Kim Long, MA, Clinical Counselor provides individual and group counseling to clients at Opportunity House. Kim has worked at Opportunity House for over 10 years and brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding of the challenges of being homeless.
We asked Kim to share how having these services benefits the long-term goal of providing safety, stability, and security to our clients.
Why is offering individual counseling important for Opportunity House clients?
Homelessness is a major problem that critically impacts the mental health and well-being of the affected individuals. There are many factors that play into the trials of homelessness. There are many factors that may contribute to their impoverished state.
Studies show that mental health and substance abuse play a leading role. Homelessness takes a huge toll on an individual’s mental health and can push an individual to unhealthy coping strategies. Mental illness can be difficult to navigate. It can change the way a person thinks, acts, and manages situations in life.
Providing resources to break the cycle of homelessness plays a big role in the success rate of the affected individuals. By offering individual and group counseling, clients learning healthy coping strategies and deal with the underlying issues in a safe, therapeutic environment free of judgement can greatly improve their situation and outcome.
What is the benefit of having group counseling sessions at Opportunity House?
One of the most important benefits of group therapy is learning that there are others like you suffering from the same thing. Group therapy can help alleviate the strong feelings of isolation and alienation many individuals face when dealing with a mental health or substance abuse problem that can make seeking treatment difficult. Within group therapy individuals are with people who are dealing with the same or similar issues.
This common understanding of a difficult experience nurtures trusts and makes any judgment a lot less likely. Sharing feelings with the group can help relieve the pain or stress an individual may be feeling. Becoming a part of a group of individuals that someone can relate to fosters a feeling of accountability and can create a safety net which is an imperative piece in a treatment plan.
Group therapy, by its very nature, involves input from a variety of perspectives. The opportunity to be in a group with different personalities and experiences, people tend to look at issues and problems differently. In addition to seeing how other people handle these issues and problems, individuals can incorporate different strategies to address their own needs. Through interacting with members of the group, individuals will see reflections of themselves from their perspectives, allowing for blind spots to be uncovered and improving their ability to cope with the situations for which they need help.
What do you hope clients gain from your services?
My hope is that I can create a strong connection through the counselor/client relationship. My goal is to provide a safe space for clients to navigate their emotions and deal with difficult situations in their lives. I encourage clients to learn and utilize coping skills that they can use now and in the future.