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My practicum for Mental health

I just had an interview for my mental health practicum for this upcoming spring semester. Great agency on the west-side of Chicago that I was referred to by one of my old classmates. Prior to the interview I had jitters because I did not know what to expect, but those jitters went away once I stepped foot into the agency and got a feel of the environment.

The agency had unique looking designs inside that instantly caught my attention while touring with the senior counselor. I entered with jitters, but left overwhelmed with knowledge of the many different opportunities for addictions treatment. I’m excited to join this agency because it is the first milestone to my career as a Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselor (CADC).

Thinking about this opportunity I cannot help, but to reflect what inspired me to pursue this and dream about where I plan to go with it, however I’m latching down for one hell of a ride.  The sparking of my interest came from holding a billet titled Substance Abuse Control Officer (SACO), while serving in the United States Marine Corps. In that billet, I was the liaison between my unit and the base Substance Abuse Counseling Center. The SACO plays a key role in screening a unit and informing them on anything chemical substance related that can affect the unit’s readiness.  If in the possibility a member within the unit has an alcohol or drug related incident that affects their performance then the SACO screens and refers that member to the base Substance Abuse Counseling Center.

Working as a SACO, I had the opportunity to see a totally different side of the military; the side that none thinks exists. What inspired me to pursue this route was working alongside with the Substance Abuse Counseling Center and realizing that substance abuse plays a huge role at affecting a unit’s readiness.  As a military veteran myself, I know the stressors that can drive a service member to drug or alcohol abuse, so why not address this because from my view things always seemed to get swept under the rug until it caused embarrassment on the unit itself. So, I share with you all that I have a desire to work with active duty military or military veterans, and this is where it starts.

“Everybody needs a way out of that pain. Many people choose drugs and alcohol. Some people obsessively exercise or develop strange dietary habits, which is what I did. At least it got me toward a path of healthier living.” – Mariel Hemingway


What do you think?

20 Points

Written by Thomas Gouard

Im a military veteran; a full-time college student, and a fitness addict. Fueled by inspiration; God's word; endorphins and laughter!


    • I fell in love with psychology after taking it as part of my degree. Almost switched my major to psychology also. It’s still an option in the future. And you definitely will help people with a major like psychology. Thank you; I hope you have a wonderful week.