Sam Teitelbaum, rehabilitation assistant at Sheppard Pratt, discusses his role and how his own mental health journey has inspired his career.
Q: Tell us about your role at Sheppard Pratt.
My role as a rehabilitation assistant is to be a beacon of support and compassion to clients at the Baltimore City psychiatric rehabilitation day program. I lead therapeutic groups and one-on-ones that range from working through trauma, to helping people understand themselves better, to conversations about the meaning of life.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
One of the most beautiful parts of my job is to be part of a community where people come - not just for mental and behavioral health support - but to be a part of a special community. It doesn't take long to feel deep, heartfelt connections with our clients.
Q: How have you challenged yourself on the job?
I have challenged myself while leading groups, working with clients one-on-one, and in other situations where I've continuously pushed myself to learn.
Q: Tell us about an especially rewarding time at work.
I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of our clients. One of the many rewarding experiences I’ve had is when a client who I had gotten to know for multiple years challenged himself to face his fears and work to overcome his speech difficulties. It’s heartwarming to see these breakthroughs.
Q: What has your personal journey looked like?
My personal journey has been an adventure. As someone with a mental health condition myself, my path to wellness has included inpatient and outpatient hospital programs, rehabilitation centers, psychologists, and psychiatrists.
My depression felt as if I was walking through a hallway that lasted an eternity with a thousand-pound weight on my soul. I also dealt with obsessive-compulsive disorder that left me tossing and turning in agony in my bed, unable to sleep because I was worried about a possible disaster. Then the next morning, I'd waste an extra hour trying to get ready for work as I did my rituals and routines, checking things and doing things over and over again. I would take the milk lid on and off over and over again about 15 times, thinking, "I did it wrong," while having a panic attack. The list goes on and on for the disasters I'd get anxious about. You name it, I'd worry about it.
Today, I'm doing well, and I've dedicated myself to helping others who are undergoing similar challenges. My personal experiences have helped me to become a positive role model to others.
Q: What would you title the autobiography of your life?
“Seeking answers and the action-packed adventures of a special soul.”
Early in my life I lived in a bubble, focused on sports, video games, TV, school, and my friends. At fourteen, I felt like the man in Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, in which he felt lost when he ventured out of his cave. I had little concept of who I was outside of my bubble and felt utterly lost.
My miraculous teacher and psychologist guided me through the maze of life. Through therapy and hard work, I embarked on a journey towards recovery – one which I use to inspire my clients, and which involved inpatient and outpatient hospital programs, rehabilitation centers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and medicine. I now look forward to more powerful and surprising experiences, while helping others on their road of recovery.
Q: What are the three phrases that best describe you?
Nature lover, philosophical seeker, and spreader of good vibrations.
Job title: Rehabilitation Assistant
years working at Sheppard Pratt
Three words to describe Sheppard Pratt: Special, Adventurous, Fun