Returning Clinical Director, Jen McCormick

I am excited to announce that Jen McCormick will be returning to The Healing Center for an interim period as the Clinical Director.  Jen is renowned in the grief community for her expertise and we are thrilled to have her join us.  Her passion for The Healing Center and previous experience in helping build our group programming is a huge asset to the organization, and we are certain she is the perfect fit for the role.

Jen earned her MSW from the University of Washington in 2002. She began her career in community mental health and worked as a case manager for Sound Mental Health as well as a social worker at Harborview, UWMC, and Overlake on the inpatient psychiatric units. Jen served as an Emergency Department social worker at UWMC for several years and later moved on to work as a hospice social worker for Providence. During her time there, she volunteered at Camp Erin, a grief and loss camp for kids and adolescents. In 2013, Jen earned a post-graduate Certificate in Psychological Trauma Treatment from the University of Washington.

Jen served as Clinical Director at The Healing Center from 2013 to 2017, when she left to focus on building her private practice. She currently co-facilitates groups for Separation and Loss Services, conducts training for Art with Heart, and is a social worker with the Journey Program at Seattle Children’s Hospital. In addition, Jen has a part-time private practice with her dear friend and fellow UW MSW grad in the University District.

Here is what Jen has to say about returning to The Healing Center:

The Healing Center has always held a special place in my heart, and the choice to leave in 2017 was a difficult one. I love the opportunity I have had to create a thriving private practice in the past few years, and I find myself wanting to give back to the grief community in a bigger way. To that end, I was thrilled to meet Chase and learn about the opportunities available at The Healing Center now. I truly look forward to teaming up with Chase and working with the staff to grow The Healing Center to its full potential!

Please join me in welcoming Jen back to The Healing Center.

Sincerely,

Chase Huffman

Executive Director – The Healing Center


Available Clinical Director Position (Filed as of 10/1/2019)

Filed as of 10/1/2019

About the Healing Center:

The Healing Center offers a safe, loving place that honors grief, helping you to move through it and heal. We serve 400+ adults, young adults, teens and children who have experienced the death of a spouse/partner, parent, sibling, child, relative or friend.

  • We provide support and guidance on the grieving and healing process.
  • We offer individual support, as well as programs and activities where you can benefit from the community of people served by The Healing Center.
  • We provide an environment – supported by our community and staff – where you decide when to come, how to grieve, how long and how often you decide to receive services.

The Healing Center’s goal is to support children, adults, and families as they come to terms with the death of a loved one. We offer a variety of services and a community of people. This is a place where bereaved people, adults and children alike; can meet others who understand, and begin to move through their grief so they can begin rebuild their lives. The long-term goal is that each person will come to a place of peace and find new meaning as they reinvest in life.

Clinical Director Job Description:

The Healing Center is seeking a Clinical Director to oversee its programs and clinical staff.  The Director will develop, plan, and implement strategies for program continuation and growth while providing clinical training to clinical staff, interns, and volunteer group facilitators.  The candidate must have a positive and supportive attitude and strong belief in The Healing Center’s mission and vision.  This role provides both clinical and personnel supervision of the clinical staff.  Must have the ability to think creatively, solve problems, have good decision-making skills, and like working with families and kids.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Supervise and oversee all aspects of the clinical programs demonstrated by setting program strategy goals and objectives that adhere to The Healing Center’s mission.
  • Provides direction to clinical staff in carrying out their individual responsibilities; applies regulations, policies, operational procedures, and objectives; reviews operations in assigned area to ensure high level of quality is consistent with organizational standards.
  • Provides strategic direction and leads the clinical team in meeting the overall objectives of the organization in support of the long term strategic plan of the Healing Center.
  • Develops and implements clinical goals and objectives within the organization and externally with all partners.
  • Demonstrates ability to manage change and organizational design.
  • Promotes effective communication interface, acts as liaison with administrative staff, and the Board to facilitate information-sharing, collaborative problem-solving and adequate provision of services.
  • Recruits and develops all team members and promotes a positive team culture and environment. Delegates appropriately and holds team members accountable.
  • Participates in the organization’s quality assessment and performance improvement program for groups.
  • Provide coverage for group facilitation during therapist absence.
  • Provide outreach to schools and other organizations in need of response to a grief event in the community as needed.
  • Supervision of graduate-level practicum students and clinical supervision for program therapists.
  • Respond to clinical emergencies and volunteer/group member concerns, and assess for mental health and behavioral concerns among group members and take appropriate clinical action as needed.
  • Maintain consistent contact with group members and guardians/caregivers, specifically those in need of additional support
  • Lead weekly clinical staff meetings/case consultation
  • Assess and create an identification and training plan for peer volunteers.
  • Ability to identify and build relationships with community partners and referral sources.
  • Work alongside administrative staff to plan and execute client events, including social events throughout the year.
  • Participate in fundraising and partner events throughout the year.

