Sara is currently studying full-time to become a licensed clinical social worker. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and graduated with honors from Touro College in New York. She is now studying for her Master’s degree in social work at Wurzweiler School of Social Work. Her program has been fully on zoom since the start of the pandemic. Sara is graduating with a trauma certification with skills she hopes she can use in practice. Sara is also a full-time wife and music lover. Sara worked as a bookkeeper for 3 years. This trained her to adhere to important deadlines and complete necessary paperwork in a timely manner and create rapport with clients. In addition, Sara’s experience with trauma and addiction led her to volunteer at various mental health organizations. While volunteering at a methadone clinic in New York, Sara decided to change the trajectory of her career and study full-time to become a social worker. Her interest in trauma and addiction soon became a passion.
One of the people Sara admires in the trauma/addiction field is the late Dr. Abraham J. Twerski. Sara’s connection to Dr. Twerski is not only one of mutual interest but one of mutual challenge. Dr. Twerski was an orthodox Jew who made great strides in advocating and de-stigmatizing addiction and other mental illnesses in Jewish communities. Unfortunately, the orthodox Jewish community can often neglect the effects of mental health on its congregants. As a member of the Jewish community, she, too, tries to advocate for individuals to seek the help they deserve. Coincidentally, after marrying her husband and moving to Pittsburgh, Sara had the opportunity to intern at Gateway Rehabilitation Center, an inpatient drug and alcohol facility which was founded by Dr. Twerski. While interning at Gateway, Sara became well versed in the comorbidity of addiction and trauma. Many of the clients with whom she had worked with had suffered at least one type of trauma or adverse childhood experience.
Sara believes you can’t treat the addiction before treating the trauma. As Dr. Gabor Mate says, “Ask, not why the addiction, but why the pain?” Sara believes in a strength-based approach which allows the client to feel empowered. When working with trauma survivors, Sara feels that it is important to allow them to relinquish the power that is so often stolen from them. Therefore, she believes in a person-centered approach to allow the client to make their own decisions within their treatment.
Sara would like to become certified in Trauma Focused CBT to work with trauma survivors and Motivational Interviewing to help persons with substance use disorder. Sara believes that there is a lot of power in empathy, kindness, and human connection. As Johann Hari once said, “The opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it’s connection.” Sara is very grateful for this opportunity and is excited to learn from educated and experienced clinicians.