What is your job at Sheppard Pratt?
I am an addictions counselor for Sheppard Pratt’s outpatient Addiction Services. I work with people who are actively using or have used illicit substances and/or alcohol as a coping skill to deal with mental health conditions and life issues. I help clients increase their knowledge and understanding of their triggers, develop coping skills, and identify resources that provide motivation and encouragement for abstinence.
How does the Addiction Services program help people struggling with substance use?
Sheppard Pratt’s Addiction Services program is designed to help people with addiction to realize that they are better off cutting back or cutting out substances from their lives. We help clients identify what they want from life and how substances impact their ability to get those things. As addictions counselors, we have the specialized training to meet people where they are in their addiction and help them along their journey to recovery. We take a harm-reduction approach and support clients in whatever path they choose for their own wellness journey.
Why are addiction services an important part of mental healthcare?
If you look at mental health as a series of dominoes, when one piece falls, all the other pieces behind it fall under the weight of the first piece. Understanding the big picture without stigma or shaming helps clients increase their awareness and motivation for change.
What do you enjoy most about working at Sheppard Pratt?
I most enjoy the people: my co-workers and our clientele. Addiction counseling is a team effort, and we get to see clients’ growth and accomplishments each day. We see the increased pride, self-esteem, and support they show to each other every day as they work on their sobriety.
What advice do you have for your clients?
Keep growing and learning about yourself. Appreciate the small changes, and the big changes won’t seem so overwhelming.