“Working with people who are recovering from the disease of addiction has given me the gift of experiencing the strength and beauty of the human spirit.”
What was your path to becoming a therapist?
Three years before retiring from the police department, I wanted to continue in another helping profession. A resident from the town where I worked suggested I become a social worker. I enrolled at Fordham University in their Master of Social Work program while I worked full-time and attended school full-time for three years before graduating with a Master of Social Work degree. I specialized in the field of addictions as a result of experiencing addiction in my immediate family. After being raised in a broken home, I realized how difficult it can be to negotiate life and how everyone can benefit from a helping hand at times. I have worked in hospital addiction units, specializing in addiction therapy and co-occurring disorders. I have also worked in privately owned intensive outpatient units. Working with people who are recovering from the disease of addiction has given me the gift of experiencing the strength and beauty of the human spirit.
What should someone know about working with you?
I welcome the client with a warm "hello" and a handshake (when possible). I introduce myself to them and tell them a little about myself. I ask them how I can be of service to them and actively listen as they talk. Progress is when a client is able to gain a better understanding of themselves. Progress is also making a commitment to attending sessions regularly and honestly sharing about their feelings and experiences. If appropriate, homework assignments may be given. I enjoy working with clients of all types, but emergency first responders and veterans as well as those in recovery are a preference.
How do your own core values shape your approach to therapy?
My mother raised my twin brother and me by herself; my father abandoned us when we were 13. My mother taught us love, respect, honor, and acceptance of all. She worked hard to keep the family together, and I have always kept her memory and beliefs in my heart and in my actions.
What are you most excited about within the evolving mental health landscape?
More people from the field of emergency services are accessing mental health treatment.
For years, police officers were afraid of getting mental health treatment for fear of having it appear in their personnel files and negatively affect their careers. Now, the stigma has finally been eliminated and help is acceptable and even encouraged.
Have you helped others in need in your life?
Yes, I have made positive differences in the lives of others, not only as a police officer but as a person in general. What's the point of living if you can't help other people in need? We all need help sometime in our lives.
“I enjoy working with clients of all types, but emergency first responders and veterans as well as those in recovery are a preference.”