After being a clinician in the field of behavioral health most of my career, in 2010 I opened a part-time private psychotherapy practice in conjunction with the full-time work I was doing elsewhere in the field. It has been a very rewarding experience for me being able to help individuals, families, and couples work through their issues in a private clinical environment.
After I was “invited” to leave my full-time directorship position at the largest hospital in New Jersey in 2018, where I supervised 35 psychiatric social workers, I decided to finish a manuscript I had started 2.5 years earlier. My book, When to Call a Therapist, was published in June, 2019. My book focuses on my observations from my private psychotherapy practice that the majority of people seeking mental health treatment get into therapy too late. What I mean by that is people who enter therapy suffer unnecessarily for long periods of time before getting help. My book is for anyone who is considering getting into mental health treatment or who knows someone who would benefit from seeing a therapist. I am very proud of this accomplishment.
In the fall of 2019, I started taking courses at the Institute for Psychoanalytic Studies in New Jersey with the goal of becoming an analyst to add another layer of training to my work with people seeking mental health services. It is an exciting new chapter in my life.
Over the last 10 years as a social worker and clinician, I have grown experientially, not only in my work in large institutions, but as a private practice psychotherapist. Experience is a key factor in any profession, but I believe especially in healthcare and mental health where individuals still feel reluctant to reach out for mental health treatment. Unfortunately, the barrier of stigma still exists. Over the last 10 years, I have been a greater advocate to help reduce the stigma of mental illness and I am working with others to bring parity to both medical and mental health treatment.
When I was asked to leave my directorship position in the behavioral health department of a large hospital where I worked for four years, at the time I did not realize how much stress I was under until I had time away from that position. I would be “on” the entire day and had a dozen priorities that all needed attention at the same time. Between endless meetings, dozens of phone calls and emails that needed responses, working with my staff around patient and family issues and discharge plans that had collapsed, as well as county community involvement around homelessness and patient services issues, I was not doing my health any favor by running at this pace for so long.
I am now working to build my private practice and accepting referrals in my two offices in northern New Jersey. I have also been working to market my book, When to Call a Therapist, with the hope that people will decided to enter therapy sooner rather than later. And I continue to look forward to my training at the institute so I can effectively help more people in the future.
For me, the last decade has been 10 years of growth, experience, and accomplishments that I never envisioned. Hopefully the next ten years will bring as much joy as the last ten years.
Thank you Thrive Global for allowing me to “take a look back” in time. This was a very cathartic experience!