Magic Moment Memo September 2016

What Endorsement Means to MEendorsement-thumbs-up-girl

Clinical counseling is my second career.  I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to transform my passion for empowering women in the workforce, inspired during my Human Resource Director days, to empowering Early Head Start and Head Start children and families.  Completion of my Master’s degree and the hours required to receive my license as a Professional Counselor (LPC), were no easy feats as I juggled the responsibilities of a demanding family, parent care and meaningful friendships.  My reward has been being present with children and families as they triumph over the challenges of emotions, behaviors, trauma, relationships and parenting.

In the beginning, I was uncertain that I was properly applying my graduate education.  Many times I rely on my instinct.  As each year passes, and many families trust me with their most vulnerable obstacles, allowing me to observe, play, support and recommend change for their children, I realize that what I do is holistic, taking all from my experiences, education, training, exposure to theory and colleagues, all that is me, to offer a family a chance to look at their pattern of living differently.  Often, I validate what is occurring is a “normal” developmental expectation when asked, “What is wrong with my child?”

In April 2013, I attended the launch meeting for an endorsement for infant mental health professionals in New Jersey.  I professionally identified with the description of Mental Health Mentor Clinical.  AND who doesn’t want additional letters after their name!  What I found in completing the EASy application was unexpected and a complete surprise.   I analyzed the courses I had taken, realizing how much they provided in my foundation of knowing INFANT MENTAL HEALTH.  I gathered all syllabuses of the trainings I was so fortunate to participate in and matched them to the Endorsement Competencies.  This exercise gave me a view of all the theory and practice knowledge that fuels my work.  The greatest professional reward was the understanding that my professional supervisor had been providing Reflective Supervision in our meetings for a decade.  My surprise came when I realized not all infant mental health professionals have this opportunity!

In being endorsed IMH E®IV-Clinical Mentor, I see a mural of faces that give pride and meaning to the work that I do.  I see the children (many of their names will always be with me), parents, early childhood educators, fellow counselors, my supervisor and, now, many KBCM training participants who rely on the endorsement for my ability to integrate the Infant Mental Health Competencies in every day of my professional life.  That’s what IMH Endorsement means to ME.

Jean Budd LPC, NCC, IMH E®IV-Clinical Mentor

President, NJ-AIMH


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