Each day in the life of a JCADA clinician is different and can change from hour to hour. A typical day may involve bearing witness to horrific traumas and connecting clients with resources to get out of a crisis. However, on a daily basis there are also celebrations of small victories and moments of healing. One of the most important parts of a clinician’s work is to hold hope for our clients. The following is based on a recent day in the office.
I arrive at the office and receive a voicemail from my client telling me she cannot make our 10:00 appointment. The day before her husband violated a protective order and assaulted her, so she plans to go the Family Justice Center this morning. I call her back and provide crisis counseling over the phone. We plan to meet another day after she has had a chance to take care of the immediate legal issues. Next, I reach out to our Staff Attorney who assisted the client in obtaining her final protective order and will be able to help her in filing for an extension.
I take some time to prepare for a support group I am facilitating this afternoon. The session will focus on self-esteem and self-compassion. I print out some handouts and prepare supplies needed for an art therapy activity. 11:30am I have a session with a client during which she shares recent challenges she has been facing at home where she still lives with her abuser. I provide her with some information about common reactions to trauma to help normalize some of her feelings. I also empower her with knowledge about how her past and current traumas are impacting her.
I am on duty to answer the Helpline to assist clients and new callers. Between calls I catch up on my notes and respond to messages. 1:30pm I have a session with a client whose husband has been pressuring her through family members to drop the protective order against him. She is working on becoming more financially independent and stable, so he has less control over her and her children. We discuss her progress with her goals and coping skills that will allow her to decrease her anxiety and concentrate on the next steps she is taking to advance her career.
I work on completing an application for a client who I am nominating for the Ruth Rales Emergency Assistance Fund, a fund we use to grant clients small loans when they are unable to cover certain costs themselves. Luckily, this client meets all the necessary criteria! She needs assistance with an urgent medical issue and cannot afford the copays. I meet with our Victim Advocate to review the application.
I set up the room where I will be holding the support group.
Clients arrive for the support group and we discuss self-esteem and self-compassion. The clients identify how their abusive relationships and traumas have impacted their self-esteem. We do an art therapy activity while listening to music. Clients then share their drawings and responses to the activity. Before we wrap up, each participant shares one activity they plan to do as a gift to themselves this week, such as going for a walk or taking time to drink a cup of coffee with a friend.
Time to go home, recharge, and practice some self-care, so I can come back ready for the next day!