Qualifications

  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, Mental Health Counselor, or Licensed Psychologist
  • Clinical Supervisor approved for Washington State
  • Five plus years of progressively responsible experience and staff supervision, including expertise transforming clinical staff into a high-performance team
  • Minimum of two post-graduate years working with children and families in a clinical setting
  • Experience in training, recruiting, and managing volunteers
  • Ability to provide presentations in the community
  • Understanding of and dedication to the mission of The Healing Center
  • Experience with clinical interventions around behavior and mental health concerns in children
  • Experience with and working knowledge of grief and loss in children across the developmental span
  • Must possess sound judgment; prioritization and follow-through skills; attention to details; dependability; tact; and ability to maintain confidential information.
  • Demonstrated ability to work within a growing non-profit environment
  • Must be able to cope with family/caregiver emotional stress, cultural diversity and be non-judgmental of individual life-styles
  • Ability to work flexible hours.

Compensation:

Pay is commensurate with qualifications and experience.

To Apply:

Please email your resume and cover letter to jobs@healingcenterseattle.org. Applications submitted without a cover letter will not be reviewed.


June 2019 Newsletter

Board Update

Sunset in Patagonia, Torres del Paine National Park

 

Hi, it’s been a while.  In fact, I think the last time you heard from us was December and for that I apologize.  There is so much going on—including some amazing updates I want to share with you on the behalf of the board.  Before I get to our news, I want to recap our journey over the last two years to provide context.  Back in the summer of 2017, The Healing Center was on the precipice of closing.  I’m so pleased that since then we’ve hired an Operations Director, a new Clinical Director, and kept programs running without interruption.  We used the money raised from the GoFundMe campaign in January 2018 to help pay our housing costs last year. During the past year, our meeting space got a fresh coat of paint as well as new furniture and our little house in the alley is looking amazing.  If you haven’t visited recently, I encourage you to swing by and see for yourself.

Our groups have continued to grow, and demand for our services has never been greater.  All of you have provided the support and encouragement we’ve needed to get through two years of rebuilding.  We’ve grown the board from three members in Summer 2017 to our current ten members.  Last month, we added 3 new board members.

The most exciting news I have to share is that The Healing Center has a new Executive Director, Chase Huffman. Chase will have a recurring spot in this newsletter starting this month, so read on for his comments. We can’t wait for you all to meet Chase and see how amazing he is.

The Healing Center’s program services still require a little more tweaking to ensure we have the right grief programs in place, the right number of therapists to those support groups and that The Healing Center has a sustainable funding model.  Our new and highly engaged Board in addition to Chase are the right team to guide The Healing Center into the future.  You’ll be seeing more communications from Chase and we’ll be hosting an open house in the fall where our supporters will be able to meet him and the new board members.

Sadly, this will be my last note to you as Interim Board President.  It’s been a challenging, but extremely rewarding experience being able to help lead The Healing Center to where it’s at today.  Our board will be holding elections this summer and until then Kim Kelly along with a few other board members will be stepping up.  I’m not going far and will be joining The Healing Center’s Advisory Board.  I hope to see you all at our fall event, Oktoberfest on October 4th.

Please be well and I know our paths will cross again.

Aaron Reich
Board Member

Message from Chase Huffman, Executive Director

Today marks almost three weeks as the Executive Director of The Healing Center and I am excited to join this incredible organization.

