By Jennifer Bowen
On this very pleasant summer afternoon, our team is gearing up for a busy fall. We have many changes coming up with our staff, who are working hard to meet the needs of clients calling in.
While our phones were quiet early in the pandemic as we all adjusted to our new normal, the phones are now back to pre-COVID buzzing, and we’re so glad clients are reaching out for support and taking care of their mental health needs.
One change that we are celebrating is Natasha Longmire’s maternity leave. While we are sad to lose her for a year, we’re thrilled for her as she begins this new chapter in her life. She wrapped up her clinical work near the end of August.
Shawn Groen was also away on a parental leave for part of the summer as he welcomed a new little family member. He is back as of September, and we continue to be grateful for his presence in the clinic.
Stepping into the team this fall and supporting many of Natasha’s clients is Jen Watt. She has completed her Master’s degree this summer and signing on as a new member of our staff team. She has demonstrated great enthusiasm for her clients and our field, and we are so happy to be welcoming her onboard in this chapter. Welcome again, Jen!
We also are happy to be expanding our training capacity to two internship positions this fall. We are welcoming Aikisha Beckwith and Glen Watkinson starting this fall and they will be staying with us for a year. Both bring considerable experience and passion for wellness and mental health work. We are looking forward to working alongside them both!
We are so grateful for the complement of outstanding staff who are on our team, with many experienced therapists working alongside several who are new the field and up on the latest research and interventions – it makes for a rich culture of learning and collaboration.
All this collaboration has been essential this spring and summer as we have worked to stay adaptive and flexible in offering services online, quickly changing our practice vehicle while working to ensure the same level of care and service. As much as this pandemic has tested us greatly, in many ways, it’s been an adaptation and encouraging time of growth.
While there are so many unanswered questions about how things will unfold this fall, particularly in relation to the ongoing pandemic, we are confident that excellent clinical work will continue to be offered, no matter what the format.
Jennifer Bowen, M.Div., RMFT, is the Clinical Director of Shalem Mental Health Network’s Counselling Services.