23 Years Exp
23 Years Exp
My name is Dawn Mcilwaine and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Clinical Drug and Alcohol Counselor. I received my Master’s Degree in Social Work from Rutgers University in 2001 and I have over 20 years of experience working in behavioral health outpatient settings such as Partial Hospital and Intensive Outpatient programs as well as Traditional Outpatient facilities. The majority of my professional career has been spent providing direct care to individuals suffering from mental health and addiction issues. I recognize the value of developing a strong, therapeutic relationship with my clients to create an environment of trust and safety in order to begin the process of healing and growth.
I worked with a client who was an alcoholic and had lost everything due to his drinking. I assisted the client with developing a support network in Alcoholic Anonymous and supported him with finding employment. Through the work he did in therapy and in AA, he maintained his sobriety and rebuilt his relationships with family and friends.
I use a client centered approach and believe that developing a strong therapeutic alliance will provide significant opportunities for what can be unlocked and accomplished together in therapy.
My first session with a client is an opportunity to begin to develop a therapeutic alliance by supporting a client in discussing the reasons for making the decision to come to therapy as well as gathering demographic information, as needed.
The most rewarding part of being a therapist is knowing that you played a part in helping another human by making them feel emotionally safe enough to let down their guard and speak from their heart. I feel the hardest thing to do in this world is to just be yourself. Being a therapist gives people that opportunity to let down their defenses and be their authentic selves which fosters healing and growth.
What can clients expect to take away from sessions with you?
My counseling style is relaxed, attentive and compassionate. I create an environment of trust and acceptance, which allows clients to be vulnerable and share the emotional difficulties that contributed to making the decision to seek help. I incorporate a holistic approach, which focuses on emotional, physical and spiritual health. My goal is to comprehend the whole picture and strive to understand what is causing the symptoms and circumstances that are contributing to the struggles a person is experiencing in their life. I am solution focused and will work with you on identifying goals and supporting you in achieving the goals that will create positive change in your life.
What treatment methods and tools do you utilize?
I utilize a cognitive behavioral approach, while incorporating psychoeducation, solution focused techniques as well as helping client’s identity their strengths in order to begin taking steps towards making healthy changes in their lives. I focus on helping clients to learn healthy coping strategies that address issues with daily functioning and management of mental health symptoms using CBT, DBT, mindfulness, meditation and grounding skills.
Explain to clients what areas you feel are your biggest strengths.
I have experience working with adults ages 18 and up who are struggling with anxiety, depression, mood disorders and addiction issues. I have helped clients who have experienced trauma, grief and loss, as well as assisting clients with a variety of life transitions. I work with couples who are experiencing issues related to communication and conflicts in their relationship. I have helped clients who struggle with ADHD as well as those who struggle with anger management issues. I understand that therapy is not one size fits all, that is why I will utilize a variety of interventions and techniques to assist a client on their journey of healing and growth.