COVID policy: Masks are now optional unless requested.

Masks are now optional unless requested.

Melissa Iavarone, MSW

Open Access Coordinator and Preceptor, Turning Point

These stories of recovery are why I do what I do.

I realized how much I really wanted to work in mental health on a family trip to San Francisco. There were so many people experiencing homelessness, and I was literally talking to every person to hear their backstories.

Back home, I applied for a position at Turning Point, told that story at my interview, and got hired. While working as a case manager, I earned my master’s in social work, and now I’m a therapist.

At Turning Point we’re all about client-centered therapy. We meet every client where they’re at—to hear what they have to say so we can give them our best.

I worked with one client who was experiencing many challenges. She couldn’t identify feelings or even make eye contact. She had low self-esteem and had experienced significant emotional abuse.

I worked hard to build trust. I was there when she needed me. I tailored our sessions to make her more comfortable. We developed an amazing rapport and level of trust, and she became more able to regulate her emotions.

Another client of similar age and background had very little autonomy. She suffered from anxiety and panic attacks and struggled with what direction she should take in life, feeling great pressure to pursue a profession she didn’t want.

We used cognitive behavioral therapy to identify distortions and “stinking thinking” and to find more positive ways of looking at life based on facts. Over two years, she had moved into her own place, chosen her own career path, and was heading back to school.

Therapy is a mutual effort. We’ll do everything we can for our clients, but they have to do the work as well.”

Melissa Iavarone, MSW Open Access Coordinator and Preceptor, Turning Point