AN ORIGIN STORY
My first job fresh out of grad school: there was Robert Stepbach, Ph.D. Initially to me Bob was the old guy who showed up 3 days a week at Sumner County Guidance Center. I have no clue whether or not his contract was specific about his duties there but for my new colleagues and me, we just counted on Bob being there Monday, Wednesday, Friday. He sat in clinical staff meetings and I learned a lot from him there. Otherwise, Bob was just sitting in one of our offices, talking, sometimes with two or three of us in the small conference room.
"So this is what a consultant is," I thought. I came to be an opportunist for any time I could spend with Bob. Sometimes I was asking specific questions about a client who was stumping me, sometimes asking more general questions about how do be a good therapist. Sometimes, it just felt like we were just chatting. Chatting, yes --- but these days, I am as likely to quote Bob on something he said while we were "chatting," as I am something he taught me in direct supervison.
Sometime during my stint at The Guidance Center, I decided that one day I wanted to do what Bob was doing. Not unlike a kid wanting to be like dad, I wanted to be a consultant like Bob.
Once I shared my ambition with him. He looked at me for a moment, then leaned in and said words I will always remember. Bob said, "Okay, when you do get that consulting job, first thing you do is break the copy machine." I am sure he was fully entertained by the look on my face. "Once you do that, they will never let you make your own copies again -- they will do it for you." Keep in mind, in those days, copy machines were the closest thing we had to high tech.
Years later, as I was taking the leap into private practice, I asked Bob what advice he had for me. He thought for a moment, even scratched his white beard for effect I think, and said, "If you are going to avoid personnel problems……… avoid personnel.
I'M NOT BOB STEPBACH
Fast forward 30 years and here I am. Bob, long dead, lives on with a prominent seat on the committee between my ears. I have worked in many settings through the years, some as employee and others as consultant and I can report that I have never broken a copy machine. At least not on purpose. I have, however, remained totally consistent with Bob's advice to avoid personnel.
PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT EXPERIENCE
On three occasions across Thom's 30 year career, he has been involved in creating programs from the ground up. While at The Sumner County Guidance, he was part of a team developing early versions of Employee Assistance Programs. His role with this program was to design supervisory training programs for local industry and to facilitate the majority of those training programs.
Still, early in his career, Thom was part of a team of mental health, medical and adminstrative professionals (with Comprehensive Care Corporation) that developed and implemented an inpatient alcohol/drug treatment program for adolscents. This was in 1982 when the idea of adolscent programs was first taking shape.
In 1984 Thom was hired by Health Industries of America to gather a team to develop "Structured Outpatient Treamtment Programs" for both adults and adolescents. That program, Pathways of Nashville, was one of the earliest outpatient programs in the country that would later be called Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP's).
In addition to those experiences with program creation, Thom served for a time as a clinical consultant for the Bradford A&D outpatient program in Nashville. In that position, he drew much from his earlier experience development of the Pathways Outpatient Programs.
With his increasing expertise and reputation for working with eating disorders, Thom was hired a a Program Development Consultant for the Eating Disorder Progam at The Ranch Dual Diagnosis. This position later transitioned into Thom's Recovery Recharge Weekend Retreats (co-facilitated by Julie Merryman) at Onsite Workshops.
PROFESSIONAL TRAINING SEMINARS
See the listing of Training Seminars on this page
ONGOING CLINICAL SUPERVISION/TRAINING
This would include doing some direct staff training/development programs and then followed by regularly scheduled times for Thom to spend time with either all clinical staff, or specific staff who express interest in learning from Thom's work.
PROGRAM MARKETING WORKSHOPS
Either in your program's community or with Thom traveling with a staff member, Marketing Workshops are essentially Thom doing workshops sponsored by your program with an emphasis on increaing awareness of your program and enhancing your program's relationship with workshop participants who are your referral souces and your potentila referal sources. An example of this would be an Eating Disorder Treatment Program sponsoring a workshop on Thom's INTRA-Personal Model for treating eating disorers or Thom doing his Recovery Decision Workshop sponsored by addiction treatment program.
PROFESSIONAL TRAINING SEMINARS
See the list of workshops and training seminars on the Workshops & Trainings page. Topics for training include:
INTRODUCTION TO INTRA-PERSONAL CHANGE PROCESS
GETTING CLIENTS TO THE RECOVERY DECISION
WHAT IT TAKES TO BE AN EATING DISORDER RECOVERY EXPERT
GUIDING CLIENTS TO FACE THEIR OWN RESISTANCE
CARE FOR THE CAREGIVER
FACING FEAR & SHAME, DISCOVERING COURAGE
SELF-COMPASSION & SELF-RESPECT: TWO SIDES OF ONE COIN
I promise that if you hire me
I will not break your copy machine.