New manager of clinical services offers HOPE and counseling
Erin Tishman knows a lot about grief. She studied it and its effects in school, earning a bachelor's degree in psychology and a master's degree in counseling psychology. She has also seen grief -- along with anxiety, depression and various other emotional and behavioral issues -- firsthand working as a clinician with grief-stricken or troubled children, adolescents and young adults living in residential treatment facilities in Vermont, New Jersey and Philadelphia.
Most recently, Tishman was a clinician for the Adolescent Program at Kids in Crisis in Greenwich, where she worked with the Department of Children and Families, Juvenile Probation, treatment providers, schools and other community resources to help adolescents cope.
Now she has come to New Canaan to continue her work as Family Centers' manager of clinical services for New Canaan and Darien. The private, nonprofit organization offers education and human services to children, adults and families in Fairfield County. We asked her about her new job and what she brings to it.
What are your responsibilities in your new role?
As the manager of clinical services in Darien and New Canaan, I will be overseeing the general mental health counseling services provided in Darien, the Center for Hope and the Den For Grieving Kids, as well as all of the community outreach and wellness services provided to the New Canaan and Darien communities.
Could you briefly define the Center for Hope? Who does it serve? Can you give us a typical hypothetical?
The Center for Hope provides comprehensive services for adults and children living with an illness, grieving a loss or coping with trauma. All counseling, support and education services are facilitated by specially trained professionals in an atmosphere of hope and renewal. Individuals and families who attend the Center for Hope might be in need of counseling, a support group or education around coping with loss, trauma and illness.
Same question for the Den for Grieving Kids? Who does it serve? Can you give us a typical hypothetical?
The Den for Grieving Kids offers support groups for children, adolescents and families who are in need of healing from the loss of a loved one. These groups are offered in Family Centers' Greenwich office, as well as in many community schools across Fairfield County. A typical family attending the den might have lost a parent/spouse/significant other and is learning to heal through the support of others.
What sort of therapies are provided?
Family Centers' Darien office, which houses the Center for Hope, offers mental-health counseling including individual, group, family and couples therapy.
What role does education play in the services you provide?
Education is a significant component in the therapeutic process. All clinicians are specifically trained to provide psychoeducation around issues that clients might be facing. It is important to help clients understand what they are dealing with in order to best help them heal.
What are human services?
Human services is the field of providing prevention, intervention and improvement of problems for individuals in order to aid those in achieving a greater, more healthy level of life functioning. Human service providers are focused on identifying, reaching and delivering appropriate services to those in need.
New Canaan is an affluent community. Are the issues that present in towns like this different than those in less-affluent area? Does that affluence pose any particular challenges (a reluctance to seek help) or problems (i.e., the stresses and pressures of maintaining affluence)?
Affluence can play a role in different ways. However, while more-affluent communities may have different life experiences than less- affluent areas, emotional challenges and responses to grief and mental illness are nondiscriminatory and manifest in all individuals, despite their socioeconomic status. Unfortunately, there is a stigma attached to seeking therapy and this impacts all communities. It would be easier for communities, affluent or not, to support one another in seeking help, as it is not a weakness to utilize assistance in managing life's problems.
What do you hope to bring to your new job, and what are the biggest challenges you face going forward?
I'm hoping to bring a larger understanding of our resources to the Darien and New Canaan communities through outreach, committees, schools, health fairs, etc. I would like to help educate the community on how important mental health is in all facets of our lives and how easily these areas can be impacted by life events. Seeking therapy should be something we, as a community, view as positive self-care, in the same way we would when treating a medical illness. This might be my biggest challenge: breaking down the stigma attached to mental health and therapy.