Spotlight: Robin Nickel

RobinNickelMRobin has been an IFS Family Therapist for the past 5 years. Robin came to Pressley Ridge an already seasoned clinician and was seeking a position where she could continue to make an impact in the lives of families with children. While Robin has always been a dedicated and compassionate clinician who really embraces the organizational mission and values, she has worked with two particular families recently where her work was just exceptional – demonstrating great strength and compassion in the face of such adversity and turmoil for the individuals involved.

The first involved what I feel to be the true embodiment of the Re-Ed principal of the importance of ceremony and ritual. Robin was working with a mother and teenage daughter who had lost their son/brother earlier in the year to suicide. The mother’s emotional ability to connect with her daughter was severely traumatized and mother was disengaged from treatment. As the 1 year anniversary approached, Robin helped the mother plan a ceremony to celebrate the young man’s life. She secured the funding to purchase needed items, sat with the mother countless times to help her go over every aspect of how she wanted the ceremony to go, and on the day of the ceremony spent several hours helping the family get prepared. Hearing Robin describe the ceremony and the use of these floating lanterns was emotional and touching, and then hearing the emotional reconnection being made since that time between the mother and daughter has been truly rewarding! Robin’s integral understanding of grief and loss and how important ritual can be in time of loss is a significant reason why I see that the family is going to soon be successfully discharged from our program.

The second involved a young teenage female who was being sexually abused by her father and following her disclosure of abuse was dismissed by her mother and brother (with whom she was still living). Now while Robin’s clinical work with the family was outstanding, I was even more impressed with her ability to process in supervision what she was going through. Vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue are an all too real part of what we do and this family’s situation really pulled at all our heart strings. Robin’s ability to stay grounded and process through her feelings of what was happening for this family allowed her to continue to effectively support all the family members equally; despite what she may have thought personally (especially regarding the mother’s inability to believe her daughter following the father being charged and incarcerated). Truly and honestly, I could not possibly begin to do justice in writing the incredible amount of work that Robin (and her teammate) did in seeing this case through to the end. And although in the end the child was not able to maintained in the home, the child did make a positive transition to foster care and through it all remained strong in her conviction that despite the fact that her mother did not believe her, she needed to ensure that she stood up for what she believed was done to her.

These are two of many reasons why I feel Robin should be recognized as a T/C of month, and I believe that her co-workers and other professionals she works with on a regular basis would agree hands down that she deserves this recognition!

Posted in General, Honors & Awards, Teacher/Counselor of the Month
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