Position: Clinical Intervention Specialist
I studied psychology and dance in college and found out there was an emerging field—Dance Therapy. At this same time, I was working with a child with Autism and realized I had to get really creative in my approach in order to engage him in a social way. I loved this so much, I began studying the intersections between psychology and art and found I had a deep love of combining that work with hanging out with kids. After college, I worked in a group home for teenage girls and got no training, feeling extremely ineffective in working with kids with trauma. I wasn’t sure where to go, but knew I wanted to get better training and return to the mental health field feeling like I was able to respond in a more helpful way. I left, working instead at a school for kids with severe Autism and getting trained in Applied Behavior Analysis. I loved the work and learned a ton, but still felt that I couldn’t be as impactful and creative as I wanted to be in that position. I found the Expressive Arts Therapy program at California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) and it felt like home. As I learned, I kept feeling like I wanted to go back to working in schools with kids and I found Seneca and immediately applied. I wound up in All-In and started at Cox Academy during my Practicum year at CIIS. The more I studied and worked, the more I fell in love with working with kids with trauma, seeing this as the most vital work that has the ability to create a far greater impact than I had anticipated.
"I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress. The way you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art." - Helen Bonham Carter
What does your average day look like? Coffee, emails, out-of-the-box ideas, coffee, spill coffee on shirt, art, sports, feelings, meetings, art, feelings, lunch, feelings, art, feelings, art, notes?, meetings, meetings, meetings. Not always in that particular order.
Why do you do this work? I believe that social justice and positive change begin on the individual level. People are wounded in relationship and they heal in relationship. I think the starting place for healing is by allowing people to feel seen, heard, and held. I also strongly believe in early intervention and in the power of teamwork--I love working in a school with partners who also impact my clients’ lives, and who spend a lot more time with them than I do. I think that we can be a stronger force of change and goodness when we work together with common goals and a foundation of love and intent to understand as much as we can about the child, their family, and the circumstances which have caused them to need more support.
What hope do you have for the future of All-In? More growth/upward mobility opportunities for clinical staff. And for us to create more sustainability at our sites, so that when our contracts end, the school is strong enough to continue Unconditional Education on their own.