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. 

9:30 am
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. 

10:00 am

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.

2:30pm 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.

3:00pm I set up the room where I will be holding the support group.

3:30-5:30pm 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.  

5:30pm Time to go home, recharge, and practice some self-care, so I can come back ready for the next day!

Posted by JCADA | Topic: Clinical | 0 Comments | Leave a Comment

February is Teen Dating Violence (TDV) Awareness Month! Most people may be focused on Valentine's Day, but JCADA and AWARE® are excited that every day in February can be dedicated to empowering young people to build healthy relationships. According to the CDC, nearly 1.5 million high school students in the United States experience physical abuse from a dating partner each year. Rooted in power and control, TDV is a pattern of behavior where a person seeks to gain and maintain power and control over their dating partner. TDV can happen to anyone regardless of gender, race, age, financial status, or sexual orientation and includes physical, emotional, technological, financial, and sexual abuse. It also can have both short- and long-term negative impacts on young people including lower grades in school, substance and alcohol abuse, higher risk of suicide, and experiencing abuse in future relationships. 

To help us all raise awareness about teen dating violence, the AWARE® Teen Advisory Board created a #TDVAM social media toolkit. With fast facts, hashtags, and healthy relationship celebration opportunities, you can stay informed and share these important messages with your own network. 

Fast Facts

  • Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. 
  • 1 in 3 adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence. 
  • 30% of all teens report worrying about their personal physical safety in a relationship.
  • 1 in 6 college women have been sexually abused in a dating relationship.
  • Half of youth who have been victims of both dating violence and rape attempt suicide. 
  • 29% have been pressured to have sex or engage in sexual activity when they did not want to.

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (#TDVAM) Hashtags

  • #TDVAM2018
  • #TeenDVMonth
  • #itsnotlove
  • #loveisrespect
  • #Orange4Love
  • #HealthyRelationships

Healthy Relationship Celebrations

  • Respect Week is February 13-16th! Hosted by, this year's this is Hands Unite: Do Your Part. Check out their Respect Week Guide for more ideas on how to get involved to raise awareness in your local community. 
  • February 13th is #Orange4Love Day! Wear orange to show your support for healthy teen relationships. 

Don't forget to follow AWARE® on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook for daily #TDVAM posts!

This article was originally posted on the AWARE® blog on February 1, 2018. 

Posted by JCADA | Topic: Clinical  | Category: Teens & Young Adults | 0 Comments | Leave a Comment

Victims of domestic abuse are often subject to many types of physical abuse. Currently, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men report having been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.1 Because victims of domestic abuse are subject to these types of assaults, they are at particular risk of developing traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Recently, lead researchers at the Sojourn Center estimated that as many as 20 million women could receive a TBI (related to domestic violence) diagnosis this year.

So what is a TBI? A TBI, as defined by the Mayo Clinic, is an injury to the brain caused by an external physical force. Three types of injuries fall under this category: (i) penetrating injuries (where an object pierces through the skull), (ii) closed head injuries (where the blow does not open the skull), and (iii) cutting off oxygen due to strangulation. TBI can have both short-term and long-term effects, ranging from cognitive difficulties, such as decreased ability to pay attention and solve problems, to changes in behavior, irritability, and loss of coordination. In addition, a TBI can cause memory loss, headaches, and difficulty in communicating with others.2

Unfortunately, TBIs are severely underreported by victims of domestic violence. This is, in large part, because a TBI is an invisible wound that many people may not even be aware they have. To make matters worse, many may have experienced repeated trauma to the head and are unable to recover from their injuries properly. Repeated trauma to the head may spiral into what is referred to as “second impact syndrome,” where the brain swells dangerously after being hit for a second time without having enough time to recover from the initial injury.

When dealing with victims of domestic abuse, behaviors such as missing appointments, being unable to follow step-by-step instructions, or following through on a task, may be chalked up to behavioral issues when, in fact, an undiagnosed TBI is to blame. The undiagnosed TBI can impair victims’ daily functioning and their abilities to care for their children. It can also cause victims to appear disorganized or confused in a courtroom setting. 

At JCADA, we provided in-service trainings to educate our staff on TBIs and other related matters. Our clinicians are trained to ask the proper questions to screen for a TBI and know what to do when they suspect someone is suffering from a TBI. They are also trained to incorporate mindfulness and relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, to help clients. It is important to normalize what the victim is feeling while at the same time giving them the proper referrals, education about their condition, and support.

To learn more about domestic abuse and TBIs, visit:

No Visible Bruises: Domestic Violence and Traumatic Brain Injury

CDC - Traumatic Brain Injury