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Displaying items by tag: Interviews

Tuesday, 28 September 2021 20:31

Emergency Response and Resilence

Resilience, Self Care, and ‘Battle Buddies’ for Behavioral Health Professionals

A community coming together to rebuild after a devastating tornado; homeless veterans learning to reclaim their lives and dignity; addicts struggling to set aside drugs.

All of these people have something in common: resilience, and a need for self care. 

Dr. Stephanie Felder, PhD, LCSW, has witnessed this resilience over and over again in her multiple roles in social work and public service. She is a Commander (CDR) in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), and recently transitioned to the Office of the Surgeon General where she is the lead licensed clinical social worker for the public health emergency response strike team.

In all of her roles, she has seen resilience among people in all stations in life, and she has watched them learn that self care is key to surviving and thriving.

She also learned that resilience and self care are important for herself - and for all behavioral health professionals.

In a recent interview with Ray Barrett, CEO of the Telehealth Certification Institute (TCI), Dr. Felder shared how her career path led her on a journey of discovery about resilience and self care.

“I started my career in social services in North Carolina and then moved to a state position as a

licensed clinical social worker in a residential treatment program. Shortly after that, I moved to a position as the health care coordinator for homeless veterans in Fayetteville, North Carolina. That position was pretty amazing. I learned a lot about homeless veterans

and their needs.”

Dr. Felder was so inspired by those veterans that she became active duty herself. She took a position with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). 

“When I became active duty I entered into the public health service - that was the start of all of my deployments - and the start of my understanding of the real importance of self-care.”

“I started to deploy around 2017 and that's when the tempo really picked up for me. Hurricane Harvey - I went out for that. Then in 2018 I went out for Hurricane Florence which was in Clayton, North Carolina.”

Felder recalled the stress of receiving a field promotion - she was sent out to do a job, then get a new assignment when she was in the field. 

“That was pretty intense and scary - anxiety-provoking for me because it was a true leadership position in the field, and it was also in North Carolina. The people I was seeing felt like family because I'm from South Carolina, and I had lived in North Carolina. It was personal and self-care was definitely important during that mission -  trying to manage the job, but also to manage my own emotions.”

“I also saw the resilience in communities when I went out to Oklahoma after some major tornadoes. Just seeing that community come back together and build, and the support that you saw just coming from all other states and all around - that is when I realized the true importance of resilience and self-care.”

Dr. Felder also worked at the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) managing HIV AIDS grants. “I realized the importance of self-care and resilience among these communities. The people work really hard in the Ryan White program. They provide services to people that are underserved and otherwise wouldn't receive that high level of medical care.”

When COVID-19 hit in 2020, Dr. Felder was in New York as the behavioral health officer in charge. “Seeing everything that was happening - it was just...it was definitely life-changing.”

During emergencies, social workers, Dr. Felder said, are expected to put the interest of others and the community ahead of their own interests. 

“You serve,” she said. “We're helping people find family members, or we're helping people find a new living place.”

But often, the emergency responders and social workers need help, too.

“It can become overwhelming when you're out there, and you're trying to keep all the balls in the air.”

Dr. Felder had some tips for mental health professionals responding to a crisis:

  • Be aware of your environment - whether it's a disaster environment or a domestic dispute. 
  • Walk in with an open mind and be observant of your surroundings.
  • Build rapport and mutual respect by listening and understanding.
  • Establish with the person or the community that this is a safe space and that you are there to listen. 

Dr. Felder said self-care is vital during a crisis, but she acknowledged it is something she still is working on for herself. “It's easy to say it, but it's hard to practice what you preach.”

At some point, though, you have to realize you must take care of your own needs. “It's hard to help others and give to others when there's nothing left for you,” she said.

What does Dr. Felder do to recharge?

“I do yoga and meditation. I try to make sure that I have regular exercise. All of those help me to ground myself and decompress.”

When she’s deployed, Dr. Felder also has a very important resource - “battle buddies.” A battle buddy is a trusted colleague that will call her out if they see her in distress. That is the person that comes to her to say, “hey, you know you're not headed in the right direction.”

“The idea is that with your battle buddy you don't become defensive. You say, ‘Let me let me take a moment and evaluate this - yes you're right,’” Dr. Felder said.

If she does get angry, the battle buddy knows it’s their job to be the calm one. “The battle buddy - they do not back down. They stand their ground,” she said.

