Please describe your current work and career highlights.
After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Washington, I served in the United States Army for eight years. During my service, I worked as a medic and eventually worked in various Veteran’s Administration hospitals where I trained as a mental health specialist and then as a psychiatric specialist. After leaving the Army, I continued working in the mental health field at Western State Hospital. I realized that I have a passion for teaching and interacting with people seeking help which motivated me to become a certified Alcohol and Drug (AOD) Counselor.
I currently work as a Counselor II at the CLARE|MATRIX Men’s Treatment Program. I have grown tremendously as a clinical care provider because of the men in the program. Through hands-on experience, I have learned what it means to individualize care, apply evidence based practices such as the Matrix Model and Medication Assisted Treatment, and see how it can help people approach the challenges they face. I am currently on the CLARE|MATRIX Recovery Culture Champions team helping to integrate our core values of Compassion, Team Work, Integrity, Empowerment, and Adaptability through the work we do as an organization.
What attracted you to the field of substance use treatment?
I had no intention of working in treatment until I saw an ad for a job as an AOD Counselor. It sounded like it would be a fun and exciting chance for me to use the skills I learned in the mental health field in a new way. I understand substance use disorders and see that there are many ways for people to recover. Knowing when to guide and give direction in treatment is important. I used motivational interviewing, an empathetic method that helps people resolve ambivalence, when working in mental health and have learned that this sort of kind curiosity will take you a long way with people seeking treatment for substance use issues.
What is the most fulfilling part of working at CLARE|MATRIX?
I love facilitating groups that provide skills development and other useful information, especially for people in early recovery. I am passionate about helping people change their lives and reinvent themselves. The people in the program teach me every day about the hardships of life and the amazing ability of the body and mind to heal itself. Assisting them in conquering their challenges with positive thinking and watching them move forward in recovery is truly amazing.
What is a fun fact about you that not many people know about?
I am a lone wolf at my core. I once shed all my material possessions, fell totally below the radar and traveled for four years.