Supervision for Masters students and Counselors working towards an Indiana Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) designation
I believe strongly in mentoring and being mentored. It is rewarding to invest in the next generation of therapists, as well as a responsibility. As a National Certified Counselor (NCC) who has complted the Approved Clinical Supervision Professional Development 45 hour training approved by NBCC, has been in private practice for over a decade, and invests time and energy into ongoing growth and learning, I believe I have something to offer newer professionals. I have worked with a wide variety of clients. For more information regarding my training and experience, you can find my Curriculum Vitae here. Supervision is not limited to the Indianapolis-area. Videoconferencing can be used for supervision and case consultation as well.
Adoption Case Consultation
Throughout my career, I have worked with a large number of adult adoptees, children that have been adopted, expectant mothers, birth mothers, and parents of adopted children. I adopted my son as a single woman and count several adoptees and adoptive parents among my friends, mentors, and clients. While not all concerns relate back to adoption, it is important for therapists to understand the impact that adoption can have on an individual and a family. It is especially important for children to work with a therapist that will work with the entire family and not allow him or herself to become an attachment figure for the child. I am passionate about ensuring adoptees are provided expert-level counseling.
In addition to my varied experience as an adoption therapist, I am an adoptive parent and have worked in various adoption agencies. I was a founding member of MLJ Adoptions where I served for seven years as Vice President of Social Services. MLJ started as both an international and domestic adoption agency, but dropped the domestic adoption program after two years to focus solely on international adoption. I served as the Interim Vice President of PR, Outreach, and Communications for KidsFirst Adoption Services, which focused more heavily on domestic adoption. I continue to serve as a Young Professionals Advisory Board member for The Villages, Indiana’s largest not-for-profit child and family services agency, serving over 1,400 children and their families each day, including a very strong foster care and adoption program. I am or have been a member of NACAC, Joint Council on International Children's Services (JCICS), and the Attachment & Trauma Network, Inc. I adopted an older child as a single woman through an international pilot program which has been one of the most difficult and most rewarding things I have ever done. My parenting experience includes adoptive, step, kinship, and grandparenting with both single motherhood and coparenting in a blended family.
Excerpts from Randolph, B. E. (2014). Red Flags that a Potential Therapist Could Do More Harm Than Good. In Dennis, L. (Ed). Adoption Therapy: Perspectives from clients and clinicians on processing and healing post-adoption issues. Entourage Publishing, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
"I cannot tell you how many times I have heard an adoptive parent say we went to a therapist, but it only seemed to make it worse. Adoptees seem to be more gentle in their assessment that it just didn’t help or the counselor didn’t get it. Sadly, it is much more common to hear these sentiments than it is to hear that a therapist was able to provide the support and guidance needed for an adoptive family or adoptee. As counselors, we want to work ourselves out of a job; we want our clients to come to a place where they no longer need us. While the circumstances and issues entwined with adoption often cannot be fully processed until adulthood, no child or family should be left struggling; there are understandings that can be found along the path that allow for the alleviation of distress if nothing else.
It is no wonder that so many therapists are making mistakes when trying to work with those who have been impacted by adoption. Most clinicians were never provided even a basic introduction to adoption let alone an explanation or analysis of the complexities adoption entails. 65% of clinical psychologists surveyed were unable to recall any courses addressing adoption in graduate school which is better than the 86% that could not recall any courses addressing adoption in their undergraduate coursework either. (source)
When asked how much time they spend discussing adoption in doctoral-level clinical programs, professors reported an average of 7.95 minutes per semester on adoption, yet they reported spending 22.17 minutes on the rare dissociative identity disorder, and 76.82 minutes for schizophrenia. (source) I have never seen a case of dissociative identity disorder, but foster care and adoption was something I dealt with at least weekly during my Masters-level internship.
The different types of adoption - foster care, domestic infant, kinship, international adoption - vary greatly in the process, people involved, and experiences of the child, yet even within each type there are innumerable variables that no situation is exactly the same. Two families starting the international adoption process from the same country at the same time and both adopting children within the same age range can have vastly different experiences. Everyone whose family has been impacted by adoption knows the frustration of listening to someone’s story about this one adoption they know about whether a friend, neighbor, or second cousin, which likely has nothing in common with their experience. Anecdotal and personal experience is not enough to fully understand the expression of issues unique to adoption or the therapeutic needs of those impacted by adoption.
Seeking adoption competency through continuing education courses in unlikely to be sufficient. There are a few adoption competency trainings and special intensive courses that those of us that specialize in adoption would recommend, but until a practitioner is experienced with multiple cases of adoption they may be unable to juggle the complex layers of developmental trauma, loss, attachment, etc."
Image courtesy of punsayaporn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net