Reflections On A Thriving Diverse Private Practice Career, with Counselor Candice Ericksen: Ep. 26
- Episode Topic:
In this enlightening episode of Mastering Counseling, we had the privilege of delving into the dynamic world of counseling and therapy with Candice Ericksen, a seasoned mental health therapist at Transcendent Bodhi Psychotherapy. Candice’s unique journey from an unconventional background to becoming a successful mental health therapist underscores the importance of adaptability and learning from life’s challenges.
- Lessons You’ll Learn:
Candice’s transformation from a licensed manicurist to a thriving mental health therapist highlights the significance of embracing one’s humanity, acknowledging flaws, and not fearing mistakes. Her insights emphasize the critical role of empathy, humility, and a non-judgmental approach in the counseling field, demonstrating her dedication to the values of a mental health therapist.
- About Our Guest:
Candice Ericksen, our esteemed mental health therapist guest, has transitioned from a licensed manicurist to a thriving mental health counselor. Currently serving as a school counselor and running a private practice, her diverse experiences, including working with veterans and inpatient psychiatric hospitals, have enriched her ability to connect with clients from various walks of life. Candice’s passion for holistic approaches, including metaphysical practices and energy healing, adds a unique dimension to her work as a mental health therapist.
- Topics Covered:
Throughout the episode, Candice shared her insights on adapting to the evolving concerns of clients, especially in the context of depression, anxiety, and ADHD, drawing on her experience as a mental health therapist. She emphasized the importance of self-care, humility, and empathy for aspiring therapists, offering valuable guidance to those entering the mental health therapy profession. Additionally, Candice discussed the growth of telehealth in her practice and how it enhances accessibility for both therapists and clients. Her dedication to understanding clients on a deeper level, coupled with her personal passion for metaphysical practices, enriches her holistic approach as a mental health therapist.
Our Guest: Empathetic Counseling with Candice Ericksen: A Journey to Well-Being
Meet Candice Ericksen, MA, LPC, NCC, SCL, a dedicated mental health therapist with a passion for helping people of all ages navigate the challenges of life. With a wealth of experience and a warm, empathetic approach, Candice has built strong connections with clients dealing with a wide range of behavioral health issues, including depression, anxiety, and attention deficit or hyperactivity.
Candice, our experienced mental health therapist, has gained invaluable experience in a variety of settings throughout her career in the mental health field. From working with homeless and transitional living communities to supporting at-risk children and teens in schools, her expertise knows no bounds. She has also provided care in an inpatient psychiatric hospital, served as a senior service officer for veterans at the Veteran Administration, and offered outpatient counseling services through telehealth. Candice’s licenses in both professional and school counseling demonstrate her commitment to providing comprehensive care to her clients.
Beyond her impressive career, Candice brings a unique touch to her mental health therapy practice. She’s a proud wife to a retired Marine and a devoted fur mommy. In her free time, she’s an advocate for self-care and enjoys indulging her love for crystals and all things metaphysical. Candice’s holistic approach to mental health makes her a compassionate and well-rounded mental health therapist who truly understands the diverse needs of her clients.
Candice Ericksen: If the person wants to include metaphysical Reiki energy or what have your chakras, they say it helps them and there is evidence that there’s a correlation between, if we include spirituality and or religion with our therapy. There is a higher percentage of healing.
Becky Coplen: Welcome to Mastering Counseling, the weekly business show for counselors. I’m your host, Becky Coplen. I’ve spent 20 years working in education in the role of both teacher and school counselor. Each episode we’ll be exploring what it takes to thrive as a counseling business owner, from interviews with successful entrepreneurial counselors to conversations with industry leaders on trends and the next generation of counseling services, to discussions with tech executives whose innovations are reshaping counseling services. If it impacts counseling, we cover it on mastering counseling.
Welcome back to your listeners, to another captivating episode of Mastering Counseling. I’m your host, Becky Coplen. And today we have the privilege of diving into the dynamic world of counseling and therapy with a remarkable guest who is also my friend. I’m thrilled to introduce Candice Ericksen, a school counselor and private practice therapist whose diverse experiences and deep insights have made her a true luminary in the field. And I was fortunate to, I work as a school counselor, and Candice joined our district about four years ago and she’s opened my eyes to so many things outside of the school world, and I’m just so thrilled that you would give the time today, especially in our final Friday before summer ends. So welcome, Candice.
