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 Hamilton, New Jersey Clinical Director, Nicole Ehrhardt. Always leading with compassion and warmth, Nicole brings a healthy perspective to the Footprints to Recovery team of what is truly important – providing support, instilling hope and lasting change in the lives of those who are in our care. Her expertise in the mental health and addiction industry (as seen by the alphabet soup after her name! Nicole Ehrhardt, MA, LPC, LCADC, NCC, ACS) positively impacts the growth and direction of Footprints to Recovery’s clinical programming. A heartfelt Thank You for always going the extra mile!
What’s a typical day in your role as Clinical Director look like?
There really is no such thing as “typical” in my role, and I really never know what the day will bring, which is one of the things I love about what I do here at Footprints to Recovery. My daily agenda fluctuates from day to day based on the needs of the staff and the patients alike, always providing me with the opportunity to grow and develop as a professional and as a person. Some of my day to day responsibilities include running group, meeting with patients for individual sessions including EMDR specific sessions, orienting new admissions, managing patient crises, providing supervision to our clinical staff, participating in team meetings, and making myself available for anything that may come up in the day.
What makes Footprints to Recovery’s New Jersey Programming stand out?
The thing that makes Footprints to Recovery’s New Jersey Programming stand out is the heart behind the program. Many programs talk about the sincerity and genuineness of their staff, however, at our facility, you feel it as soon as you walk into the building. The dedication and passion behind what we do here on a daily basis is undeniable. We connect with individuals, providing them with a safe space to be vulnerable and build a foundation for long-lasting recovery.
In your opinion, what’s the most important thing for addiction treatment centers to provide?
The most important thing for addiction treatment centers to provide is simply, a safe space. A nonjudgemental place to break down internal walls, be vulnerable, build insight and develop connections. All of the other bells and whistles that addiction treatment centers offer are great, and definitely have their benefits, but at the end of the day, the true value of a clinical program comes from the sense of security and support provided to individuals struggling with the disease of addiction.
If you could give Family, Friends, Loved ones of those with a substance use disorder a message, what would it be?
“Have faith and take care of yourself.” I have seen over and over again families and loved ones who have either completely given up hope, or are so immersed in their loved one’s addiction that they lose sight of their own self-care. Lean on faith during the difficult moments and always hold on to hope, recovery is possible. Most importantly, take care of you, addiction is a family disease, and if you don’t take care of yourself, it is so powerful it will take hold of your life and wellbeing.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Well, that is easy, my four-year-old son. Every morning like clockwork, literally and figuratively speaking, he is what gets me out of bed….and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being a mom is the most rewarding experience of my life. It is my son who keeps me grounded and motivates me to always be my best, while also reminding me, that my best is enough.
What are your biggest professional challenges?
My biggest professional challenge is dealing with the news of another lost life due to addiction. It is the reality of what we are dealing with in our profession, however, it never gets easier to bear. In those difficult times, I remind myself of the privilege I am given each day to help those still struggling with the disease and am fortunate to have the love and support of my Footprints to Recovert family to come together and move forward in our mission.
If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as a mentor?
I am fortunate to say that I have one of the best mentors in the field, Dr. Caitlin Simpson, and I wouldn’t trade her for anyone else. Dr. Caitlin has taught me so much about the field of addiction treatment, trauma-informed care, clinical programming, leadership, and so much more. She has believed in me, even at times when I didn’t believe in myself, and has been a huge part of my growth as a clinician, as a leader, and as a person. She is one of the most caring, down to earth, and intelligent women in the field, and I am very blessed to have been given the opportunity to work under her guidance.
What’s your motto or personal mantra?
I have two personal mantras the first is, “You are enough” and the second is, “Never, never, never give up.” It is so important for us to live each moment remembering that we are enough, what we bring to the table is enough and who we are is enough. This is also something that I try to instill in our patients as they begin to reestablish their self-worth. Also, to never give up, no matter what, you are worth the fight.
What’s your favorite Disney movie & why?
My favorite Disney movie is Beauty and the Beast. I was so excited when the remake came out in 2017; brought me right back to my childhood. It is such a great movie with a meaningful storyline…and what girl doesn’t love a good love story?