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The agency GMBH-Greater Malden Behavioral Health, Inc is located on street 6 Pleasant St, Malden, MA 02148. The senior leadership is composed by Todd Payton and Ishman Williams. The agency was created with the purpose of serve the city of Malden, MA through treatment to children, adolescents, adults, and families at risk, the agency also receives a range of three hundred of clients per year. GMBH provides prevention, assessment and intervention services. The group of professionals has an average of seventy providers, which according to the webpage, the professionals are divided by licensed social workers, psychologist, mental health counselors, psychiatrists, registered nurses, case managers, substance abuse counselors, and educators.
The agency is composed of four interns, which participate in therapeutic mentoring and individual therapy. The diversity of professionals is large as well as the clients, the ethnicity involves, Arabic, African, Haitians, Latin America, Brazilians, Peruvians etc. But most clients variety between Americans and Latin Americas. Also, the majority of the clinic’s intervention cases are depression, sexual abuse, and aggressive behavior.
Basically, the agency has more than one space for the professional to be more comfortable to do their reports and provide meetings and reunions with supervisors. The agency provides to their professionals, staff, and client, educative folders, which contains simple information about some mental issues, such as bipolar, anxiety, depression, PTSD- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Also the agency provides preventative information about some substances, and how parents can recognize the symptoms and act on behalf of their child.
The agency also has a small bookshelf, that provides case materials and vast resources of techniques and interventions that staff can read and offer a better approach to their clients.
For example, workbooks with some activities to work with teenagers in the area of self-esteem, anxiety and also treatment planners with some examples that can be selected to build intervention progress note based on Family Therapy. The agency provides a staff meeting where staff can come ask questions to their supervisors to see how the providers are doing with their cases and also they keep contact with the team by messenger, where they provide some articles about self-growth, mental health, the practice of some techniques.
.I had a good experience with my supervisor, who was very open and available to ask questions and interested to know my feedback about the individual therapy sessions. On my first day, she explained a little bit about the agency, how it works, and the function of each professional. In a short time there I also could know a little bit more about the administrative area, and how they organize their papers, how they do an intake, which contains the general information of the client, check the insurance and file documents. In order to have an experience of family therapy, I had an opportunity to participate in sessions accompanied by a supervisor, Clinician, and TT&S.
During my supervision time, I remembered the supervisor saying that the beginning of a profession it is normal to have insecurity and fear, and she was there to help me on my field practice. The only thing that I would suggest for the agency that I did not see there was a case study, which the professionals would have a meeting to make a deep study to see the different points of view of the coworkers and from different fields of work. This would be a good addition to the clinic and for the professionals, which would add on their career.
In order to gain autonomy and my own style, the supervisor attitude remind me what the book Become a Helper says about the process of learning and how works the dynamic between the supervisees and the supervisor, which says to “develop their own insights and refine their clinical hunches (…) find their own words and voice. (Corey and Corey, 2017, p.295).
Before I go, the supervisor and TT&S were already doing a therapy with the family, so the supervisor asked permission to the mother and the client if there is any problem I go to the session with them. They did not have any concerns. The consumer was a girl of twelve years old, who was diagnosed with anxiety. That was my first experience with therapy. In Brazil, in my practice field, this rarely happens, the staff went to meet the family in their house, except in cases of life-threatening emergencies.
This session, the supervisor was working with the client about a specific situation. It appears that the mother was super protective and, because of that the teenager was very dependent of her emotionally. Her older son had just married and went to another city, far from her. That made her became very close to her daughter, which resulted in over protection. It makes me associate automatically with my mother, who went through the same situation when I come to the United States.
For this reason, I could relate with the book, which explains that on the therapeutic process, students and beginning helper sometimes bring up personal concerns about their inexperience and how they should help the client. In this case, I was unsure what and how I could express to be effective with the client without practicing countertransference, which is “the therapist’s unconscious emotional responses to a client that produces a distorted perception of the client’s behavior” (Corey and Corey, 2017, p 138). And as the authors says in the book, the “countertransference evolving time and process and the counselors can achieve a better understanding of their own dynamics and countertransference phenomena through supervision, personal reflection, and being a client in their own personal therapy”. (2017, p.139)
Moreover, based on the helping process, there are specific skills relevant that the helper needs to know to apply to a specific situation. According to this a “Helpers first, assist the client in developing and accessing action strategies for making their vision a reality. To work toward changing a client’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, it is generally necessary to explore alternative and confront incongruities” (Corey and Corey, 2017, p.175).
In another session, the client was experiencing hard time at school, because of her behavior her grades were decreasing, she was being disrespectful to her mother, and also with the professionals that were doing the therapy. In order to intervene, the Clinician needed to do a confrontation with the client. Which, because of my inexperience I felt uncomfortable. That was my first time experiencing a confrontation session.
According to Corey and Corey (p.176), the confrontation invites the individuals to look at the discrepancies, incongruities, denials, distortions, excuses, defensive behaviors, and evasions to prevent them from taking actions to change their lives. As a result, the client did not receive the confrontation very well, but could be noticed that that intervention was necessary to bring awareness to the teenager about her actions and with it create a transformation.
The therapy was important to see how it is applied to practice the theory that we learned in class, even if it takes time to learn, adapt and apply to the work field. As the book advises “be open to fitting your theory to your clients rather than your client to your theory. And complete saying how important is to “learn therapeutic skills and techniques, they should be applied in culturally appropriate ways” (p.289).
The book and the instructions of the Professor were helpful to recognize and apply the techniques in some moments, where it is necessary to be aware of how to be more professional and support more the client, showing empathy, where intend of saying “I understand how you few” we could say that. Even though we haven’t been in their situation, we could make an effort to understand them. And knowing that each person has their own style and technique that better fit with their personality.
This practice field was very important to me because I could have an idea how it is to work in a multi-professional field. It allows me to add to my experience that I had in Brazil, where the Social Work field is very specific and separated from psychology. Although both professions may work together, usually they do not interconnect. Here I could see how this two areas can interact and implement with one another.
Even though the time of experience on the field practice was short, it was important to know the role that the professional might play, and how the process of knowing this field – along with each explanation in classes – makes it clear and complete to me. What could be noticed was, although the Helper has only a professional contact with the client, it stills a human relationship. Principally for an individual therapy, which the professional follows a case for weeks or months. Therefore, is essential the professional be mentally prepared, be aware of their limitations and strengths and most importantly love their job. I had a great experience professionally it was positive experience working at the agency.
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