Candice Ericksen: Thank you, love. Thank you very much.
Becky Coplen: It’s so good to talk to you. We are going to go in because Candice has a lot to share from her field. So we’re so glad you’re here. And let’s embark on your journey through your rich career as a mental health therapist. Can you share with us the path that you’ve been on to become not only a private therapist but also a school counselor?
Candice Ericksen: No, I had a path, what do I need to do now? So I never planned to be a school counselor. I never planned to be a therapist. I went to school to be a manicurist, and my Kaiser 12 school years were tough, so I went to alternative eds. I didn’t know what I was doing. All right, I guess this is what I’ll do next. And then so I didn’t really plan anything. But what led me to this, well, I got my associate’s and I said, well, I can’t do anything with this, and decided, well, I should get my bachelor’s degree. And I don’t know, I’ll go in psychology. I wanted to be a nurse. I wanted to be a teacher. And first, actually, I focused in education. And my husband is a retired Marine and we were moving a lot. So I couldn’t finish an education because we were going to move to Virginia and North Carolina and so forth. So I had to go to school online. So I decided to focus on psychology. After getting my bachelor’s degree in psychology, I said, well, I can’t do anything with a psychology degree, so I might as well get a master’s degree. And then I ended up with a dual license in school counseling and mental health therapy.
Becky Coplen: Love that story. And we’ve heard on some other shows that a lot of people had struggles in school or they went to college and it did not go well. And it was all part of the learning how to fail in moving along on this path. So thank you for sharing your honesty there. You’ve worked in many settings from homeless transitional living to inpatient psychiatric hospitals. How have these varied experiences shaped your approach to counseling and your ability to connect with clients from all different walks of life?
Candice Ericksen: That was by accident too. I’ll just say that when you are a dependent of someone in the military. Military comes first. It’s just what it is. I believe for the Marines, it’s God, country, family. So my career was not important. So really I was finding jobs. I could just make some money. I wanted to help people. I always knew that, but I didn’t. It just depended on the opportunities I had and the situation I was in. So I was like, okay, I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology. I guess I can help some homeless kids. And then again, dictated by my husband’s career, it landed. I then went to the VA. They said, hey, we need a psychologist or a counselor, can you help? And so the transferring from it’s just it’s weird how I landed in the VA and never thought I would do that. Never. And I did that for five and a half years, and I loved it. Then we leave again. It’s dictated by the military and we come back home to Michigan and then I need a job again. So. Okay, well, I can’t get into the schools, so I’ll stay with the VA for a little while. And then eventually I didn’t think I would work as a school counselor. I couldn’t get in. It was so difficult back then, but finally, I was able to get into the district and then I did that. So it’s weird. I jump into these positions based on what’s available and what situation I’m in at the time.
Becky Coplen: I love that. It’s like the military is so personal. And so that’s where you first started learning all these skills and helping people, which I’m sure have been through such tremendous things. So which I see that about you, you’re able to help anyone, no matter how difficult the road’s been. So that’s really cool to know about. We kind of already talked about you working with veterans. Do you have any examples or maybe more details where you’ve taken what you did there and you even see that working out in a school?
Candice Ericksen: I would say that human connection, it’s just universal. Having an understanding of pain and veterans, active military, the things that they’ve seen and they’ve experienced has definitely helped me with the human connection in all fields. I’ve have experienced with veterans possibly being a bit impatient. And I’ve noticed in our climate on the education climate that there’s an increase in parents having a hard time self-regulating. And so a lot of that experience working in the VA with veterans has helped me not trigger myself to get worked up and upset if a parent is upset. I would also say that a lot of the mental health issues with veterans has also helped me in the school setting and also in my private practice. But really it’s a universal understanding of people. Just that experience with that clientele in the military has helped a lot.
