Wednesday, September 06, 2006

My Logo and Why I've Been Anonymous

To honor the Terrible Swede's request, I want to explain the logo you see at upper right, where most people have their face (My all-time favorite is Josh's icon).

The reason that I chose to identify as Kletos Sumboulos ("Called to be a Counselor") on this blog and not have a picture is that I was seeing clients under someone else's license. There are psychologists and counselors that have web pages and blogs of their own, and they use their real names, but I don't have a license and need to protect my supervisor's. My real name is Michael Benoit (pronounced Ben-wah). Everything else is true, in other words, I'm not doing the alter-ego thing. I've had clients look up information about me in the past, so I know how incredibly easy it is. Most counselors strive to not let anything about their personal lives or beliefs be know to a client, because it may interfere with what you are trying to accomplish in session. Some go as far as removing wedding rings to not give clues to marital status or sexual orientation. In a Christian counseling center, people are rather overt about religion. Most of the offices at the organization I worked for look like an aisle at a Christian book store. I didn't want people to find my blog and identify me as their counselor because my religious views are very different with that of my former organization. Trust me, I have shot directly from the hip on a few occasions, for instance, challenging a client who has never been baptized but was attending Lutheran services with his girlfriend (I pray he wasn't/isn't taking the sacrament). I routinely told people about my doctrinal commitments when asked or it was a matter of full-disclosure. I also made a Luther Rose clock that all my clients were well aware of (the only one in the room), and of course, my "Most Certainly Brew" mug and Luther's wedding ring were rather dramatic reminders of my commitments. Anyway, my blog has been anonymous this last year because of my work.

The logo I created incorporates elements of my professional identity but by no means all of it. First, the required letter psi for Psychology. The American Psychological Association uses a stylized psi for their logo. The Christian Association for Psychological Studies uses the cross as the descending line on the psi to create their logo. I personally object to this symbol because, while the cross is higher than the psi in the logo, they are connected. This feels too much to identify the two. I have intentionally put the psi into the lower half of my logo for this reason.

The second symbol is the beehive. According to Reverend Peterson's comment, the bee or beehive symbolized Christian work historically. My training is in Counseling Psychology which is distinct from Clinical Psychology in both history and focus. While Clinical Psych focuses on pathology, Counseling Psych ostensibly focuses on health and strengths. Because of this reason and because of the development of Counseling Psych from the career guidance movement after the first World War, vocational psychology has always been a significant chunk of what Counseling Psychologists do in research and practice. My advisor is a big name in the Society for Vocational Psychology and I have chosen to focus my own research on Voc Psych. I have been consciously trying to see what the beautiful doctrine of vocation means for the science of vocational psychology and vice versa. See my post, Toward a Lutheran Psychology of Work.

Finally, we have a modified Luther Rose with Simul Justus et Peccator inscribed around the outside. I posted about how I used this as a therapeutic device in a previous post.

By the way, I'm 1/4 Swede, my mother's father was a full Swede (Carlson) and would routinely curse in Swedish. He would say something that sounded like "shish-kalla-poiken" which apparently translated to "shut up, lad."


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