In terms of my professional details, I received an MSW from University of Illinois in 1992. My primary focus was women and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have LCSW in Illinois. This stands for Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I have LICSW in Washington State. This stands for Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. Additionally, I am an addictions counselor. Washington State SUDP. That stands for Substance Use Disorder Professional.
I started out in Chicago. Because I knew I wanted to work 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
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. I volunteered at Genesis House (a program that was near Wrigley Field) We helped women who were escaping prostitution. Similarly, volunteering 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. It was a communitarian setting. People in the community donated whatever we needed. As a result of this experience I knew I could work full time as a social worker.
I noticed recurring themes. Addiction and experiences of trauma were consistent. Women surviving domestic violence and sexual assault abused substances. Women who were homeless were vulnerable to addiction and exploitation. Above all, they needed safety and support to build new lives.
PAID MY DUES IN NON-PROFITS
The first paying job was Evanston Shelter for Battered Women. https://www.ywca-ens.org/domestic-violence-program/shelter-and-longer-term-housing/ 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. thewomenstreatmentcenter.org 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. I 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. Similarly, it closed in 2019, after over 40 years.
For more about Deb Dettman as a person https://wisewomantherapy.com/about-debdettman/