“I saw my textbooks come alive!” Participant Spotlight – Jessica Marie Russell

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Jessica Marie Russell, MA, LPC, LAC traveled from Colorado Springs for the Beck Institute Workshop on CBT for Substance Abuse. She works as a program supervisor at Spanish Peaks Behavioral Health Centers in Colorado. She primarily sees substance abuse clients and wanted to learn to help her clients with their cognitive distortions. Her organization is focused on ensuring that teams have access to the best tools they need to provide excellent care to their clients, which brought her and 5 co-workers to Beck Institute.
The best part of attending the training? “I saw my textbooks come alive. I saw Dr. Aaron Beck walking around!” She enjoyed seeing Dr. Aaron Beck’s role play with a participant who was overly optimistic, and she was able to better learn how to motivate clients who have a habit of “painting everything wonderful”.

She and her co-workers also were able to make the most of their travel by exploring the city, “Philadelphia is amazing. So much history and so much to experience”

The status of mental health care in regard to substance abuse has shifted in recent years as Colorado has legalized the use of marijuana. As the first state in the US legalizing marijuana, Colorado has seen an “epidemic” of clients who move into Colorado from other states and countries, without a home or employment. This has caused a drain on the health care system, and subsidized housing is overflowing with applications. This influx of clients has been difficult on clinicians, especially those who do not specialize in treating substance abuse. However, to attempt to combat the negative impacts, the state has been able to use tax money from the sale of marijuana toward mental health and substance abuse prevention, which includes providing education to clinicians and counselors, and that is how Jessica was able to travel to Beck Institute.

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