a process of learning…
If there was somehow a way to assign value to disequilibrium in the VT room, it may be not be visible until long after it occurs. Through retrospection, we can sometimes more easily identify the value a particular challenge provided, but while in the moment, it may seem far less obvious. We’ve learned, however, that disequilibrium is valuable and when accompanied by the opportunity for change, can be highly effective. For anyone who’s not sure when this process is occurring, it’s generally just before a patient reaches the highly coveted ‘a ha’ moment, which is always a great feeling for patient and therapist alike.
There are times too, when we as Vision Therapists, must push ourselves into the vast sea of disequilibrium to see how well we can swim, which can be a frightening thing. As with may other things in life, there may be some days where we do fairly well, and other days where we just don’t. And if things go awry, it’s important to provide ourselves the same latitude for growth as we do our patients. Rather than beat yourself up over a mistake or an activity which didn’t go well, try asking yourself the same questions you might ask your patients when they become frustrated:
How did you do?
What did you like about your performance?
What might you want to change the next time?
One of the largest, and perhaps the longest, states of disequilibrium a Vision Therapist may encounter is our certification process (aka COVT). Since the journey to a 2016 completion has either started, or is about to start, for so many aspiring candidates, I’d like to offer you all a small pat on the back and a large helping of encouragement. You are already awesome!
Here’s a few more thoughts:
- Scared and/or Intimidated – This a good sign. When I agree to mentor someone and they utter these words, I’m fairly confident that they’re ready to begin. Understanding the gravity and caliber of the undertaking they’re about to embark on is a good sign of their preparedness. A more oblivious, or perhaps less serious, person may offer a flippant acknowledgement of the process or perhaps think that ‘they’ve got this’. Truth be told, even the most seasoned Vision Therapists acknowledge that the more they know, the more there is to learn. Having a heightened sense of self-awareness as the process begins is generally a positive, I’ve found.
- Process Process Process – This is a process of learning. You are not supposed to know it all right now, or ever. So often candidates will ask me how to know if they’re ready, and my answer is simple (assuming they’ve met the application requirements): Are you in a place in your VT life where you’re willing to go through an intense process of growth? Sometimes the answer is ‘no’, and that is completely fine! I postponed my certification for three years – one year at a time – because of outside issues which I knew were going to interfere with my ability to allow the changes to happen in my VT model.
- What to Write – The best advice I can offer anyone in this situation is simply to write. Often times I will candidates which I am mentoring to write as much as they can on the subject and then we can pare it down while deciding what is important. This is truly where we, as mentors, have the greatest value
- Have Courage – it’s a tough thing to put yourself out there – to make yourself vulnerable by putting what you know on paper for others to critique. Just remember that no one is expecting perfection – far from it, actually. If you were to poll the active mentors as to what makes a good candidate, I think the few common themes you’d here are for someone to give an honest effort with an open mind. Beyond the obvious, effort is required in the reading, the studying, and the investigating new ideas for consideration. An open mind is required simply to allow these new concepts to seep in and stir for a bit, before finding their own place in your thinking process.
- Ask Questions – and listen to the answer. Not everyone in the VT world will be able to offer you something which seems valuable in the moment, but that shouldn’t stop you from asking. Sometimes the answers which made no sense three months ago will be the catalyst for tomorrow’s ‘a ha’ moment.
So my friends, I offer you all a collective high five! Allowing yourself to willingly enter a state of disequilibrium for the sake of personal growth through certification is admirable, and should be commended! You may not see it now, but I promise you, when you are on stage at an Annual Meeting being applauded by the congregation for your efforts, the ups and downs of your journey will not only make sense, they will feel fantastic. Ask anyone who’s been there – it’s quite a feeling.