Newman alumna Christy Foos felt it was time to open a counseling center of her own after she saw a need for mental health therapists in South Central Kansas. The center provides services such as addiction and substance abuse assessments; addiction, trauma and grief counseling; group therapy and other counseling services. The services she provides reach a vast majority of people, from children to aging adults.
Ellie and Leah, Foos’s grandchildren, helped organize and decorate the new counseling center. Any spare time that Foos has, she enjoys spending it with them and their little brother, Wesley.
Foos is a licensed master social worker, licensed master addiction counselor and substance abuse professional, but did not start her education with an interest in social work. She spent many years working in the business field, but it just did not seem rewarding to her, she said.
“The money was there, but something was missing,” she said. “I asked myself, ‘Why am I working so hard and investing in something far less valuable than a human being?’” Foos decided to explore universities for a social work degree program and found that Newman was her best fit.
While attending Newman, Foos had the opportunity to participate in real life social work practice including clinical therapy and even facilitated an Equine Assisted Services workshop alongside two colleagues. One of her favorite projects from a class, a Family of Origin Paper, allowed her to reflect upon her own life experiences and how they have impacted her as a social worker.
“I feel so blessed to be the person people trust to share their life stories with,” Foos said. “It is an honor to work with people and see them grow and develop into the best that they can be. I learn from these people and have great gratitude toward them.”
Foos believes her passion is to use her own life experiences to help others. She grew up in an impoverished home that was full of domestic violence, addiction, and mental illness. While there were many happy times, she said, there were quite a few bad and sad times.
“I believe God has taken me on a journey so that my life experiences can, in turn, help others going through obstacles in their lives,” Foos said.
“People in South Central Kansas will benefit from a therapist who understands and appreciates diversity and treats the client with dignity and respect,” she added. “Newman University drilled this into my professional social work belief system.” She specializes in PTSD, grief, anger management, and addiction counseling.
“I feel my services can help people because I draw from different modalities in contrast to using the cookie cutter approach,” Foos said. She is trained to counsel grief and trauma victims, which she said are two categories many people with addiction happen to fall into. In addition, much of her work involves Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness.
EMDR is an evidenced-based successful psychotherapy technique that helps people overcome addiction, trauma, grief, anxiety, phobias, depression, and many other disorders. It can be an effective therapeutic approach for war veterans, victims of domestic violence, rape, and abandonment. It is an intervention that works for people without having to relive their traumatic experiences, Foos said.
Foos is in the process of earning her Ph.D. in Medical Social Work from Walden University. She currently has two semesters completed but is on a break to work progressively on her clinical, which she hopes to have wrapped up by December 2017.
“Rebeca Sandoval is my clinical supervisor,” Foos said. “She is fantastic to work with and is a wealth of support to me.” After Foos completes her clinical, she will be able to continue working toward her Ph.D. by January 2018.
“My goal is to give people hope and a coping technique in the very first session that they can take out of my office and apply to their daily lives and even share with others,” Foos said. “Every person that walks out of my office knows their strengths, and we continue to build on those strengths throughout the client and therapist relationship. I walk with them through their journey until they are strong enough to walk on their own.”
The newly licensed counseling center is located at 319 S. Main in Hutchinson, Kan. Walk-in hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays, and appointments are available mornings, evenings, and weekends. Those interested can call (913) 702-6722, fax (620) 259-2495, e-mail [email protected], or visit lmsw.org for more information.