I have a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor, and a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. My first job out of graduate school was in 1975 working in a rural community mental health center. I was the only therapist for the entire county. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your frame of reference) at the time I did not know what I did not know. Since then I have supervised outpatient and partial hospitalization programs, directed Employee Assistance Programs, and worked in both for-profit and not-for-profit hospital settings.
How long have you worked for Aspire?
I’ve been with Aspire since 1997.
What positions have you held with Aspire?
I was Director of Outpatient Services in Indianapolis, and am currently the Lead Clinician for Addiction Services at Aspire.
Describe your current position, including your responsibilities?
As “Lead Clinician,” I provide resources and leadership for addictions services at Aspire. Basically, I’m the point person to help clinicians and managers deliver effective, science-based treatment for substance use disorders. Right now, we are looking at core competencies needed to provide SA treatment, drug screen protocols, Intensive Outpatient and Outpatient standards of care, community-based addiction services, and integration of standard criteria for levels of SA treatment.
I also conduct telehealth services for adolescents with substance abuse problems. Additionally, I provide trauma-informed therapy for adult substance abusing clients at our Carmel outpatient location through a program called “Seeking Safety.”
What does a typical day as Lead Clinician look like?
Right now I have a small clinical case load of adolescents in our telehealth program, and of adults in our Seeking Safety program. So I might be on the computer with a family, an individual teen, or a group of teens, or seeing adults with PTSD/Substance Use Disorder. I’m also talking on the phone with our fantastic HIT (Health Information Technology grant) CC/LSI, Beth Richards, as we work on coordinating treatment with one of the telehealth families. Any clinician will tell you that there is a lot of supportive and administrative work that is done to maintain active groups (and individual therapy, for that matter), especially with kids. Working with DCS and probation is also a big part of these programs.
The other half of my job is about supporting substance abuse programs at Aspire. I could be meeting with one of several committees that are working hard to make sure we provide quality services for our substance abuse clients. I also have found myself busy with community presentations on tele health and substance abuse treatment.
What in your educational background and work experience prepared you for your current position?
In a career that spans 40 years, you pick up a lot and wear a bunch of different hats. Having worked with pretty much all age groups, in both mental health and substance abuse, as both clinician and manager, I have great respect for our staff and what is asked of them. I try to contribute in ways that will help them do their job better without simply asking them to do more.
If you weren’t working in this field, what would you be doing?
My other choice for a college major was journalism.
What is it that drew you to the field of mental health?
What could be more interesting than what we do? The fact that it actually provides a needed service is a plus.
What impact do you feel your work has had on Aspire and its clients?
I would hope that I have contributed to a greater awareness that Addiction is not a moral failing but a brain disease …. And that treatment works!
What things do you do to help you cope with the demands of your job?
I play keyboards in a band. That’s something I’ve done since I was 14. This mental health gig is just my back up plan if I don’t make it big.
Dan Brown is the Lead Clinician of Addiction Services at Aspire Indiana. While the beliefs and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mr. Brown, you can learn more about Aspire Indiana at https://www.facebook.com/AspireIndiana. You can also follow Mr. Brown on Twitter @DannyCBrown.