope you and your family are well!

Theresa Journeau-Collins M.A., MFTI


That is wonderful news! I know you will make a great marriage and family therapist. I knew you were a very special person the as soon as you started working in social work service. Years ago I was fortunate to work with a wonderful family psychologist at Bedford. She and Don Nadeau were involved in starting the psychoeducational program for families of loved ones with a major psychiatric illness. Your personality reminds me of her! I know you will find a job that you love. How is Brian? When Mark and I watch NCIS, I remember you telling me that Brian was an extra on that show. I stlll love working here at Boston VA in the dialysis unit

I love the emphasis on the clinical. Please keep in touch….. Take care, Elaine

Just from that email you can see how special she is. We meet angels in our lives that guide us where we are supposed to go. Look out for the angels in your lives and let them know how special they have been to you.

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