The Dipstick Test: “Now when”, I hear you say, “did dipsticks ever become part of therapeutic work?!”
Well, just as we use a dipstick to test the oil level in our car, and ensure it runs smoothly, we need to have our own “dipstick” tests within therapeutic work to check how we are progressing within that work. 
The last time I used the dipstick on my car to test the oil level, I found that it was perilously low on oil (why did the light not show on the dashboard?!) and the guy at the garage I went off to was horrified and muttered things like “Of course it’s going to make a noise.....I don’t know how it’s still running......” Well he wasn’t quite as polite as that, but you get the gist!
If we are already engaged in clinical work, that dipstick action might be about checking in with the client about the process for them, and how they are feeling about it. 
It might be about checking our understanding of what the client is expressing and letting go of assumptions. 
It might be about working through things in supervision to address any of our own connections with the client process.  Or exploring ways through a block we have encountered in the work.
It might be about nurturing and building that concept of an “inner supervisor” as we trust our own work, feelings and process.
Or it might be about exploring a particular therapeutic approach at a deeper level after first qualifying, engaging with continuing professional development (CPD), or research.
Perhaps it might also be about engaging in our own therapy when life events or client issues push us to the limits.
If you are in training, those dipsticks are your peers, your training group, your tutor, your reflective journal work as you explore the processes within therapeutic work for yourself.
Or if you are still exploring the possibility of therapeutic training and/or changing career, signing up for an online course might just be that dipstick test to see what it feels like and whether this really is for you.
But whatever stage we are at within therapeutic work, those dipstick tests are essential.
And they are essential throughout the work on an ongoing basis.  Just like checking the oil on the car (which is running fine by the way...) – and the electrics on the dashboard!
Without them we risk grinding to a halt.  As the guy in the garage so very succinctly put it.