A Day in the Life of a School-Based Therapist

Meet Marissa Smook: Lead School-Based Therapist at Lee Carlson Center

What does a typical day look like for you?

A “typical” day may not truly exist in the life of an SLMH/Lead Therapist at LCC, and this is one of the things I enjoy most about my work. There is something new every day in the best way possible! In general – my days are spent meeting with clients for individual therapy; connecting with families; providing support to, and collaborating with, my work-place supervisees and colleagues; and connecting with my schools to make sure that everything is moving smoothly, and our clients and their families are getting the care they need. Intermixed in all this are note-taking responsibilities, phone calls, and lots of emails 🙂

What do you like best about working in the program?

I think my favorite things about the SLMH program are 3-fold:
1. First and foremost, I get to work with kiddos and families daily who would likely not have the same access to mental health services and care if we were not working directly out of the schools. In the school-linked mental health program, we’re able to remove barriers and hardship to provide trauma-informed, person-centered mental healthcare. I learn something new every day from the kiddos I work with and am truly grateful to be walking alongside them in their mental-health journey. Plus, 5th-8th graders can be very humbling, so they keep me on my toes and make me laugh, lots.
2. Being immersed in the school, we get a completely different viewpoint of kiddos’ mental health which helps us to provide more comprehensive care. I’m also able to work closely with our school social worker and school staff to make sure students with needs are being identified and treatment and care is being provided in a holistic way that infiltrates clients’ lives and experiences at school.
3. Specifically speaking to my lead role – I get to work closely with my colleagues who just so happen to be some of the coolest people around. In doing this, I’m able to provide support and advocate not only for individual clinicians’ needs, but also for our clients’ needs, and the SLMH program as a whole – which is pretty incredible.

How have you seen LCC make a difference in the lives of the clients?

I think I see the positive impact LCC has made in the lives of our clients daily. From little glimmers of insight and hope that we see doing the work as therapists, to the collaboration and advocacy from the LCC team as a whole to make sure clients are getting the services they need and the assistance they need to engage. An easy answer is to say anytime a client reaches their treatment goals – but I think positive impacts branch out and take shape in many different ways.

What attracted you to this work? What difference has it made in your life?

Funnily enough – I was always the person in grad school saying, “I’ll never work with kids…” plot twist, here I am working with 10–14-year-olds and absolutely loving it. When searching for a good fit following grad school and practicum, I wanted to land in a place where clients were put first, I could develop into the clinician I want to be with the help and guidance from a strong clinical support system, and ultimately a place that I felt valued and respected. This was in 2020; fast-forward to 2022 through a global pandemic and everything that came with it: I can confidently say that I’ve landed exactly where I needed and want to be.

To learn more about our School-Linked Mental Health (SLMH) program, please visit leecarlsoncenter.org or call 763-780-3036.
Interested in a career that makes a difference? Join our team! More information at leecarlsoncenter.org/careers