All of us in behavioral health might take a cue from Dr. Felder and find our own battle buddies, and then be a battle buddy for someone else.

 

By Amanda Barnett, LPC, EdS, NCC

Published in Blog

There are endless benefits to becoming a member of Social Work Societies, including access to important training, community within the field, and the opportunity to be involved in advancing the field at a higher level. In an ever-changing, high-demand field, these organizations are greatly needed. Monica Blauner is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Psychoanalyst with over 40 years experience in mental health treatment. She is the former president of the California Society of Social Work and currently works at a private practice in Los Angeles.

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Tuesday, 13 July 2021 15:43

Clinical Social Work

Recently, Ray Barrett sat down to interview Laura Groshong about the field of social work and the direction in which the field is headed. Laura is a licensed clinical social worker and has been in clinical practice for the past 43 years. She was a registered lobbyist in Washington for five mental health organizations for 25 years. She has been the director of policy and practice for the Clinical Social Work Association nationally since 2006. Laura’s diverse range of experiences allows her to bring a wealth of knowledge to the field. Her passion for social work developed while she was working in the foster care system. She fell in love with the field but decided to pursue the mental health route. 

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Monday, 28 June 2021 16:25

Phone, Texting, and Faxing in Healthcare

As technology rapidly advances, healthcare providers are increasingly in need of phone, texting, and fax services that are user-friendly for patients and providers, HIPAA-secure, and under the control of the provider for security reasons. Recently, Ray Barrett interviewed Pankaj Gupta, founder of IPlum, on the topic of meeting technology needs in the healthcare community. 

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Recently, Ray Barrett sat down to interview Sam Johnson, LPC, IFS, and EMDR therapist, to discuss providing Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy online. Prior to the pandemic, Sam was providing telehealth to clients. As a provider living in a rural area, Sam began offering telehealth early to meet the needs of clients living at a distance.

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Dr. Rosenna Bakari is a psychologist and the founder of Talking Trees (founded in 2010). Talking Trees is an organization that encourages survivors of childhood sexual abuse and incest to seek healing and come out of silence. Dr. Bakari has also written five books related to wellness, including her memoir. Recently, Ray Barrett sat down to interview Dr. Bakari about her work.

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Clinicians often wonder, “How can I provide therapy to active-duty military members and veterans?” There is an immense need for comprehensive mental health services among this population and the growing field of telehealth has allowed clinicians more access than ever before to provide services to military personnel, veterans, and their families.

Recently, Ray Barrett sat down for an interview with Dr. Mark Stebnicki, a mental health counselor and instructor for the Clinical Military Counseling Certificate Program, and Randy Phelps, CEO of Give An Hour- a nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive, no-cost mental health services to veterans.

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 20 April 2021 20:36

Diversity and Equity in Counseling

How to Increase Diversity and Equity in Mental Health? Be Curious. Be Brave.

People of color need counseling. And they want it. But there are barriers, including barriers unwittingly put up by counselors. 

“Communities of color are not always aware of the benefits of counseling,” said Dr. Kim Lee Hughes, President of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD). AMCD’s mission includes recognizing diversity in our society and enhancing the development, human rights, and the psychological health of ethnic/racial populations and all people.

Hughes adds that in some communities of color, individuals may not be aware of how to find a counselor or how to use their insurance.

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Maybe you tried telehealth for your counseling practice during the COVID-19 shutdown, and you’ve decided you would like to stick with it. Or maybe you’ve always wanted to go all-in on telehealth but weren’t sure you could get enough clients to sustain your business.

The good news is that many counselors are successfully carrying a full caseload of telehealth clients.

How do they do it? And how long does it take to get a full caseload if you only see clients via telehealth?

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 02 March 2021 15:38

Counseling Compact

The counseling profession has struggled with barriers to delivering mental health services to clients across state lines since the conception of licensure law. Most states require counselors to be licensed in the state where the client resides. This means clients have to find a new counselor if they move out of state. It also limits telehealth options for many clients.

To address this dilemma the American Counseling Association (ACA) – in collaboration with the National Center for Interstate Compacts (NCIC) – has been working on an interstate licensure compact. This compact would create licensure portability for professional counselors – creating a way for counselors to practice in multiple states.

To explore what the interstate compact would mean for counselors, Raymond Barrett, CEO of the Telehealth Certification Institute (TCI), interviewed Dr. Lynn Linde, chief knowledge and learning officer at ACA.

Published in Blog
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