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What is it like working as a Corrections Treatment Specialist?

Additional Questions:
-what is the difference in Corrections Treatment Specialist and Corrections Counselor?
-How was getting your masters in CJ ? Workload, social life(did you have one) can you work during it? exams, papers, etc.
corrections corrections-treatment counseling criminal-justice

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Ariel’s Answer

I have worked full-time throughout my Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and my doctorate in Behavioral Health Leadership. I am currently an Associate Program Director at a large California State Prison and oversee the substance abuse treatment program that is primarily a group therapy setting. I found that working while also attending school in the same industry (i.e. mental health, therapy, etc) was incredibly beneficial. Work and school ended up supporting each other, not detracting from each other. I found that what I learned in one setting could absolutely be used in the other, and found this to be a wonderful experience in this way.
Regarding work-life balance, that can be challenging; I had to be ready to make sacrifices. For me, these were usually the spontaneous invites with friends. I had to set boundaries for myself, and my family and friends, that getting together socially needed to be scheduled in advance, to support my need to manage my time effectively with school and work simultaneously. I was able to date, see my friends, visit with my family, read at least 15 minutes a day for leisure, work out, attend to my pets, and eat well all while working and going to school as long as I maintained proper time management. Understanding that time is finite and if you give 30 minutes here, 30 minutes has to come from something else, really helped my learn to prioritize and discover what mattered most to me.

Ariel recommends the following next steps:

Identify one activity you can do each day for self-care for at least 30 minutes a day
Find what calendar system works best for you, and actually schedule the time in for the top most important 5 activities a week, that you can work others around
Schedule ALL deadlines on your calendar, as well as at least one reminder to focus on the task a few days prior to the deadline
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Jason’s Answer

I am a therapist that has worked in corrections settings in the past but not as a primary therapist. I went in to do evaluations on those that were acutely mentally ill and needed to be sent to a psychiatric facility. I cannot speak to the day to day. What I can tell you is you need to be very comfortable with yourself as many inmates may try to verbally attack you just for walking in the door. Over time I would imagine you would be seen more of an advocate and safe person. You need to be comfortable with having minimal personal possessions while walking around, locked doors, no way of running away, and being potentially alone with a felon.
I would do my best to get an internship at a local jail if possible just to get used to the environment and ask yourself if its something you could do long term. Keep in mind, just because that's what you like now doesn't mean you will want to later. For example, I started my career working with children with cancer. Now that I have a family 10 years later, I emotionally cannot do it anymore as my kids are young and there is a lot of personal emotional aspects to think about called transference and counter transference.

Best of luck to you!
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