A Chat with Spring Lake Ranch's New Clinical Director
Spring Lake Ranch extends a hearty welcome to Kathleen White, our new Clinical Director! A few days after she began, we sat down to talk together, and hope you'll stay tuned for more from her.
What is your background?
I’m a licensed clinical mental health counselor, and started on that path with a degree in Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA. I grew up in DC and found myself heading back there after I graduated, where I worked for three years just outside the city in Silver Spring, MD. I spent my time there working in a program based on the Fountain House Model, developed in New York City in the 1940s, which shares some similarities with Spring Lake Ranch. The model centers on the belief that work is an important part of recovery. The opportunity to support people grow and achieve greater self-determination cemented my desire to stay in this field.
After this, I obtained my Master's Degree in Counseling from Boston University. I’ve always loved New England and decided to officially become a Yankee and stay here after I was finished. Ultimately, I ended up in Vermont and my first post-grad school job was at Rutland Mental Health, where I worked in a variety of clinical roles, often with a focus on those with dual diagnoses. In more recent years at RMH, I ran the Adult Outpatient Program which offers services to help people improve the quality of their lives and pursue their goals.
I truly believe in the work-based therapy model; it is a critical part of recovery for most people - there’s a job out there for everyone if they want it. The power of having someone rely on you and having something meaningful to do can have a profound impact on a person's well-being.
What brought you here?
I've lived in Vermont since 1985, and in the same house for 33 years - a creature of habit. I live near several other former and current Ranch staffers, and have heard great things about SLR throughout the years. Although my time at RMH was incredibly valuable, I’m looking forward to changing my setting and shaking things up a bit. I also very much like the idea of working in a more natural environment.
Any initial thoughts? Favorite things? Anything you're particularly excited about? I'm drawn to the exercise resources: the tennis and basketball courts, the gym. I’ve only been here a few days, but I’m sure I’ll be adding more favorites soon!
I’ve also always enjoyed facilitating group psychotherapy and doing individual therapy, although in recent years I've had more opportunity to be in a supervisory role. I look forward to providing support to staff and residents here. I also look forward to getting to know the residents and spending time with them as a part of our community.
What can we find you doing when you’re not here? I have a small business tending other people’s gardens. I also love sports – I play hockey, basketball, and tennis. Baking and cooking are also a great way to spend some relaxing downtime.