Clarissa Johnson, LOC, recently joined the KVC Kansas family, taking on the role of Outpatient Therapist. In this role, she provides mental/behavioral health treatment to children and adults involved in the child welfare system. This interview highlights the positive experiences she’s had so far and gives an idea of what to expect when beginning a career in social work. Visit our Careers Page to learn about our current open positions.
What motivated you to become a counselor?
I’ve always enjoyed talking to others and typically played “counselor” to my group of friends growing up [laughs]. I love working with children, so it seemed like a great fit for me. Also, my sister is actually adopted so I’ve always felt very passionate about this field.
What has your experience been like with KVC?
So far my experiences have been awesome! I was told about KVC from a friend and the work KVC does with adoptions and foster care. Since starting it’s been fantastic, and I’ve been able to gain a lot of experience.
What do you find the most rewarding about this career?
Being able to see the progression of our clients. Society will sometimes write them off as unable to make changes in their lives or label them as lost causes. But with me, it’s being able to help others accomplish a little bit of change, a little bit of progress, that will have ripple effects through not only their lives but their children’s lives or the rest of their family. Seeing someone being able to go to college for the first time, being able to get their first job or learn how to better manage their money. So it’s small changes that have really big impacts over time. Being able to be a part of that is really important to me.
Do you have any advice for students considering social work as a career?
Yes! Don’t come into it thinking that you’re going to make billions of dollars. It’s not going to work that way. But if you have a passion for what you do, and as long as you’re able to stay motivated when things get difficult, you’re probably going to see success. It’s a lot of hard work, but the return is just as great.
Can you talk about the support you received from your KVC field instructor?
He was very understanding about my work schedule. I was working full-time as well as going to school, so he had an open-door policy about contacting him anytime I needed. He also provided top-notch supervision whenever I encountered something that I felt was over my head. And he was always willing to sit down and talk to give me the help needed.
What’s one of your favorite success stories since taking on this role?
I had one client who had been working to get her child back into her custody. Though she still doesn’t have custody, she is making great progress towards getting reunified with her daughter. Since I started working with her, she’s been able to find a job and been able to buy a house. Though this story doesn’t have a fairy-tale happy ending yet, she’s doing much better now and is more confidently working towards reuniting with her daughter.