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Mental Health Heroes

January 15, 2021

Mental health and emotional well-being are just as important as physical wellness; few know this better than the therapists who lend themselves every day to helping others face their challenges—the clinical team at Jewish Family Services is dedicated to helping those we serve heal, grow, and succeed. Meet some JFS therapists and learn more about what inspires them to do this work.

Padmaja-1-L.jpgPadmaja Charya, LPMHC 
JFS: Why do you think therapy is important?

PC: Human connection can have such a significant impact on healing and the experience of feeling heard, respected, and appreciated can be one of the biggest contributors—this is what therapy can provide.

JFS: Tell us about a unique therapeutic approach you use. Why do you like it?
PC: I love to incorporate the arts, particularly music, into my therapeutic process with patients; sometimes, people do not want to talk during sessions, and that’s okay because music can be a powerful way for people to communicate without saying a word—to include music can make the therapeutic process more helpful and meaningful for the person. I also love the interactive, collaborative nature of Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), which equips parents of young children with tools to help them successfully manage challenging behaviors and relationship issues.

JFS: If you hadn't become a therapist, what other dream job might you have pursued?
PC: Professional dancer, music producer, or physician.

JFS: Can you bust any therapy myths?
PC: Many people believe therapy is just for “crazy” people, but people from all walks of life—with a variety of experiences and backgrounds—come to therapy. It is a great feeling to witness a person’s relief after a therapy session, especially when that person was visibly nervous and unsure about seeking therapy at all.

 

JJefferson.jpgJeannette Jefferson, MA
JFS: What inspired you to become a therapist?
JJ: When I was younger, my family was going through a lot of problems and my mother decided to put me in therapy to sort out what I was not willing to discuss with her or my father. When that was successful and helpful for me, I realized I wanted to give back to other children through my career. 

JFS: What about your work do you find the most rewarding?
JJ: The most rewarding moments in my work are when a client has a break through on something they were having a difficult time with. It’s also great when a client gets excited to share about their progress and how they are using the techniques you taught them. 

JFS: Tell us about a unique therapeutic approach you use. Why do you like it?
JJ: My favorite approach that I like to use for clients is play therapy because it enables the client to have fun, let loose, and be creative while expressing themselves in a safe space—it can be fun for me too and I get a lot of great insight through these sessions!

JFS: Can you bust any therapy myths?
JJ: Therapists are not mind readers!

 

Becca-McAdams.jpgRebecca McAdams, M.Ed., NCC
JFS: What inspired you to become a therapist?
RM: It only takes one person to positively impact someone’s life permanently, and I want to be that person to help people process, cope, and heal. Therapy is important in the empowerment and wellness of someone's life and it is a privilege to be part of their journey. 

JFS: Tell us about a unique therapeutic approach you use. Why do you like it?
RM: My favorite therapeutic approaches involve creative therapies like art, music, and sand tray interventions. Seeing clients work through their experiences in artistic and freeing ways—seeing their enthusiasm and engagement in their own therapeutic work—is incredibly rewarding.  

JFS: If you hadn't become a therapist, what other dream job might you have pursued?
RM: I would love to be a park ranger, helping preserve nature and the animals within it! I love going hiking and doing what I can to keep nature beautiful, safe, and clean. And I would look super official in uniform!

 

Susan-Nakaweesa-1.jpegSusan Nakaweesa, MS CMHC
JFS: What inspired you to become a therapist?
SN: Working as a teacher, I encountered several children living in dysfunctional families and homes. I would do my best to step in and support them, but I couldn't do enough; becoming a therapist allowed me to have a greater impact to help people through their traumas.

JFS: What about your work do you find the most rewarding?
SN: Inspiring and seeing any effort by my clients towards positive change—no matter how big or small—makes my work very rewarding. Just laying the foundation for healing can be a huge accomplishment…Rome wasn’t built in one day.

JFS: Do you have a favorite motivational quote to share with the readers?
SN: "Do not watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going." – Sam Levenson

JFS: Can you bust any therapy myths?
SN: Some may think, as mental health professionals, therapists do not need therapy…but oh yes, we do! We are as human as anyone else.

 

Nina-Licht-e1548709017248.jpegNina Licht, LPMHC, CAADC
JFS: What inspired you to become a therapist?
NL: I decided to become a therapist when I was about ten years old—my uncle was a social worker and would talk to me about the type of things he did. He was probably the single greatest influence on my career goals and my approach to working with people. 

JFS: What about your work do you find the most rewarding?
NL: This may be the obvious answer… but helping people heal and grow is definitely the most rewarding! 

JFS: Do you have a favorite motivational quote to share with the readers?
NL: “There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart. Pursue these.” – Michael Nolan

 

SarahRobins-2-L.jpgSarah Robins, LCSW
JFS: What about your work do you find the most rewarding?
SR: Whether it be processing trauma, learning new behavior management skills, or negotiating new boundaries and communication, witnessing families reconnect and learn to function and love each other again is one of the most powerful and rewarding experiences of this work.

JFS: Why do you think therapy important?
SR: Therapy provides a space to explore, reflect, practice, and heal. Therapy gives us ways to look underneath the surface and build compassion for our most vulnerable and precious parts.

JFS: Do you have a favorite motivational quote to share with the readers?
SR: “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  – Anais Nin

JFS: Can you bust any therapy myths?
SR: Going to therapy doesn’t mean you are weak. In fact, it’s quite the opposite—therapy challenges us to look within and acknowledge our wounds, which takes bravery, courage, and self-compassion.

 

Pamela-Stearn-800x800.jpgPamela Stearn, LCSW, CADC, CCDP
JFS: What inspired you to become a therapist?
PS: After taking an introductory course during my senior year of high school, I discovered psychology sparked an interest in me like nothing else ever had. I majored in psychology in college and have been working in the field ever since!

JFS: What about your work do you find the most rewarding?
PS: I find it incredibly rewarding to see a client gain insight or awareness about themself that helps them live a more fulfilling and authentic life. This is also why I think therapy is important—it creates the space for that growth to happen.

JFS: Tell us about a unique therapeutic approach you use. Why do you like it?
PS: I believe effective therapy begins with the connection between therapist and client; finding the best therapeutic approach for each client happens in that space. I often utilize mindfulness based cognitive behavioral therapy to introduce clients to ways they can better understand their thought patterns and how those patterns influence to their feelings and behaviors.

JFS: If you hadn't become a therapist, what other dream job might you have pursued?
PS: I often say that I was born a social worker and can’t imagine being anything else! I entertained the idea of being a high school English teacher or a writer, but I couldn’t be happier with my decision to become a social worker; this feels like how I’m meant to contribute to the world.

 

Start your therapy journey with JFS today!
Contact our Counseling Department to learn more about JFS’ counseling services and telehealth options.
Get started at: www.jfsdelaware.org/intake
Call (302) 478-9411 x129 or email intake@jfsdelaware.org

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