In the early 1980’s in Missoula Montana, a small band of freshly educated (Master’s and PhD level) individuals came together and decided we needed to get state licensure to validate and respect our careers. There were individuals from all over the state; hardly a dozen, however.
After much lobbying, passion and conviction we were granted a Licensing Board in 1986. With a few modifications to specify that were were clinicians, and ultimately we were joined under the same Board as the Licensed Clinical Social Workers.
In part to honor our success, but more so to form a united profession, we divided the state into areas and began the process of unifying this newly licensed profession. Immediately successful, in Missoula alone we developed our monthly “Shack Lunches” where LP’s, LCPC’s, LCSW’s, MD’s… – all were welcome! – gathered for lunch at the famous Shack restaurant for an hour of in-house education for a Continuing Education Credit and camaraderie.
I was the Chief Area Coordinator from 1991 – 1993. At this time I was given this lovely plaque to honor my work and efforts. This was a wonderful time for our profession in Montana, with much grace and cooperation between the related professions as well as the medical community.
Gambling became legal in Montana in 1986. Prior to that, most gambling activity was limited to some card games, pull-tabs and bingo! Sadly, within a decade it became apparent that our state had suddenly and rapidly, encompassing all ages & populations, developed a severe compulsive gambling problem. This was a very controversial subject and, like problem drinking, the medical world did not recognize this as a pathological addictive behavior until recently.
In 1999, working along with the Montana Tavern Association and lobbyists, a small group of Licensed Clinicians formed the Montana Council On Problem Gambling. I was in this group, as was Donna Johnson. For many years Donna was our backbone and “fearless leader” in helping those afflicted with what continues to be a major problem in this state.
Sadly, Donna’s died too suddenly and quickly the summer of 2013. In her honor this Award is given annually to one of the handful of clinicians who work with this challenging population. I was delighted to be the 2nd recipient of the award in 2013. Whereas the plaque is kept, the plexiglass “globe” gets handed to the next receiver of this honorable recognition.
The American Red Cross (ARC) had never sent me a “call for help from Therapists and other Clinicians” until 9/11. New York City is my home and after the Attack on the Towers I got involved with First Responding through the well-known organization. I’d gotten my First Responder training through them for over 20 years, as well as Continuing Education in Critical Incident Stress Management and other similar areas of training.
When I got an email that Counselors were needed in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina there was an uncanny feeling within me of being “Called by my Country.” This was before I began to contract with the Department of Defense, and perhaps a precursor to it!
The experience was unique, mixed, educational and rewarding. I worked with clinicians and RN’s from all over the US. The devastation was certainly different than 9/11, yet traumatic as well.
It was well worth donating my time (I learned that agencies, and some school districts nationwide actually pay their workers to go; this shocked me, as it was a genuine gift of my time and talents). Seeing how the Red Cross operates was also quite a learning experience!
I was contacted by the local newspaper in 2005 to participate in a special edition they were having for a Health Fair. This was much before the internet was a primary source of advertising and – well, a way of life.
Below is a collage as it was printed in Black White of my ad and the contest offered.
There were 6 individuals who actually participated and sent me lists of emotions they saw in the collage. They all got a book, too!