Reflection on Grad school Anxieties

IMG_4668.JPGI like to post different topics here and it was time to post about ABA and the past few days I have been brainstorming and trying  to come up with what to post and then tonight happened. In class we were vulnerable and trusted each other.

I am beginning my last year of grad school. This year we are focusing on intensive practicum and capstone project. I am adjusting to the rigor of juggling multiple classes at once on top of work (ABA & YL) and personal life.

This is the second week of the semester and already getting to know my “cohort” was very eye opening. I go to Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) and it is an online program. So we were video chatting and getting to know each other and our backgrounds. I am so thankful to have my professor (actually many of professors and instructors are wonderful!) for the capstone project and intensive practicum because he keeps it real. Tonight while introducing ourselves a few of us talked about our feelings and one that popped up multiple times was anxiety.

He dug a little deeper and wanted to talk to us more about this. It was eye opening and inspiring, the stories I heard tonight from colleagues. My professor wanted to define anxiety in terms of ABA- it was amazing. He said that Anxiety is the fear of the unknown- that Skinner classifies this as a conditioned response and that it has antecedent functions and a history of punishing consequences (what happens immediately after the behavior that either decreases or increase the behavior occurring in the future) for the behavior/ emotion. Basically what this means is that we feel anxious because of the unknown and in the past the unknown had negative consequences that decreased the behavior. (I will get a blog post on ABA Basics soon!)

He wanted us to  think about new functions(the why a behavior) to the antecedent (what happens immediately before the behavior)  and gave us an example of a rock climber. And how the unknown of rock climbing can lead to anxiety but can also be humors and fun. It’s true- I’ve indoor rock climbed before and the first time I was anxious because of the unknown but I was still able to have fun and keep trying and figuring out new ways to try and make it to the top. He talked about inviting in the discomfort and laughing through the process. Who I am changes depending on the contingencies. Learning contingency of reinforcement-  Skinner calls this the hot learning. Basically meaning that you learn from experiencing the stove is hot by touching it. ouch! haha

I know this year will be challenging and a lot of work but I am sure it will bring new perspectives for me in the field and I will grow to be a better person/ Professional Behavior Analyst throughout it.

He talked about being gentle with ourselves, to admit when we need help. He talked about turning fear into curiosity. It was such an inspiring space where we were able to really reflect inward and be vulnerable with each other. Something else mentioned was thinking about “where do I go to hide from fear.” This I will need to reflect more deeply upon.

So much of tonights conversations resonated with me and was truly synchronicity. Time to up my self care game! Posted is a photo from todays visit to the beach. I love to go to parks and beaches in between seeing clients. I make sure to add time to meditate, unwind during this time as well as be productive with studying or working on other things.

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