Becky Coplen: Thank you. I love that. And as we know, in the last few years, with all we’ve dealt with, families are struggling more than it seems like we’ve ever seen. So I love how you connected those examples for sure. Let’s shift gears a little bit. This field is continually evolving and how do you adapt your counseling methods to address the ever-changing concerns of clients, especially when it comes to like depression, anxiety, ADHD, all the things we’re seeing often?
Candice Ericksen: How do I, can you say it again? How do I change it?
Becky Coplen: Yeah basically, how do you adapt to the different needs that you’re seeing over the last few years or just how you feel maybe like kids have changed since the pandemic or even you’ve had to adapt? I know going from elementary and now you’re in high school.
Candice Ericksen: Okay. I’m always transparent. It’s been challenging. You know what? I would love to focus on where I’m challenged right now, adapting. I know that in my private practice, people are seeking me for guidance. They are asking for my opinion on how to handle things. There’s a lot of respect or is this a goal to heal? There’s this mutual understanding that I have a job to help you heal and vice-versa. In the education world, I feel it’s different. I don’t feel there’s a lot of respect for professionals from parents, to be quite honest. I see a lot of hesitation on recommendations and they seem not to want to work with social work and counseling, even at the elementary level also, and at the high school level. So it’s difficult when people don’t want your help and we have years and years of experience in our field. There is a lot of hesitation to want my opinion and that can be challenging for me. I might change my setting, my booth, but I would say that it’s hard to go back and forth like you want my opinion and then you don’t. A lot of disrespect also, I find. The other thing I noticed also is the comparison between high school counseling and elementary. There’s a challenge of always being patient with social-emotional learning with children that young and then switching over to high school. Same thing. But there’s more. I’d hate to say it, but paperwork. So there’s less contact with students and we have to incorporate more requirements for graduation class requirements and so forth. So there’s challenges for me as I grow in my field, learning how do I finesse and navigate doing both roles. But right now it’s, wow, I really am respected in my private practice and I don’t feel respected in the school from parents and children and teenagers.
Becky Coplen: Yeah, it’s just a difficult time in education, as we know for sure. Let’s shift a little to private practice and how there’s been a huge growth in telehealth over the last few years. Are you using online therapy for your clients or how are you seeing that in your practice work itself out?
Candice Ericksen: I totally use online telehealth. I probably see most of my clients through telehealth. I’m open-minded. I’m open to whatever works for the client. It’s convenient. There’s a lot of pros to it. I’m such a sensitive empath that I like that connection and I love to be face-to-face and physically with people. There’s just something about that energy of being together in the same room with somebody. However, it’s not something that impedes me from seeing people. That’s what works for them, and it’s convenient. Plus, we can reach out to more people. We do Virtual.
Becky Coplen: Yes, for sure. Just the time factor and adding to your day, you could probably add an extra 1 or 2 clients because they can just pop on their computer. So that’s awesome. But I would think being in a school all day with people, then it’s almost easier to then be on the screen later at night, so.
Candice Ericksen: Yeah. You know, and if I’m transparent if I’ve had enough people in. Right.
Becky Coplen: I love the word peopling. This episode is brought to you by masters in counseling.org. If you’re considering enrolling in a master’s level counseling program to further your career, visit mastersincounseling.org To compare school options via our search tool that allows you to sort by specific degree types tuition, our costs, online flexibility, and more. All right. So your journey from being a licensed manicurist, which I’ll just put out there, I did use a manicurist yesterday. I had to show it on here to a school counselor. And therapist is very fascinating. How do you find that your background in seemingly unrelated fields maybe, enriches your approach to counseling and therapy? Do you see the connections from, I can totally think of some, but I’d love to hear what you would say.
Candice Ericksen: Oh, yes. Who doesn’t like touching their nail person about their life? That’s the same like when I get my hair done. Like it’s my time. It’s my personal moment, so I can do me self-care, right? So get my hair done and get my nails done and I can talk to the person that’s taking care of me. Same in therapy, same in school counseling. It’s building that human connection. It’s just that, again, didn’t plan on being a manicurist. It was just what did. But learning, like sitting there and doing someone’s nails and making sure the quality of their nails were pretty. And what color do you want to use? Because if you want to use like you have red, it’s bold, it’s confidence and that kind of stuff. Stuff. And I can start a conversation or if somebody chooses white purity and light. And so that could also start a conversation with somebody. So it’s just learning about your clientele by the colors they choose or them coming to you to talk. So yeah, totally can use it across the board. Didn’t think that like I was like, Well, I’m a therapist. I’ll use my manicure skills too, you know what I mean? But totally can.