My first few weeks have been spent learning about the strong community at The Healing Center that has been built by the staff, volunteers, and donors. This has been a powerful start to a great adventure.

As I continue to learn more about The Healing Center and meet members of our community, please feel free to reach out and say hello. I look forward to having the opportunity to connect with all of the members of our strong community and to dig into the opportunities and obstacles we face as an organization.

Over the coming weeks, I look forward to working with the staff to learn more about our great work and building ways to strengthen our community. I want to thank you for your continued and ongoing support of The Healing Center. I look forward to leading the team in driving our mission, living our values, and serving our communities every day.

In gratitude,

Chase Huffman

Client Spotlight: Jason Chu

What brought you to The Healing Center? 

January 1st, 2018 my wife, Alice, died of Triple Negative Breast Cancer. She was diagnosed as stage III September 2016. All of her treatments (mastectomy, chemo, and radiation) were completed May 5th 2017 and we were hopeful about her recovery. In July 2017, she had pain in her shoulder blades that was a tumor in her liver. We started chemo treatment again, but the cancer was too aggressive. After a trip to Disneyland in early December, she was enrolled in hospice care and died at home the evening of New Year’s Day.

Our son Lucas was 2-3 during her cancer and probably doesn’t remember a time when his mom wasn’t sick. He’s 4 now and we both went to The Healing Center looking for help through our grieving process.

What has been most helpful about coming to The Healing Center for you and your family? 

Finding people who actually get it. Very few people truly understand what it’s like to have someone you love be with you one second, with all of the potential of the future stretching out ahead of you, and then the next second have all of it ripped away. When it happened to me I felt like one entire side of my body had been torn off and everything was exposed and raw to the world. Being able to just sit with a group of people who know that feeling is really helpful, even though none of us want anyone to ever feel that again.

My son, Lucas, benefits from Littles Group as well. He gets excited the whole week before group and loves every minute of being there. Afterwards he’s noticeably calmer and happier. We both regret it any time we miss a Littles Group!

Do you have any specific goals for yourself as you move from being involved with Early Group to Transition Group?

Now that I’m more than a year out, I’ve been able to rebuild parts of my life. I still feel like I’m running close to capacity, but have some breathing room. I have learned that it’s ok to depend on other people sometimes. As I move to Transition Group, I’m interested to find ways to continue growing as new challenges arise in the coming years.

What tools or ideas have you developed at The Healing Center which you find useful in daily life?

That each day comes with its own unique challenges. Some days will be easy and everything will go smoothly. Other days the big accomplishment is getting out of bed. I have learned to constantly remind myself of that and not be too self-critical when times are tough.

It’s also really helpful to remind myself that everyone grieves in their own way and time and there’s no wrong way to do it. Anyone who tells you otherwise should mind their own business.

Do you have anything new and exciting going on in your life that you’d like to share?

I’ve been dating someone who really loves Lucas and has a son of her own! We’re working out how to build our lives together.

Now for the hard-hitting questions: What is Lucas’ favorite thing to do or thing to play with at The Healing Center?

Lucas loves playing doctor and cooking in the kitchen with his friends are The Healing Center.

Volunteer Highlight: Tobin Langford

I came to volunteer at The Healing Center as a way to earn hours for the practicum in my Mental Health Counseling Master’s program. I was drawn to The Healing Center specifically because you had a group that was focused on serving seniors, The Memory Keepers group. After doing the training, I was moved by the mission of the organization and the methods used. I appreciated that they are pure support groups that really provide an opportunity for the group members to connect and support each other. It has been incredibly moving to watch members be open and vulnerable in sharing their experiences so that those around them feel less alone and have a chance to move through their own grief.

I did the majority of my volunteering with the Memory Keepers group and it was an honor to share space with them, to be allowed in on their journeys. Recently, I have volunteered with the Thursday Adult General Loss group. This has been a rich experience for me as an emerging mental health counselor to be reminded of the many ways grief can touch our lives. The members of this group are also incredibly open and generous in their support of one another, despite sometimes very different journeys. It has been truly humbling to witness the generosity of spirit in that group as well as the deep suffering they are working through. To bear witness to the members of each group face their grief and choose to give themselves the time and space to find community and support has been a gift for me.

