Sara’s Story


I’m a licensed clinical social worker who is passionate about exploration of the self and the world. This is me with my dog, Marconi. She's one of my favorite creatures on earth and has stuck by me through several years of my own self-exploration. It's always important to have support, even from furry friends.


 

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About Me

I’m a mental health clinician living with Type 1 Diabetes and multiple other autoimmune-related symptoms. Raised in Rochester, New York, I’ve spent most of my adult life living and working in various cities around the United States and abroad. I'm passionate not only about travel, but in exploration - of the world, cultures, finding new pathways in our own backyards, and, most importantly, within ourselves. Throughout my travels, I realized that no matter where in the world we go, what we explore within ourselves is arguably the most important piece of our journeys.

My Focus

I have many interests within the mental health world, though my passions lie in treating PTSD and trauma, unhealthy behavior patterns, and coaching people affected by diabetes. I also love helping my fellow social work community through mentorship and professional development. I provide therapy to those living in NY State. Life coaching, diabetes health coaching and mentorship opportunities are offered to clients worldwide.

Career Experience

I have been providing individual, group and community-based treatment to clients nationwide and abroad since 2012, working in the nonprofit sector since 2006. During my Masters program in New Orleans, Louisiana, I began pursuing my passion for forensic social work at an Alternative to Detention (ATD) program with people on felony probation and parole. In this role, I facilitated group and individual therapy sessions to felony offenders with a focus on psychoeducation, skill-building and cognitive restructuring.

I later accepted a job in a New York City bail reform pilot program for nonviolent felony offenders. Here, I assessed client needs for mental health and substance abuse services, working to provide rehabilitation skills coaching, and also continue my advocacy efforts in influencing change within the criminal justice system.

In 2015, I transitioned into a role conducting family- and community-based treatment to families in Brooklyn, New York, which focused on improving the livelihood of adolescents displaying chronic and violent behaviors. I identified and engaged primary caregivers and relevant environmental systems (homes, schools, teachers, neighborhoods) in active, change-oriented treatment by identifying strengths and struggles, overcoming barriers, and providing skills for effective problem-solving. I also coached parents on Contingency Management (CM) Therapy as an in-home intervention for substance-using youth, while continuously assessing safety and risk of all family members at home and in the community.

While in New York City, I also worked with an outpatient mental health and substance abuse treatment center in the Bronx, facilitating co-occurring and relapse prevention therapy groups, as well as individual treatment for adults with addiction and/or dual diagnoses (mental health and addiction). I also led identified clients through a 12-week anger management treatment curriculum.

I returned to my hometown of Rochester, New York in the fall of 2016, starting my private practice work in early 2017. That same year, I also worked in a community-based treatment program around Rochester to support those living with Serious and Persistent Mental Illnesses (SPMI). I now work at a wonderful group practice called Quiet Mind Therapy Services while managing my own practice, which includes managing this website and all that it encompasses.

Education

I graduated from Tulane University in 2012 with a Masters Degree in Social Work (MSW) and a Certificate in Global Social Work (GSW). This same year, my GSW offered me the opportunity to travel to Rwanda, Africa for three months for a global field placement. During that time, I traveled the country and worked with various orphanages and NGOs to conduct and implement a needs assessment of children transitioning from orphanages to families.

I received my Bachelors in Journalism/Mass Communications from St. Bonaventure University in 2006. I have loved blending my communications and social work backgrounds to help grow my practice and also help others. Go Bonas!

My Journey With Diabetes

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2016, just three weeks after my 32nd birthday. I was living in NYC at the time and had initially attributed my symptoms to being overworked and enduring the NYC grind. It wasn't until I nearly collapsed one morning at the Brooklyn IKEA that I knew it was time to see a doctor.

It took two office visits with my Primary Care Physician (PCP) to receive an accurate diagnosis. The day I received the diagnosis, my doctor sent me back to work with 11 new prescriptions (including insulin and syringes), and a brief description of what to do with them.

About 6 months later, a spike in autoimmune-related symptoms led me back home to Rochester for further treatment and family support. I quickly connected with my local chapter of the American Diabetes Association and became integrated into the Rochester diabetes community. Since then, I have participated in our local Tour de Cure biking fundraiser and have served as the Mental Health Counselor for the ADA's  Camp Aspire, a summer camp for kids living with Type 1 Diabetes.

Looking back, I had all the warning signs of diabetes: fatigue, extreme thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision, rapid weight loss despite excessive eating. My A1C was 11.1% with fasting blood glucose levels resting in the mid-300s (a non-diabetic is between 75-100).

After diagnosis, it didn't take long for me to find two huge gaps in the world of diabetes management: the limited resources available for dealing with the mental health components of diabetes, and the need for more support of those diagnosed with adult-onset Type 1 diabetes. I have since dedicated part of my career and practice to helping bridge the gap between the worlds of mental health and diabetes.

Credentials

Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), New York State

Masters in Social Work (MSW), Tulane University, 2012

Certificate, Global Social Work (GSW), Tulane University

Trainings/Experience

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Contingency Management (CM)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Internal Family Systems (IFS)

Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)

Schema Therapy

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