Staff Q&A: Ashley Schenkel
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08-14-13 Category: Treatment Center Staff

1. What brought you to Sovereign Health?

I’ve worked in the mental health field in Orange County for the past 11 years or so in a number of settings, and I am passionate about treatment that provides individuals with a sense of safety, care, and compassion. I learned about Sovereign Health and the good work being done here, the educated and experienced clinical team providing multi-faceted treatment to people struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues.

My background is in Marriage and Family Therapy, and I appreciate the way Sovereign utilizes trained family therapists to treat the family system as well. The reputation of the clinical work and the all encompassing programs we offer were what attracted me to Sovereign!

2. How did you enter the field of psychology?

I’ve been interested in human interactions, behavior and relationship for most of my life! I started studying psychology in high school, and majored in Psychology in my undergraduate program with an interest in abnormal psych and substance abuse, even at that early stage of my training! A professor in my program encouraged me to pursue grad school and when I discovered the field of Marriage and Family Therapy and systems work, I knew I had found my niche!

3. How did you become interested in marketing?

Both of my parents are journalists, so I grew up with a respect for the media and the written word. I understand the importance of accurately portraying a service or business. I’m connected to a wide range of therapists in the County, and I’ve always really enjoyed connecting people to others who can assist them, be it a therapist, treatment program, or a business offering a job to a therapist. I really love connecting people, and when I realized marketing is a job that allows you to do what I’ve already done and enjoyed for so long, I was in!

4. You’re known around Sovereign for being one of the few people to combine a practicing degree and a marketing position. Can you tell us a bit of what that’s like? What gave you the idea to combine them?

I feel very fortunate to work in the clinical side and the outreach side of Sovereign. As I mentioned, I’m trained in Marriage and Family Therapy, and really enjoy the dynamics in a family system, or in a group, which often feels like an extended family system. I have a background in teaching yoga as well, and really enjoy working with people to guide them through techniques and strategies to manage stress and anxiety.

At Sovereign, I’ve been able to lead our guided imagery/meditation group, process groups, mindfulness groups, coping skills, and our immensely helpful life skills group. It’s an amazing role to be in leading groups with our clients who are taking risks and making immense life changes, and sit in the room with clients as they bravely take on new challenges and make sense of their past, and then be able to go out into the community and share the amazing work we are doing at Sovereign in a very informed and connected manner.

Clients give feedback that they have been in other treatment centers but have never addressed their mental health issues until here in treatment with us, and report the changes they are making and the pieces of the puzzle they’ve put together with us now that they understand how their bipolar disorder interacts with their substance abuse… clients report in group how amazing they feel and thank the treatment program for saving their life, and teaching them to love themselves again… I feel so privileged to be a part of that process of change, and to be able to share in their successes, and then share that feedback with the community who is searching for treatment that works!!

5. How do you feel that your clinical background helps your position in marketing?

I’m incredibly informed about our treatment approaches, including how we work with trauma, how we choose which treatment track might be a better fit for clients based on their presenting symptoms. When working with community contacts and families interested in treatment, I can explain our treatment program with my clinician hat on, and share about how we meet the needs and serve the best interests of clients and their families.

When working with families in the community specifically, I’m able to truly empathize with how difficult it has been to see a family member struggling with addiction or mental health issues, and provide hope, based on our outcome studies, and the successes I see from our clients every day in treatment.

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