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A virtual success

Family Services of Warren County: ‘We are alone in this together’

Front entrance to office/outside building.

The coronavirus pandemic is changing the way essential professionals and businesses provide services to their customers and clients.

The virus is certainly making us all rethink our daily practices and habits.

Family Services of Warren County (FSWC) wants the community to know that its doors are still open, and there is no better time than now to start improving your mental health.

“We are alone in this together,” said Kayla Cochran MSEd, NCC therapist at FSWC. “We are still here for you.”

Together, with insurance companies, they have been working to find solutions so that clients can still continue with care and not miss any sessions due to social distancing.

Clients's artwork where they get to sensory play and create during sessions.

For those who don’t know, Family Services of Warren County is a non-profit behavioral health organization that has been serving individuals and families in the community since 1889. At the time, the organization was called The Children’s Aid Society where they provided a safe living environment for destitute children.

In the 1950s, the need for mental health counseling grew, and in the 1980s treatment for substance abuse and disorders was added to the various services provided to local communities, thus requiring the final name change to Family Services of Warren County, Inc.

Family Services strives to be an essential part of helping the community heal and grow to its fullest potential. It is a trauma-informed organization which provides assessments, counseling, substance abuse services, and support groups for those in and around Warren County.

Family Services utilizes evidence-based practices to effectively and efficiently address specific needs and improve quality of life. The staff serves people of various ages, from preschoolers to senior citizens.

Over the years, clients would come to the office for their sessions, but COVID-19 social distancing requirements have impacted the typical client experience. And, employees are hinting that it may possibly be the best-case scenario for their purpose.

Break area/space for clients that is their own. Words on the walls chosen by the clients that represents them and their journeys.

Executive Director Kim Holt, LCP, has 25 years of experience in the mental health field, and she said this is the first time in her career that clients are not coming into the office for sessions… Also the first time she has ever witnessed insurance companies working vastly and efficiently to make sure clients are provided with solutions so that they do not miss any sessions and ultimately stay on track with their care.

According to Holt and Cochran, it’s been wonderful having an alternative method for sessions — virtual, and they are actually experiencing an increase in show rates and more meaningful connections and conversations with their clients.

“I get to experience an inside look of a client’s life and where they feel safe,” said Holt. By hosting sessions with the ZoomMeeting app and phone calls, employees are “breaking down barriers” for their clients. And they think the main reason is because clients are in the comfort of their own homes.

“It’s almost like a show-and-tell,” Cochran said.

“I’ve met so many pets, including a couple bearded dragons,” said Holt.

Times Observer photos by Kate Cataldo The statue (which doesn’t have to social distance) outside the office building at Family Services of Warren County.

By getting an inside look of their clients’ lives, counselors are helping clients on a whole new level and are seeing major breakthroughs and strong, meaningful connections are being made.

According to Jenna Dunning, BA Therapist at FSWC, ZoomMeeting is a great rapport builder.

“It’s humanizing the therapy experience for our clients,” she said. “Clients have been really great and understanding throughout the entire process.”

“It’s kind of the perfect storm for us, actually,” said Cochran, senior therapist at FSWC. According to her, she feels closer to clients than ever before and has a resurged sense of excitement and passion for her career.

All three were in agreement that whatever they are doing is working, and they want to let the community know that they are still providing services. And getting care is easier and more seamless than it has ever been.

Group session/DUI room, clients get to write their name on a leaf and put on wall tree when they complete a program.

FSWC has only been given a three month window to allow these virtual and remote sessions. They are eager to see how their practice changes and evolves moving forward as more and more breakthroughs are being made.

“There is still a sense of normalcy,” said Cochran about still being in the office.

Each employee gets to decorate their office the way they would like, and clients get to call in and still see their therapist in their office like a usual session. But they can’t ignore the progress their clients have made with this transition.

The future of how they run their sessions is unknown, but they are soaking it in while they can, and want to spread the word. FSWC wants the community to know how they are doing things differently, but also continue to meet the needs of their clients every single day.

Book shelf where people can donate self-help, healing, personal development and resources for clients to read.

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