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Employee Spotlight – Clinical Director

5 minute read

Employee Spotlight Series featuring Footprints to Recovery’s Rockstars!

Beyond our degrees and titles, we’re also real humans endlessly passionate about the fight for those struggling with addiction. Our DreamTeam is made up of many hard working talented individuals with interesting stories to tell. In our Employee Spotlight series, you’ll meet some of these people, learn what they do (on and perhaps off the clock), and how they keep Footprints to Recovery growing and flowing — just the way we like it.

This months Employee Spotlight Series features Footprints to Recovery’s Arlington Heights, Illinois Clinical Director, Laurie Hadler. With over 15 years of experience working in Mental Health and Addiction, Laurie brings a tremendous amount of knowledge and expertise to Footprints to Recovery’s clinical operations. A favorite among her employees, as well as patients Laurie always goes the extra mile to create a positive working and healing environment, including making sure everyone is always heard. We’re *oh so* pleased to have Laurie on our team and *beyond* thankful for her consistent hard work.

What’s a typical day in your role?

A typical day for me involves starting the morning with the counselors, going over what is on the clinical schedule for that day and then, every day all of the clinical staff, including myself, greet the patients as they come in the door, in an effort to start their treatment day on a positive note. Once the patients arrive and are in their groups, I spend my time meeting with the different clinical staff for supervision, reviewing patient records for clinical content and timeliness, and overseeing the clinical operations to be sure we are providing the best care possible. I lead another meeting with the counselors at the end of the clinical day to review any issues that came up related to any patients or their care and to prepare for what will be going on with the patients the next day. Although these are routine things that go on every day, most days are not exactly the same, as I do try to make myself available to patients, if they have concerns, and to staff to assist them in how to best perform their job duties.

What is your favorite group therapy activity/topic?

I enjoy all of the different group’s Footprints to Recovery offers, but I think my favorite has always been groups on relationships. Whether it be an educational group on that topic, or a process/group therapy session. Everyone has relationships with others, and how we deal with these relationships can really impact our lives for the better or the worse.

In your opinion, what’s the most important thing for addiction treatment centers to provide?

I think the most important thing for any addiction treatment center to provide is a safe environment where patients can feel comfortable to share anything and everything they need to share without fear of being judged. Clients in this field have often times been judged harshly by family, friends, and others and often times choose not to share openly for fear of being judged. If a patient is not at ease to share openly, they will tend to keep things to themselves and often times those things they choose not to share, or not to deal with, are the exact things that are most likely to lead to relapse.

If you could give Family, Friends, Loved ones of those with a substance use disorder a message, what would it be?

Never give up on the person with the substance use disorder. Some people attend treatment one time and remain clean and sober from that point on. But that is often not the case, and instead, someone may need several different treatment episodes before they really start to understand their addiction and are able to make the changes they need to make to be successful in their treatment and in life overall. So, just don’t give up. It may take one treatment only, or 40 treatments, or maybe even more. But, it will be worth the wait if the person with the substance use disorder can finally get and stay clean and become that healthy, happy person they were before the use ever started.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Throughout my career, I have loved knowing that the kind of work I do helps others to improve their lives. It’s a great feeling to get out of bed every day and know that I get paid to have this kind of positive impact on another person’s lives.

If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as a mentor?

I would say I’ve probably had a mentor at every job I’ve had throughout my career. In the brief time I’ve been at Footprints to Recovery, I  would say my Supervisor, Dr. Stacy Lott, has become a mentor. I’ve worked in Addiction treatment for the majority of my career, but did leave it about 10 years ago to work in Mental Health treatment. When I returned to Addiction treatment and took my current position at FTR, I realized that there have been a lot of changes in the field since I left it, such as MAT, which was in its infancy when I went to work in Mental Health. Stacy has been a phenomenal resource to me to get me up to date with the various changes in the field over the past 10 years.

What’s your favorite Disney movie & why?

I pretty much like all Disney movies, but I especially like all the animated ones. My favorite is “Lady and the Tramp”. I saw it for the first time when I was a very small toddler. We had a cocker spaniel dog at the time, named Lady, and, yes, she was named after the dog in the movie. I loved our dog and I thought that was actually our dog in the movie and I thought it was so cool to see our dog in her own movie. When the movie ended, I threw a fit, locked my arms around the arm of the theater seat and would not leave. One of the theater staff came by and offered to my parents to let us all stay and watch the next showing of the movie for free if that would shut me up and get me to stop irritating everyone else in the theater. We stayed, I loved the movie, again, and I fell asleep at the end, so my parents were finally able to get me out of the theater without any further scene. Needless to say, I have this movie on DVD and I watch it at least once a year.

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