Three advance licenses at United Helpers
CANTON – A trio of clinicians at the United Helpers Behavioral Health Clinic in Canton have recently advanced their licenses with two becoming licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), and a third becoming a licensed master social worker (LMSW).
Shawn Henry and Jeanine Forrester have both recently earned the designation of LCSW. Brianna Foster recently earned the LMSW designation.Director of Behavior Health Services David Nelson, noted that in order for a LMSW to advance to LCSW they need to have 3,000 hours of clinical service experience. They must also pass an exam.
Henry has been a social worker for 36 years, but he says it wasn’t until he came to United Helpers that he felt like he could take the next step in his career.
“I just never have the supervision and support needed to take that next step,” Henry said. “Here at United Helpers, there is an emphasis on employee development. This really is a great place to work.”
Henry, who specializes in chemical dependency and behavioral health services for adult clients, earned his master’s degree from SUNY Albany.
Forrester actually holds two master’s degrees, one in education from St. Lawrence, and one in social work from Syracuse University. She has been a social worker for seven years and is a general practitioner with a focus on family therapy services.
It’s that family therapy that Nelson said sets United Helpers apart from other providers, noting that when Forrester is seeing a family, it’s as if that family is just one patient, and not three or four people from the same household who just happen to all be receiving services.
Forrester said their LCSW designation now allows her and Henry to supervise interns, which in turn allows the clinic to expand the number of patients it is able to see.
“It also gives us an experienced pool of people to hire from,” Henry said.
Foster earned her master’s degree from the University of Southern California, completing the first half of her degree in person, and the second half on-line after moving to Northern New York. In order to earn her license, she also had to pass an exam.
She is also a general practitioner, although she focuses on therapy services for adolescents and children.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented counselors and therapists at United Helpers’ Behavioral Health Clinics in Canton and Ogdensburg from seeing patients in person, it has not prevented them from holding virtual visits, something which they continue to do five days a week without a waiting list. That is something that Nelson said is very rare for behavioral health service providers, with some providers having a waiting list that is a year or more in length.
“We also have access to intra-agency services such as care coordination,” he said, adding that an after-hours hotline is also available for established patients.
“I always tell people that it’s one of us answering the phone,” Foster said, referring to the after-hours hotline. “For many providers, that is something they contract out.”
United Helpers operates behavioral health clinics in both Canton and Ogdensburg with both locations offering confidential mental health services to treat and diagnose those suffering from depression, anxiety, anger, abuse, chronic mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder or co-occurring disorders.
Both clinics are licensed to provide children’s therapy, and also offer individual, group or family therapy, as well as psychoeducation, psychiatric diagnostic assessments, psychiatric medication management, care coordination, coping skills training, and wellness promotion.
To schedule an appointment in Canton, call 315-386-0264, in Ogdensburg, 315-541-3042.