As I begin my work in community mental health as a mental health counselor, I hope to keep with me the lessons of this experience. I will hold close to my grateful heart the lessons of community, vulnerability, resilience, self-acceptance, and humility. And I will leave room for a small flame in my heart that I will be able to volunteer again one day.

New Year, New Healing Center

Thanks to a generous grant from the Norman Archibald Charitable Foundation, The Healing Center was able to spruce up our core adult programming spaces. The redesign was completed at the end of February, with no interruption in services. Our group members, volunteers and staff are loving the new spaces! Check out the before and after pictures below:


Contract Program Therapist (Part Time)

Part-Time Position(6-10 hours/week)

To apply: Please email your resume and cover letter. Applications submitted without a cover letter will not be reviewed.

Under the direction of the Clinical Director, the Contract Program Therapist is responsible for planning and facilitating open-ended grief support groups for children, teens, and adults who have experienced the death of a loved one. This position collaborates with other program staff and volunteers on planning and implementing innovative grief support services in the Seattle area.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Conduct intake assessments with potential clients
  • Facilitate open-ended grief support groups for children, teens, and adults
  • Assist in the recruitment, training, and supervision of volunteer co-facilitators
  • Provide outreach to schools and other community organizations in need of grief support
  • Assess for mental health concerns among group members and take appropriate clinical action as needed
  • Participate in broader Healing Center program activities including Ceremony of Remembrance, Oktoberfest, Annual Luncheon, etc.

Qualifications:

  • Master’s Degree in Social Work, Counseling, Psychology, or other related field
  • Group facilitation experience with children, teens and adults
  • Understanding of grief and loss across the lifespan
  • Proficiency in collaborating with team members
  • Experience in training, recruiting, and managing volunteers
  • Understanding of and dedication to the mission of the Healing Center
  • Demonstrated ability to work within a growing non-profit environment
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Must possess sound judgment; prioritization and follow-through skills; attention to details; dependability; tact; and ability to maintain confidential information.
  • Flexibility in schedule to include the potential for both evening and weekend hours

Compensation:

Competitive pay based on qualifications and experience.

About The Healing Center:

The Healing Center offers a safe, loving place that honors grief and helps individuals move through it and heal. We serve children, teens, and adults who have experienced the death of a loved one.


Contract Youth Program Therapist (Part Time)

Update (7/15/2019: This position has been filed. 

Part-Time Position (6-10 hours/week)

To apply: Please email your resume and cover letter to jobs@healingcenterseattle.org. Applications submitted without a cover letter will not be reviewed.

Job Description:

Under the direction of the Clinical Director, the Contract Youth Program Therapist is responsible for planning and facilitating open-ended grief support groups for children and teens who have experienced the death of a loved one. This position collaborates with other program staff and volunteers on planning and implementing innovative grief support services in the Seattle area.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Create curriculum for children’s grief support groups and concurrent caregiver groups
  • Facilitate open-ended, child-centered grief support groups for children, teens, and their caregivers
  • Conduct briefing meetings with volunteers before each group and debriefing meetings after each group
  • Respond to clinical emergencies and volunteer/group member concerns
  • Maintain consistent contact with group member guardians/caregivers as needed
  • Assess for mental health and behavioral concerns among group members and take appropriate clinical action as needed
  • Participate in clinical staff meetings
  • Provide occasional sick/vacation coverage for adult group facilitators
  • Assist in the recruitment, training, and supervision of volunteer co-facilitators
  • Provide outreach to schools and other community organizations in need of grief support
  • Participate in planning and implementation of children’s program events including Summer Camp, Holiday party, Summer BBQ, May Walk, etc.
  • Participate in broader Healing Center program activities including Ceremony of Remembrance, Oktoberfest, Annual Luncheon, etc.

