What is your position at CCWM and what do you specifically do/clients do you serve? 
My position is Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Therapist. I do individual outpatient counseling with all ages, to help with depression, anxiety, relationship conflicts, parenting strategies and support, trauma, eating disorders, self harm, suicidal ideations, etc. Most of my work, however, is outpatient substance abuse treatment where I meet individually and facilitate groups for individuals with substance use disorders who are also involved in the criminal justice system.

What is the most rewarding part of your job and what should everyone know about your role? 
There is always something new to learn from the individuals I work with and the communities I work in. The occasional positive feedback is always a bonus, especially since substance abuse/recovery is rarely resolved and it is difficult some days (or months) to know if you are doing a “good job”. Also, being able to share success stories with my amazing co-workers and supervisors is rewarding! For my role, I am a Masters’ Level Clinical Social Worker and a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Sounds smart, but really my role is simply to listen with unconditional positive regard for each individual I serve. Our team meets with many individuals who have a not-so-good background and are often ostracized in society for their past choices. Understanding and empathy are paramount in helping individuals heal and make positive changes in their lives. This isn’t just a job for therapists, anyone can listen and seek to understand. Oftentimes, that is the foundation a person is missing.

Can you tell us about your dog and how it helps with therapy? 
“I only come here for the dog” or “where’s Zora?” is what I hear often from my clients. Zora is an excellent ice breaker and has provided emotional support to group members (with permission from the group) when their anxiety and/or resistance is high. Sometimes I use her for demonstrations in group as well; her favorite is helping to explain classical conditioning (triggers). With permission from parents she helps kids with practicing boundaries (gentle touch, recognizing when someone needs space, etc.) and relaxation/self soothing. I think the MOST helpful thing she does is make people SMILE.

Is there anything else you want to say/talk about? 
Many already know this, but our Behavioral Health team is the greatest!  Special shout out to my supervisors and co-workers for putting up with me and Zora (mostly me because I talk a lot; although if you listen closely every Wednesday around 3:15 pm you can hear Zora’s howl to go outside). If you are interested in joining our team and working with our team (and Zora) we currently have open positions. 😉