Ten years ago this month, I was lucky enough to start working at Coral Gables Counseling Center (CGCC) — and I’ve never looked back. I was still working for the school system full time as a clinical social worker at the time. A friend of mine asked why I didn’t use my license and practice after working at the school – after all, I had the whole afternoon.
I started seeing a few clients in a small rented office space. After about a year, I met Lucia Fernandez-Silveira (or Lucy as she is better known). We had a conversation that could have gone on forever. She welcomed me on board on a part-time basis. And, before I knew it, I was working a full day with the school system and part-time at CGCC. I loved it.
In 2016, I officially retired from the school system. I had the opportunity to work full-time at CGCC, building my practice. I loved it even more! I have never experienced the warm, authentic, non-judgmental environment at a workplace as I have experienced here. This environment makes for a safe space not only for the employees but for our clients as well. The crucial ingredient in a mental health center.
As I look back, I remember the opening of our Center at the little house on Alhambra street. It had parking challenges but great lunch and coffee places. We then moved to a larger office at 2600 Douglas Road. At first, clients voiced they missed the quaintness of the little house on Alhambra. However, in no time our office on the 10th floor was transformed with the same cozy feeling. It became my second home.
From the support staff to my colleagues, I have nothing but good memories. I’m happy to have professionals around me to consult. I feel supported by our office staff. They always go above and beyond helping me with insurance and other issues in my practice but, more importantly, they do the same with our clients.
Finally, CGCC has welcomed my family and me to every celebration. In fact, they welcome every therapist with their entire families to each celebration. It’s been fun watching everyone’s life unfold.
Since Covid-19 I’ve been working virtually. I miss my CGCC family but I know they are there waiting for me with warm hugs and smiling faces. And, for that, and everything else I’ve mentioned, I am grateful for my CGCC.
QUOTE FOR THE WEEK
“At times, our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer