I got my start in the field of mental health
at the Human Resource Institute in Brookline, Massachusetts. I was hired temporarily to type the notes of the two psychiatrists
who oversaw patient treatment. It was there that I learned what a social worker and a psychotherapist were. From there I worked
at McLean Hospital as a child care worker, and then went on the the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, where
I focused on working with individuals and groups, and graduated with a Master's Degree in Social Work in 1983.
My early history as a social worker was in working with children and adolescentes in residential care. They were placed
through the legal system of through the Department of Children & Youth Services because of dysfunctional behavior at home,
in school, or in the community. My role was to work with both the child and the parents with the goal of reunifying the family.
This included seeing the residents individually or in groups, helping parents to acquire more effective parenting skills,
and identifying resources in the community that would benefit the family's living circumstances. I also worked with the
child care staff to broaden their understanding of the emotional and behavioral needs of the residents and their families.
As a result of these experiences I began to view life as a series of losses that begins at the time of conception.
I understand that no matter who is sitting across from me, that person has experienced loss and will benefit from identifying
what the losses are and how to incorporate them into their understanding of who they are and how they are living their lives.
So, the theme of loss and grief are woven throughout the work I do with everyone.
Around this time I began running
support groups for Resolve, an organization that provides education, support and guidance to individuals and couples experiencing
infertility. More recently, I have broadened this work to include the myriad of emotionally charged issues in obstetric care
given the new technology assisting reproduction. In addition, I ran groups for those considering building their families through
adoption, and I have been providing counseling to birthmothers placing their children for adoption through the services of
the Boston Adoption Bureau located on Beacon Street in Boston. They are licensed in the state of New Hampshire, and I have
offered my services to them for the past 15 years.
I was of interest to Dr. Jacobs because of my long history of
working with children and adolescents. In the 13 years that I have been employed by him, I have learned so much and have found
my work experience to be both inspiring and humbling. I have realized that there isn't a family out there that isn't
challenged by many overwhelming issues and that hasn't made many heroic efforts to make changes to benefit their circumstances.
Life is far more complicated today than in the past, and it requires all of us to find guidance and support from those who
can help us. If I can provide some of that guidance and support to a family or individual, I feel inspired. Interesting, it
is often what I learn from my clients that leaves me feeling humbled. There isn't a session I participate in that I don't
learn a great deal.
In a sense a psychotherapist becomes skilled at working with the issues that most often are
presented to him or her. Thus, I work most effectively with children and adolescents, including those struggling with depression,
anxiety, learning disabilities and chronic illness. When I work with children, I consider myself working as closely with the
parents as with the child. In addition, I work with adults struggling with the same issues as above. I enjoy working with
women and men, helping them to grow into their potential. I work with couples toward having a more satisfying marriage. Of
the many ways of working with these conditions, I have developed a cognitive behavioral approach, requiring us to identify
my client's belief system and how it impacts his or her thinking process and behavior. It is in examining one's belief
system and deciding whether it is working well for you or requires some shifting that can bring about the desired change in
one's behavior. More recently, I have incorporated "mindful" approaches into my work, as it complements the
effort to identify how one's thoughts are affecting one's behavior, and provides a myriad of skills and techniques
allowing one to better manage one's mood and level of stress or worry.
I earned my BA degree from Hobart and
William Smith Colleges. I earned my MSW from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. I have earned the advanced
status of Diplomate in Clinical Social Work from the Academy of Certified Social Workers. I am licensed to practice in Massachusetts
and New Hampshire.
Member, National Association
of Social Workers: www.socialworkers.org