Qualifications:

  • Master’s Degree in Social Work, Counseling, Psychology, or other related field
  • Group facilitation experience with children, teens and adults
  • Facility in interacting with children in child-centered manner
  • Experience implementing therapeutic play techniques with children and teens
  • Experience with clinical interventions around behavior and mental health concerns in children
  • Understanding of grief and loss across the lifespan
  • Proficiency in collaborating with team members
  • Experience in training, recruiting, and managing volunteers
  • Understanding of and dedication to the mission of the Healing Center
  • Demonstrated ability to work within a growing non-profit environment
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Must possess sound judgment; prioritization and follow-through skills; attention to details; dependability; tact; and ability to maintain confidential information.
  • Flexibility in schedule to include the potential for both evening and weekend hours

Compensation:

Competitive pay based on qualifications and experience.

About The Healing Center:

The Healing Center offers a safe, loving place that honors grief and helps individuals move through it and heal. We serve children, teens, and adults who have experienced the death of a loved one.


Holiday Closure

The Healing Center office will be closed from December 24th until January 2nd for the holidays. All groups during this time will be cancelled.

Adult groups will resume on January 2, 2018. Please note, our children’s programming will resume the week of January 21, 2018. Please refer to our Google calendar for a more detailed view of the cancellations.

If you have an emergency during this time, call 911 or the 24 hour crisis line at 206-461-3222.


December Newsletter

Board Update

How it moves so fast from fall to winter always baffles my mind. We are in full holiday swing at the Healing Center with the holiday party on December 6th for our group members and providing extra support during a very difficult time of year. It’s been a busy fall, just a few weeks ago the entire Board of Directors and staff came together for our first (and what will become) an annual retreat. As I mentioned last month, I want to share some of the specific goals we are working towards next year.

Our two big themes are building leadership and financial sustainability. On leadership, we will continue to add new board members and hire an Executive Director. Regarding financial sustainability, this is a priority for the board to make sure we continue to build our reserves and steward the organization for the future. These are the goals we are striving to achieve by June 2019:

• Hire an Executive Director
• Build an engaged, dynamic Board of Directors with a minimum of 12 members
• Gather feedback and implement recommendations on our programs (what we call our service delivery model)
• Over 1000 individuals receiving quality services measured by satisfaction surveys
• Establish new community partnerships to better serve our group members
• Shared core values, communication, and transparency leading to a more positive organizational culture

We have lots of work to do, but we’ve got great momentum and excellent leadership from our Board, Advisory Committee and Clinical and Operations Directors.

Since January 2018, we have served over 300 group participants. That’s 197 adults, 45 young adults, and 60 kids. We’ve seen extraordinary demand for our services. In 2017, we had 190 new people reach out to the Healing Center, January through November 2018, there have been over 375 new individuals and families seeking group support. We’ve never had this kind of demand.

If you can this holiday season, please think about The Healing Center and the support you have received. We’d love to be able to provide more group support hours. Please donate to give the gift of comfort and healing to an adult or child grieving the death of loved one.

I want to thank all of you who have helped to make this safe place possible: our donors, our volunteers, our dedicated staff and interns. Most of all I want to thank those of you who are grieving and who have trusted us to help ease your load. You are the reason we are here.

A group member shared in our recent feedback survey: “I had never been to a support group before my husband died. I was absolutely reeling, and the Healing Center gave me hope and a new perspective. It was amazing to be in the room with fellow survivors who I knew could understand my feelings and not judge me. I was safe to say anything.”

On behalf of the Board and Staff, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Aaron Reich
Board President

Holiday Party  & Potluck

Our annual holiday party and potluck was held on December 6th. The event was a chance for the Healing Center community to get together and celebrate the holidays in a safe and supportive environment. In addition to a delicious potluck, the children were paid a visit from Santa and received many gifts.

A big thank you to Toys for Kids, Rick Rizzs and Resa Moore for spreading holiday magic and providing toys for the children in our programs.

Client Spotlight: Sooz Appeal

What brought you to The Healing Center?
My life partner of 35 years died suddenly of a rip in his aorta while on a run in September of 2017. A good friend, whom The Healing Center had helped when her husband died, strongly suggested that I join the early Group. I’m glad she did.

