“There are a lot of people who need help in our world and being a part of creating change and making life better for people inspires me to continue with the work that I do.” – Catherine Talley, LCSW-C
It’s been quite a journey for Catherine Talley. Having been in the social work profession for 20 years, Catherine’s journey started with feeding the homeless during the summer as a teen volunteer to becoming a Social Worker helping families and children. Currently, she has been working as a mental health therapist at Maryland Health Alliance Inc., and is now beginning to take the full leap into managing and operating her own mental health agency, In Arms Reach, headquartered in Baltimore, MD. Catherine’s journey continues as the evolution of her career unfolds into the next level of educating the community and helping those in need of mental health services.
What inspired you to go into the mental health field and profession? What keeps you inspired every day?
I chose to go into social work because I’ve always found myself wanting to help people who were less fortunate and that couldn’t advocate for themselves. When I was a teenager, I volunteered for a summer feeding the homeless when the rest of my friends were looking for summer jobs. As I was determining my career path, I chose social work because it gave me the opportunity to be in the trenches and recognize the need for mental health services. There are a lot of people who need help in our world and being a part of creating change and making life better for people inspires me to continue with the work that I do.
Can you give an example of a client that has gone through a complete transformation and journey (for the better) with your help, and how did that make you feel?
This particular client was suicidal, depressed, suffering from low self-esteem and was in an abusive marriage when I started working with her. After several years of helping the client work through her problems, the client began to overcome her fears and insecurities, developed healthy coping skills, and insight into her problems and feelings. Today, this client is employed as a manager with a retail chain, working towards opening a home daycare, and has left the abusive marriage. As I helped this client do her work and witnessed her transformation, it made me feel so proud of her. I also felt blessed to be one small intricate part in this client’s journey to healing and living the best life she can. Seeing clients take control of their lives and begin to tap into their own potential and strengths lets me know that the work I do is needed and appreciated. This is what makes the job worthwhile for me.
Tell me about a client that was the most difficult to help. What was the outcome and how did you overcome the challenges and difficulties?
This particular client was an adolescent and was referred due to a suicide attempt. She was very resistant to therapy and didn’t understand the seriousness of her behavior. So, it was difficult engaging the client and by the second session, I was feeling discouraged and that I was not going to be able to help this client. I called Rolanda [Jones, Maryland Health Alliance Clinical Director], to talk with her about the situation and she encouraged me and gave me some strategies to use with the client. I was able to build a good relationship with the client and help the client work through the problems that lead to the suicide attempt.
During the time I worked with this client, her mother let me know that she was happy with the way I had been working with her daughter and could see some positive changes in her daughter’s behavior. This client was able to meet her goals in therapy and I was able to improve on some of my skills and receive the support of my clinical director.
What’s it been like working for Maryland Health Alliance?
My time with the clinic has been great. The clinical director and the CEO took me under their wing and nurtured me in this business. They both provided immense support, guidance, training and the opportunity for me to develop my clinical skills and work with clients. It is because of my time at the clinic that I can take the next step of starting my own practice. The clinic continues to be supportive to me as I make my transition. I look forward to continuing my relationship with Maryland Health Alliance as we both work to provide mental health services to the community.
What advice would you give to someone who was interested in going into the mental health career field?
I would tell a person coming into the field that they have to care about the people they work with, set professional boundaries with their clients and find a good mentor to help provide support, guidance and knowledge that he/she will need as they work and grow in the field.
Interested in joining the Mental Health Alliance, Inc. team?
You can do important work here! With exceptional colleagues like Catherine, you’ll be among people who share a commitment to helping clients, enriching our communities, and protecting the environment. Maryland Health Alliance inc. offers an excellent environment for your aspirations and experience. You’ll find the support and resources you need to keep learning, balance work-life integration, and be recognized for your achievements. We’re growing and always looking for talented and experienced mental health professionals.
There’s room to develop at Maryland Health Alliance Inc. where action leads to impact and impact leads to growth. Post a reply below to ask us about our career opportunities!