Licensed Clinical Social Worker Illinois and Washington State

Professional Details

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois and Washington State. I am also an addictions counselor. In 1992 I received an MSW from University of Illinois.

My primary focus was women and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I started out in Chicago. Because I knew I wanted to work specifically with women, I chose my internships accordingly. First year field placement was Uptown Center Hull House. I worked in the Woman Abuse Action Project. We provided counseling and referrals for women surviving domestic violence. Second year was Edgewater-Uptown Community Mental Health Center in the Rape Victim Services Program. It was there I learned the magic of women in group therapy.

I have been a licensed clinical social worker and certified addiction counselor since 1996.

Before Private Practice

Over the years, I have worked in many non-profits in Chicago and then Seattle. The early days were front line work. I helped in shelters and soup kitchens across the county. I volunteered at Genesis House (a program that was near Wrigley Field) helping women who were escaping prostitution. Similarly, being a volunteer in high school was valuable experience.

I served as a Catholic Worker for a time. I lived and worked at Clare House of Hospitality. It is a Catholic Worker shelter in Bloomington, IL. Catholic Workers live in voluntary poverty. In this communitarian setting we had all our needs provided. As a result of this experience I knew I could work full time as a social worker.

Recurring themes emerged. Addiction and experiences of trauma were consistent. Repeatedly there were women surviving domestic violence and sexual assault. Many of them had addiction issues. Above all, they needed safety and support to build new lives.


The first paying job was Evanston Shelter for Battered Women. Women in poverty shared rooms with affluent women. Externally they had nothing in common. In spite of the differences, the women bonded. They all needed safety. Similarly, they knew what betrayal does to a person. As a result, they hated how they had compromised themselves to survive. Most importantly, they all loved their children and wanted a better life.

Funding cuts were made to ESBW programs. After that, I began working at The Women’s Treatment Center. This program is focused on addiction recovery. This was a missing piece in the puzzle. In order for women to heal, addiction and trauma need to be addressed.

In 1999, I moved to Seattle and took a job at Stonewall Recovery Services. Stonewall was an outpatient substance use disorder program. We worked with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. Sadly, after 31 years, Stonewall Recovery Services closed.

For 16 years I worked at Residence XII. It was a women’s alcohol and drug treatment program in Kirkland, Washington. Similar to Stonewall, it closed in 2019, after over 40 years.

For more about Deb Dettman as a person

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