The Power of Providing Care and Support to a Person in Need
Ashley Joslyn is a social services manager at Pioneer Counseling - Emerson Clinic in Spokane. She was very proud to share a story about Robert, a formerly homeless man, that her team slowly built a trust with to assist him in rebuilding his life. The team encouraged Robert to engage in Pioneer's residential and outpatient treatment programs and accept their assistance with needed support services. Ashley and her Peer Support department work with clients to help them find support services in the community. Services include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, transportation assistance including navigating the Spokane Transit Authority system, referrals into medication assistance treatment (MAT), rental applications and deposit assistance, hygiene kits, recovery books and small business loan planning to help individuals pursue a dream of owning their own business one day.
About Pioneer Counseling-Emerson Clinic
Emerson Clinic provides outpatient treatment and counseling to individuals struggling with substance use disorders and mental health issues, and the clinic provides intensive outpatient services to individuals who are in the pre-conviction Spokane County Therapeutic Drug Court program eligible under the Criminal Justice Treatment Account, or on federal probation. Clients that attend the program have a felony linked to substance use and many also have mental health conditions. The clinic also provides urine screening for substance abuse for individuals on federal probation.
When Ashley first met Robert, he was struggling with substance abuse and had no home. She shared that last summer Robert had begun to sleep under the stairs outside the Emerson Clinic as he had nowhere else to stay. When Ashley and Loren Broyles, a certified peer specialist at Emerson Clinic, approached him and started speaking with him, Robert was very anti-social and did not want to talk. After many attempts, Robert finally started speaking with them and shared that he felt unsafe in the homeless shelters. Ashley stated, “He was constantly telling me that he just wanted to get through a treatment program and be able to then live in the wilderness – or the middle of nowhere – with no people around.” Ashley knew that his anti-social feelings and attitude were his protective shield, but she was determined to help Robert re-connect with people and the community, and get treatment for his addiction.
Providing Support Services
As the weather was changing in Spokane, Ashley realized that Robert’s choice to sleep outdoors was becoming hazardous with the freezing temperatures approaching. She began working with him on finding housing options. Together with Loren, they worked with Robert to build a relationship. As they continued to work with him, they got him to agree to participate in a residential treatment program at Pioneer Center East. They found transitional housing while he was awaiting a bed date at the residential treatment program. This kept Robert safe and off the streets until he was able to re-engage in the treatment program.
Robert finally secured a place in Pioneer Center East where he received treatment for his substance use disorder and really engaged in the counseling and therapy for 30 days. Just after the Christmas holiday, he successfully completed the in-patient treatment program and came back to attend outpatient care at Emerson Clinic. Robert has maintained his sobriety and has really engaged more fully in outpatient care in both the individual and group therapy treatment at Emerson Clinic. He is just weeks away from moving into his own apartment.
Ashley shared, “He went from somebody who was living outside and wouldn’t even talk to you, much less carry on a conversation about how he felt, to sharing his needs and coming into the clinic to wish me a nice day. Robert is now genuinely interested in engaging. We all need to remember the amazing positive changes that an individual can make in their life when a little care and support services are provided. I feel so proud and happy for Robert and his new life.”
Pictured from Pioneer Counseling-Emerson Clinic: Ashley Joslyn, social services manager; and Loren Broyles, certified peer specialist