Gateway Longview's Employee Spotlight features Gateway Longview employees recognized for outstanding work. This month's spotlight showcases Rachael, a Mental Health Counselor 1 at Gateway Longview's Children and Family Treatment and Support Services (CFTSS) since October 2019.
Q: How did you get your start at Gateway Longview?
I worked at Gateway Longview about 6-7 years ago through the residential program. I worked within residential girls CAB (Changing Attitudes and Behaviors) for about a year and then left for other opportunities. When I obtained my Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling, I knew Gateway Longview had some great counselor opportunities from my previous employment. Gateway Longview was one of the first places I applied to once I graduated from school and I was very excited to have obtained my position within CFTSS.
Q: What is your role within Gateway Longview now?, Take us through your typical day.
My current role is Mental Health Counselor 1 through CFTSS (Children and Family Treatment and Support Services). I work in the community providing clinical counseling services to families within their homes. This allows many of our busier, more hectic families to obtain services without stressing about driving to clinic appointments and instead having the clinic come to them. It also allows us as the counselor to get an inside view of how home life is for some of these clients and offer support with home environment struggles. Typically my morning involves catching up on notes, phone calls to coordinate care with other providers and checking in on clients who may be in crisis from day(s) before. The rest of my day is sessions with clients, either at home or at school. With COVID this year, my school visits have stopped and my sessions are balanced between the clients’ home or through Telehealth.
Q. How has COVID affected your role and our services?
It’s been more stressful adjusting in terms of being a counselor and doing the phone sessions and video chats because that’s all new, but it’s also been more stressful on the parents, so I feel my role is a lot more supportive to being understanding and a listener to these parents, homeschools rough, kids are home all the time and they are stressed, parents are not able to go to work because they have to be home with the kids. We have to be a more supportive role and understanding of the stress the parents are falling under, and the kids are struggling too because their lives are being turned upside down.
Q. Do you see any changes as we get almost a year into COVID? any changes, any positive changes, what have you seen?
I have seen the adjustment in growth where families are learning how to be together, where at first it was stressful, they don’t know what to do, but now it’s part of their everyday life. It’s a really good growth I have seen with a lot of families, kids are starting to see that video chat school sessions are not so bad, teenagers who don’t like to go to school are finding out online style of school is actually better for them and works for them, and are doing better in school than they did before.
Q: What do you love about coming to Gateway Longview every day, what motivates to you come in to work?
I love my clients, my connection with the families as a community worker. I am always excited to hear from clients that things that may have been rough have gotten even slightly better based on our work together. I love the challenge and unknown of my job; every day is different and even when prepared for a session, new things can come up and as the counselor I need to be ready to adjust on the fly. If I am unsure about something on ways to best help a client or how to handle a certain situation learning something new is always amazing and rewarding. I feel I have grown so much as a counselor since starting with Gateway Longview, through working with the clients directly and also in talks with my supervisor.
Q: Tell me about your best day at Gateway Longview:
Best Day at Gateway…..hmmm. I would have to say I remember one day coming home from sessions and telling my husband today was a good one! Middle of my day, I had a session with a client in a crisis situation, crying/yelling/pulling their hair….whole deal as they walked out of school into my car. Once I calmed this client down and was ab