Becky Coplen: That’s awesome. I love that connection for sure. And I don’t think I knew that about you. So glad I do. All right. Some other intriguing things. You have a love for crystals and metaphysical science, metaphysical practices. How do you incorporate these personal passions into your counseling practice, or if at all, and are there instances where they align with therapeutic approaches?
Candice Ericksen: I love ghost stories. Okay. Just have to let the viewers know that I love it. I love Halloween. So that’s just my thing. So in therapy, if a client wants to incorporate spirituality in treatment, totally, well, just like religion, if you want to incorporate God or whomever into your healing it, you know, people do that. My path is spirituality. And so if a client and most of my clients are spiritual and they love it and they do have a hard time finding somebody who’s open about being spiritual and wanting to include that in their treatment. So metaphysical, that could be like our chakras and energy. And if you believe in that, there could be an imbalance in your chakra. And that has everything to do with energy. So for instance, if somebody has on yellow and they’re struggling with their self-esteem, there’s all these little things I notice and it usually works if I bring it up, I’ll say, Well, that sounds like that’s your chakra. And let’s look at that. And now this again is if somebody’s into it if they really they feel like this helps them. But it always works. It seems to nail every time they’re like, Oh, that resonates. No, that’s exactly what I’m going through. Yep, I’m struggling with that. Or their throats been hurting and we rule out a cold or whatever medical conditions. I’ll say. Are you having a hard time communicating or are you having a hard time communicating with? So if the person wants to include metaphysical Reiki energy or what have you or chakras, they say it helps them and there is evidence that there’s a correlation between if we include spirituality and or religion. With our therapy, there is a higher percentage of healing.
Becky Coplen: So, Candice, those are such interesting details. And I will say personally, you always are noting the energy in the room, observing people, and I understand it all better now. So I totally do. We’ve been in a lot of meetings together where you definitely have a lot of things to observe, so I’ll leave that at that. So let’s talk about how maybe you would help any aspiring therapists if they were going to go into private practice. What advice would you offer them to navigate the intricacies of being an entrepreneur and being able to focus on their clients and putting all those pieces together?
Candice Ericksen: If you decide to go into private practice, you know that’s what you want to do. I would highly recommend getting a biller. Please don’t try to do that on your own. It’s very complex, especially if you have you don’t have history or knowledge or understanding on how to bill insurance is a monster, and trying to understand the ins and outs of all the different types of insurance. There’s just so many and there’s so many rules. And so I’ve learned that I’ve saved myself a headache and just stress by hiring a biller. My other recommendation is also hiring. A credential for the credential is somebody who gets you paneled with insurance companies. So just real quickly, is just saying that Candace Ericksen can accept Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance. So my panel or my purse and my credentials or does the application and does the back and forth with the insurance and keeps up with everything inside the whole process of getting paneled with an insurance company? I don’t do any of that, but I’m paying that person to do that. I would really recommend a credential or to get paneled with insurance and a biller. I’ve seen people who have come right out of our master’s programs and they’ve jumped right into a private practice.
Candice Ericksen: And who am I to judge and say whether that’s a good thing or not? That’s not my role in my journey. It’s helped that I’ve gotten experience working in different fields in patient hospital, a psychiatric hospital, working for a doctor, understanding codes, understanding different types of mental health conditions. I feel like it’s prepared me to have my own practice so that I can have a better chance of succeeding and helping people. I know that when we were in school, they never talked about business owning your own business and we had to learn so many, okay, you have to do this. There’s this, this technique and this process and there and it’s just so stressful because we’re medical professionals. My best advice is love. Love always works. Unconditional regard big on Carl Rogers, but really love the word love. I wish we incorporated it in everything and I wish more businesses would do that, more understanding, less judgment. So if you’re a new clinician or you’re a clinician thinking about having your own business, love always works. Patience. Having a good relationship with your client, having a friendship, of course, have a professional role and responsibility. But all of my patients or clients, they always heal when they feel loved.