What was helpful about coming to The Healing Center?
By far, the most helpful thing about early group is sharing what’s going on and listening to others. Especially in the early months after the loss, so many people say things which we receive as hurtful (even though that is not the intention) or insensitive or preachy or full of bad advice or downright offensive. When those events are shared, everyone feels the support and understanding, even though it is most often unspoken. There is a lot of trust that develops quickly in the group. I found I was able to share feelings and events with the early group that I hadn’t shared with even my closest friends.

Is there anything from group that is still helpful today?
When hard times arise, I can hear certain people’s words of comfort and support, reminders that there is no clear time frame or process that this grief takes. We all navigate this path in our own way, in our own time, and that’s okay. Also, I hear the laughter. Life–even in its darkest moments– can be humorous. We all have laughed a lot through our tears.

Is there anything currently happening in your life that you are proud of/is exciting?
Because of my personal circumstances, I’ve had to take charge of a huge clean-out process at my property. After nearly 15 months, we’re almost done. It’s been a lot of work and I feel a huge sense of accomplishment. This clean-out has meant getting rid of my sweetie’s “treasures” which he spent decades collecting. But I know Bill would want me to be happy and to have a good life after he’s gone, overall it feels really good. Now that the clean up is coming to a close, I can continue to figure out what my life will be like moving forward-a daunting but also exciting challenge.

Volunteer Highlight: Linda Kemnitzer

How did you first hear about The Healing Center and how did you get involved in volunteering?
My husband John died November 9, 2013. The last week of his life he was in hospice care at our home. After he died I knew I needed help. I signed up for a six-week bereavement group with Hospice. At the last session the facilitator passed out a list of other places to go for bereavement help, The Healing Center was included on the list. I looked at the website and decided this might be a place for me to go to receive additional support.

I attended the Early Group for about a year. It was so wonderful to be in a room of people who “got” it. The facilitators and co-facilitators were so understanding and caring. Those of us in the group could share our pain and as we went along, also share some laughter and new accomplishments as we went through our struggle.

After attending the Transitions group for a few months I knew I wanted to give back so I started volunteering. Nothing too major at first. I’d help at events and do some office work. Eventually, I realized that I wanted to give to others what was given to me by the co-facilitators during my time as a client. That’s when I asked if I could train to be a co-facilitator.

How long have you volunteered with The Healing Center? What kind of volunteer work have you done for The Healing Center?
After attending the co-facilitators training, I participated in one of the client retreats. Eventually I started co-facilitating for the Adult General Loss and the Survivors of Suicide (SOS) groups. I continued volunteering at client and special events. I volunteered almost two years.

Is there any additional information you would like to share?
Five years is a long time to spend without your partner and the love of your life. John and I had many adventures. We were together for 34 years. I loved our life and our home in the Seattle area. After a while though I realized I was living our life alone and started wanting another adventure.

I have a dear friend that lives in the Houston area. I have visited her and her family many times over the years and I decided that I’d move to Crosby, TX. So far I am enjoying it. I bought a small home and I’m busily trying to get all my furnishings organized.

Without the help of all of the facilitators, co-facilitators, staff, and other volunteers, I would never have been strong enough to survive let alone make a big life decision to create a new adventure for myself. I’ve always believed the universe takes care of us and guides us if we allow it. I realize that I will never be the same person I was with John. I will always miss him and he will always be a part of the rest of my life. Being a part of The Healing Center, as a client and as a volunteer, helped me realize life goes on and I will be forever grateful.

Annual Report is Available

The Healing Center believes in transparency. We want you to know how we operate and how we spend our resources. Click here to view our newly released 2018 Annual Report.

If you have any questions about the annual report or financials, please contact us at hello@healingcenterseattle.org.

Holiday Closure

The Healing Center office will be closed from December 24th until January 2nd for the holidays. All groups during this time will be cancelled.

Adult groups will resume on January 2, 2018. Please note, our children’s programming will resume the week of January 21, 2018. Please refer to our Google calendar for a more detailed view of the cancellations.

Feel free to reach out to the office with any questions or concerns. If you have an emergency during this time, call 911 or the 24 hour crisis line at 206-461-3222.