Yellow Springs, Ohio 1971-1975
Licensed in the State of California (L.C.S.W.) in 1986
I have been providing private practice therapy services in Calaveras County and contract mental health services for Alpine County in Bear Valley since 1991. Prior to moving to the Arnold/Murphys area, I had over 16 years of experience providing mental health and substance abuse services in diverse settings. Prior employment settings included four years working in a methadone maintenance and detox program, four years of experience in residential treatment, one year of county emergency service work, three months of inpatient treatment work, two years working part-time in a program for pregnant and parenting teens, and three years of part-time providing outpatient treatment services in a county mental health center.
A Masters of Social Work (M.S.W.) is a two year graduate degree and an L.C.S.W. requires two years of supervised clinical work and passing a state licensing exam. The graduate educational background for Social Work, while overlapping with other professional training in counseling and psychology, has a unique history in community service and advocacy. Social Work values emphasize a non-judgmental and strengths based approach to therapy. An important Social Work tenant is to be aware of the uniqueness of each person, as well as the impacts of the larger social and cultural environment. Social Workers are trained to start where the client is and view a diagnosis only as a description of symptoms and dynamics useful in guiding treatment. Social Workers think in terms of working with systems, which by nature require flexibility, try to bridge service gaps, and often include other family members and refer to resources in the community. There is a recognition of the importance self determination and that there are many paths to personal growth and recovery. As a profession, we have historically worked as part of a treatment team, referring to psychiatrists for medication issues, to psychologists for testing and evaluation, to physicians for medical care, and educational specialists for educational assessments.
Beyond this general philosophical approach to treatment and intervention, licensed clinicians are responsible to develop a theoretical orientation to guide and inform our therapy approach. It is expected that we maintain a high standard of care in our profession through ongoing training, professional reading and continuing education.
My particular approach to therapy is based on the following orientations: Ego psychology, systems theory, attachment theory, developmental theory, family therapy, play therapy, integration based trauma therapies, including EMDR, non violent communication, restorative justice, parenting for social intelligence, the recovery movement, traditional story telling and the importance of a developing a coherent narrative, and the new developments in brain research, particularly in understanding emotions, trauma, and the importance of self regulation and integration. Each of these orientations provides a focus, a way of understanding, and set of tools that I can then offer my patients in therapy.
While I don't routinely assign homework, I strongly believe in the benefits of focusing on desired changes and practice outside of therapy. This may include recommended reading, journaling, joining a self help group, volunteering or otherwise finding meaningful involvement in the community, joining a meditation, yoga, spiritual or religious group, physical exercise, or simply being more conscious in daily life.
I moved to the Murphys/Arnold area in 1991 to raise my family here. I am grateful to be a member of this community. Patient privacy is of the utmost importance to me, especially when living and working in such a small community. Please bring up any concerns that you might have regarding any conflicts of interest or privacy issues. Note: I remarried in 2007, changing my last name from Berner to Calderwood.