Becky Coplen: Those are great tips. That last part so special. And that’s why I know you’re so successful. And those are some really good tips on the business end, which is a lot of what this podcast is, all the things behind the scenes that can be difficult because like you said, you’re not trained to run a business, you’re trained to help people and it gets dicey. Probably a lot of counselors would be like, Oh, you don’t have to pay me. And what would you just branching into that a little bit more For someone who is in a master’s in counseling program, what would you tell them to get the most out of their education while they’re still in the classroom?
Candice Ericksen: I have to say, my professors were great. They were great with helping us reduce our stress. And but I do feel like there’s this pressure on ourselves as new mental health providers that we have to have all the answers. You’re not supposed to have all the answers. That’s that perfectionism and the pressure we put on ourselves. You’re human. You’re supposed to make mistakes. It’s okay to make mistakes. In fact, mistakes are good because that teaches us how to that builds character. So I am very comfortable saying that I mess up all the time. And so when students are in the program, there’s this fear of messing up. There is a fear that I have to be the best clinician, best clinician make mistakes and is honoring that and knowing that and accepting it, and then learning from that. That’s how you become a fantastic clinician and incorporating love. All the facets of love and not being and being loving to yourself. So really to conclude it’s, yeah, you’re going to get the techniques that’ll come. The book stuff will come the diagnosis, you just use a program or whatever, you just fill that in. What makes you a phenomenal clinician is not being hard on yourself, accepting your flaws and all.
Becky Coplen: Thank you. It’s good stuff there for sure. Probably our last question and you talked about this for sure in how to keep if you’re a student, staying healthy, taking care of yourself, feeling supported. How would you are there any other qualities that counselors definitely need to have if they’re going to pursue a master’s in counseling? And just how do you see this field, I guess, in the future, especially with all that’s changed in our country? Um. Those pursuing that. Like let’s say they haven’t even started the program, what would you want to ask them or know about them to say, I don’t know if this is a good fit or not.
Candice Ericksen: I would say I’m very honest and transparent. I know something that was a pet peeve for me in my program and even post ego if you are somebody who struggles to have empathy, you’re judgmental. And if you’re honest with yourself, too, and this is a lot of self-reflection, there’s struggles with ego and there struggles with self-reflecting. And you feel that people should have a consequence for behaviors that this may not be the field for you. I think I’ve seen some remarkable clinicians and they never judge. They just accept what it is and they help that person heal and they’re there with them at that moment and they’re not afraid of struggle and pain. So when you come into the program, you’re not going to know, am I going to be good at sitting with pain? That’s what they’ll teach us in the program, right? They teach us how to you’re just not the same when you leave the program. I mean, every clinician says that you’re just different. But I have seen clinicians who are very self-centered. I think they like the name and the letters behind their name. There is no room for the ego. You can leave it out the door. If you’re not ready to heal and sit in pain and be humble and loving, probably isn’t the field for you.
Becky Coplen: Great insights. Yeah, that’s so good. Something I want to process as well. Well, our conversation with Candice Ericksen has been an insightful exploration of diverse counseling experiences, definitely adapting to change a wide swath of career and service opportunities and finding inspiration in unexpected places. So, Candice, we extend our heartfelt gratitude for sharing your journey with us and for your honesty, which I know I always get from you. And I love that the most to our dedicated listeners. Remember to follow and subscribe to Mastering Counseling for more illuminating episodes. Your engagement reviews and feedback fuel our ongoing exploration of the counseling landscape. Candice, your ability to infuse professionalism with your personal passions is very inspiring. Truly. Thank you for being a beacon of authenticity and innovation in the world of counseling. Join us next time as we uncover more fascinating stories and insights from the world of counseling. Until then, stay curious. Stay informed and stay tuned. Signing off of Mastering counseling. Take care, everyone.
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