Karen Lane, 51, from Cumberland County, has had a private practice for 12 years and works primarily with people who are working through issues of anxiety and depression as a licensed clinical social worker.
When I was a kid, and people asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, the thought of helping people always came to mind. I did internships at the Long Creek Youth Development Center and Preble Street Resource Center, working with teenagers, and then got a job as a Mobile Crisis Clinician with the Cumberland County Crisis Hotline. Those were excellent experiences. After that, I became a school-based social worker working at a middle school. That’s how I started getting more confidence to go into private practice.
To me, it’s important to be able to provide meaningful support to people going through hard times. You have to understand them and let them know they are not alone. As children, we don’t have control over our world, so we’re molded by the situations around us. As we grow up, we get stuck in these beliefs that we adopted as children. So, it’s been rewarding working with clients and helping them recognize the limitations of their self-beliefs and change their perspective to support their growth and happiness.
Your own experiences with mental health and trauma can be helpful to others who are going through difficult times. You have to have empathy and the ability to walk in someone else’s shoes. To go into private practice, you also need strong organizational skills and the ability to create your own structure.