A knock at the door, a ring on the phone, an email alert, maybe it’s a client at the soda machine. They often say, “Hey, do you have a minute? I want to run something by you.” This is much of the day as the Clinical Supervisor at Pinelands Recovery Center residential program. Between daily clinical meetings, supervision of staff, coordination with operations and nursing supervisors, I provide clinical oversight to the Primary Therapists and Case Managers. Much of my day involves answering questions regarding client care, clinical practice and managing the therapeutic issues that arise on a day to day basis. If there is an issue that seems complex, I work in conjunction with the Operations and Nursing Supervisors to address these concerns compassionately with extra attention to detail.
There are several aspects of my background and training that assist me in my role as a Clinical Supervisor. I graduated in 2006 from Rutgers University with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Childhood Studies. I then moved on to complete my master’s degree in Social Work with a clinical concentration from Temple University in 2010. I became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in 2013 and then obtained my Certificate in Clinical Supervision in 2016 so that I was able to supervise those working towards their own clinical licensure in the field.
After completing my degree, I worked in a variety of settings including residential care, family shelters, and partial hospitalization programs focused on trauma, addiction, and personality disorder treatment. In that time, I developed a keen awareness of the impact that trauma has on mental health and addiction. In wanting to learn more about the connection between to the two, I threw myself into getting training in various trauma-informed and evidence-based practices including Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Compassion Focused Therapy, and experiential treatments such as Sensorimotor Treatment and the Sanctuary model of care.
All this training and experience has developed my skills in working with some difficult situations in the clinical setting while continuing to maintain a compassionate yet firm stance on recovery treatment. – Charlene Dunkley
It’s been important for me to remain aware and mindful of the fact that my stance always needs to be “What happened to them” rather than “what is wrong with them”. Working with clients already coming from tough and traumatic life experiences can push one’s limits, but it’s the part of my work that I enjoy. I’ve also come to truly appreciate engaging with families and helping them learn skills alongside their family member that is in treatment. I’m always working hard to foster this mentality with the clinical staff I supervise. I find it integral to remain grounded, practice with kindness and warmth, and model effective interventions that they can use with their clients as well. Supervising others is what love the most and it helps me to stay humble and focus on education as a continuing process rather one that stops after completing a degree.
With that being said, my time at Pinelands has allowed me to meet some of the most interesting and caring staff I’ve ever had the pleasure with which to share a workplace! There is a feeling that one gets upon entering the building, like none that I have ever experienced in prior settings. You’re always greeted with a smile from someone, whether it’s nursing staff, a clinician, a client, or the receptionist. Everyone here truly cares about the clientele we serve. With so many of them in recovery themselves, it makes for a fun and understanding environment for us all.
The Pinelands experience is meant to be individual for everyone. Each client comes in with their own set of needs, concerns, and issues to address in order for them to maintain sobriety. Pinelands staff works diligently to create a treatment experience that is individual for everyone with the same principles at the foundation; kind, compassionate and balanced care.