saata VOL: 5, ISSUE: 1 - May 2021 facebook

TA News PK Saru team
TA News home

Becoming a Therapist

Suriyaprakash C
Gunjan Zutsi

My experience of CTA exam process

Here I was, sitting in front of my computer and waiting to be let into the exam room for my CTA oral exam. Not how I had visualized it to be when I cleared my written exam a year ago and started preparing for orals. COVID 19 had forced us to look at ways in which exams could be held in online mode and the board, examiners and candidates all came together to make it happen. In the true spirit of TA, this was an example of exercising our Adult capacities to respond to the here and now reality of pandemic and make different choices.

So here I was with 16 other candidates and over 50 examiners from across the world, at a big milestone in my journey to become a therapist that started in 2013.

Examination process

Exam started with the chair of the board welcoming me and explaining how we will work for the next hour and fifteen mins. The board members introduced themselves and asked me to introduce myself and the exam was on its way.

My felt sense of the exam was of a process that was safe, inviting, encouraging yet challenging. The examiners asked questions, built upon what I shared, interacted amongst themselves on how the process was going and enquired with me how it was going for me. Through all this, it created a space where I felt held and secure to be able to demonstrate my work and myself fully. The atmosphere was light but professional and at no time did the focus deviate from the task at hand. It was a very energizing and empowering experience and truly represented the TA Philosophy of I am Ok, U are OK.

As the board started reading out their scores, I could feel a surge of happiness and excitement. I was eager to finish the exam and call my supervisors and friends whom I knew were waiting with bated breath to hear the result.

There was also the virtual exam HQ where exam chairs and other candidates were logged in to celebrate. We had a celebration with examiners and candidates at the end of the day and even with the virtual medium, the celebrations felt good and lots of strokes were given.

Pre exam

This was the first time that an online exam was held. The way the exam chairs held the process built a lot of confidence in me as a candidate. They were constantly in touch with us, sending us details about logistics and holding a pre exam orientation to guide us through the process and tell us how we can take care of our own process and create a safe space for ourselves. The entire process before and during the exam was a splendid reflection of ITAA ethical principles of protection, empowerment, respect, responsibility and commitment.

Because of the online format, I was anxious about technology playing spoilsport and I had multiple backup plans ready in case of a technology glitch. On the day of the exam, I started my day with doing things that helped me be grounded and feel calm. I reminded myself that I had prepared and done what needed to be done and now it was time to just be with the process.

Preparing for the exam

I had finished my written exam in Jan 2020 and had started working on my orals. And it’s the process of preparing which has been the most significant. It helped me reflect and strengthen my own identity as a therapist. Who am I as a therapist, what motivates me to be a therapist, what’s my work with clients, why do I work like that, what am I drawn to and why does that appeal to me, what do I not like and why don’t I like it – all these questions had to be answered for myself before I could answer them for the examiners. This process helped me be grounded in my practice. And more grounded I felt, more confident I was of what I had to do.

I got a lot of support from my colleagues, supervisors and trainers. They gave selflessly by way of reviewing tapes, helping me with mocks, giving affirming and validating strokes and just by being there for me. It helped to be held in such a way during the process.

There were moments of feeling not confident, feeling not good enough and doubting my own self. During my second mock exam, the examiner's feedback was that I needed to get a different set of tapes than I had and I remember feeling dejected and questioning if I really was ready. However, through the process, what helped was to not lose sight of the goal and be aware of old patterns of script and work with them and affirm new and more effective ways of being.

For all of you who are aspiring to complete your certifications, these may be some helpful things to remember:

  • The process is more important than the event of the exam. If you have paid attention to the process, the outcome will follow.
  • As much as the process is about doing, it's about who you are being as a therapist that is significant. Let this be a process where you connect with your own self and find answers to why you do what you do as a therapist.
  • Make it an affirming process by challenging your limiting beliefs
  • Lean in for support on friends and colleagues
  • During the exam, stay with the process and just be. (I actually had that written on a board in front of me during the exam!). If you enjoy it and have fun, the examiners will enjoy it too and have fun in the process.
  • Goes without saying, prepare, prepare and prepare. There is no substitute for good prep.
  • And celebrate once you accomplish!

Copyright policy

  SAATA © 2021 Membership facebook