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Career changes later in life

Thursday, June 21, 2012

There comes a time in many of our lives that we decide to make a career change. This is something that I have done a couple of times as I have transitioned from the military to financial services and finally into a mental health-related field. As we go through life, our interests change or sometimes they logically evolve into other directions. Although some fields, such as real estate sales, seem to attract people as a second or third career, I’ve seen this same phenomenon with many people in mental health. First, they receive training and education in another field and then later develop an interest in psychology or counseling. This transition into the related helping and healing professions is a quite logical move. You may ask why?

Having a varied background in such diverse areas such as political science, philosophy, corrections, law enforcement, engineering, the military, real estate, insurance, and financial advisement, one may wonder why I eventually gravitated toward the role of a practicing clinical hypnotherapist and educator. When I look back, from the time that I had to counsel young soldiers and officers only slightly younger than myself, interact with others in bureaucratic settings, and then attempted to advise couples about their finances, I quickly became fascinated with the human mind.

For instance, as a newly minted MBA with a specialty in finance, I was often dismayed as to why some people would not or could not bring themselves to automatically follow my well-founded advice. It seemed that their inability to achieve their goals or to correct the many problems that they had caused was not because I was inadequate or they feared that I would lead them astray. Rather, their inability to succeed financially was more due to issues lodged deep in their personality. Therefore, it became clear to me that understanding the psychology of my clients was an area in which my heretofore training was substantially inadequate.

My journey into the field of hypnotherapy started while I was about midway through the process of becoming a Certified Financial Planner. First, I became interested in Neuro Linguistic Planning as a way to handle my learning challenges and further my career goals as a financial advisor. Then as the multi-year NLP training progressed, I began learning more and more about how these new skills could be used to understand the minds of my clients. After I was later exposed to the real nature of hypnosis, I was open to an opportunity to study hypnotherapy and later enrolled in a doctorate program. While it seems that I started that journey rather recently, actually it was several decades ago. And, even in the interim, I’ve continued refining my interests and finding new avenues that intrigued me.

My story is very similar to that of my guest this week on “It’s Your Life.” Debra Warner, an intern Marriage and Family Therapist (and also one of my students), decided after almost two decades in the medical field, to pursue a masters degree in counseling. Once enrolled, she decided to focus on marriage and family counseling. And, a year into her practice, she further refined her interest by deciding to focus on working with the impact of individual trauma. Of course, most people who work in her field do so as private practitioners. This brings the additional challenges of setting up, marketing, and running their own business. Luckily, her previous experiences gave her an advantage. Unfortunately, many young mental health clinicians first starting out have no experience or training in business development or management.

Join us tomorrow at 9 a.m. (Central US) as I explore with Debra Warner, the challenges of starting out as a marriage and family therapist. The interview will be aired locally in Anniston on WDNG News Talk 14.50 AM and through the Listen Live link on WDNG.net.






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