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You Helped Family Service Staff Change Lives

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Janet’s Story

Family Service therapist Janet Cecil opens up about the most challenging year of her professional life.

Janet Cecil, Family Service Therapist

As a mental health provider, this past year has been the most challenging year of my professional life.

When the pandemic began, I felt scared along with everyone else.

A few weeks of virtual therapy turned into seeing clients face to face in my office, wearing masks and six feet apart. At that time, we were the only agency doing face-to-face sessions in the community.

Session after session, I was processing all of my own fear and uncertainty right along with my clients.

Together we worried about our health, our loved ones, our kids’ educations, and the overall well-being of the world. We processed through civil unrest, unemployment, and the world just completely shutting down.

I was experiencing these unprecedented challenges side by side with my clients. For the first time ever, I had all of the fears and no answers. But what I didn’t have was crippling mental health issues.

Can you imagine what the past year has been like for someone with depression? Anxiety? PTSD? We had to continue to be there, in spite of our own fears.

My clients had no one to watch their children. They had jobs that couldn’t be worked from home. Together we watched businesses close and people panic. Two of my clients came to me in tears because they lost loved ones to COVID. I worked with mothers trying to regain custody of their children but court dates were being postponed, over and over. The usual therapists’ toolboxes were not sufficient for what we were experiencing, so my colleagues and I had to be creative and stay strong and support each other.

Throughout this challenging time, I was SO lucky to have never missed a paycheck. I am so fortunate to work for an agency that did all they could to keep us safe and employed. And to work with people who genuinely care for the people we serve.

It is an honor to be able to continue to provide care for my clients and to be with them as we all pick up the pieces of our lives, continue to heal, and move back into some sense of normality.

Janet Describes Helping a Client