September 1, 2020 | Comments Off on Perspectives of Trauma
Lee Sousa reflects upon how his experience working with different populations has given him a better understanding of the effects of trauma.
As the Outpatient Services Manager at Alexander Youth Network, Lee Sousa gets to see the wide variety of clients accessing services within our outpatient program. Between individual, school-based, and pediatrician-based programs, our outpatient services program serves a wide range of backgrounds, diagnoses, and family dynamics.
Sousa’s clinical background prior to his time at Alexander, makes him a great fit for understanding the needs of our kids and our staff in treating them.
“As a clinician, you need to break down your biases in order to be able to work with patients and provide them well-rounded care.”
Through internships, practicum, and fulltime work, Lee has worked with both challenging and underserved populations across the country. His first glimpse into the field of trauma was as an intern for a nonprofit providing wrap-around services to children who were sexually abused. From a differing perspective, he has also worked with children and adolescents with problem sexual behavior, as well as clients with severe mental health and intellectual disability. Through it all, he has realized the importance of understanding the individual’s trauma and experience so you are better able to get to know them and understand their actions.
Lee notes that having these different clinical experiences has helped him realize there is a large population of kids and adults living with dual diagnoses but also that many families and parents may have experienced trauma as well.
“In supporting a child to help improve their mental health you also need to support the parents and family too.”
Lee mentions that understanding family and parent dynamics is important for gaining the perspective of a child’s trauma and challenges outside of therapy. Most importantly, he notes the comprehensive programming offered at Alexander makes this easier to understand. If a child is in outpatient services at Alexander, they may be enrolled in other services at the same time or have been previously. Being able to easily consult with counselors, teachers, and therapists provides access to new insight into the child. It also provides clients additional support through a wider clinical team who can work together to provide support when needed to help families heal together.
Though Lee is no longer in a clinical role at Alexander, he sets aside one day a week to still see clients. It is a reminder of the impact he, along with his team, are making during each session.
“It is an extremely rewarding experience to see our clients grow and how they are succeeding in their lives.”
To connect with Lee.
Lee Sousa is a graduate of Wingate University and McDaniel College. He has lived and worked in New York, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, and Maryland before settling in Gastonia. He lives with his wife, son, and new puppy.
Written by Emily Gordon.