Tomara Wilding is a Nationally Certified, Licensed Professional Counselor empowering others to find it within themselves to be all that they are in all that they do. She believes there is a movement happening. One where driven individuals are seeking his or her betterment by sparking the initiative for change.
Tomara graduated Chi Sigma Iota from Marywood University with a Master of Arts degree in Mental Health Counseling. She also studied Communication Arts and Humanities at Keystone College where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and received an undergraduate research award for the study of Healthy and Unhealthy Relationships in Relation to Codependency Examined Through the Social Exchange Theory.
Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched!
Joe Van Wie 0:08
Welcome to another episode of all better. Today's guest is to Mira Wildey. Eric is a nationally certified licensed professional counselor graduated high sigma loita from Marywood University with a Master of Arts degree in mental health counseling. She also studied communication arts and humanities at Keystone College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree and received an Undergraduate Research Award for the study of healthy and unhealthy relationships in relation to codependency examined through the social exchange theory to Mara is a friend I've always admired. And I just so happy she's here to tell her story, how she'd be came a mental health, behavioral health professional, hard work and discipline. Let's get started. Well, I'd like to thank everyone for listening today. And we're here with Tamara tomarrow, wilding, what's up tomorrow?
Tomara Wilding 1:22
Hey, Joe. Thanks for having me.
Joe Van Wie 1:25
Thanks for coming on. I've been playing with this idea of a podcast for a while so most of my guests are my friends right now. That's when Tamir was one of my friends for about 10 years or so. To mer grew up in Dunmore, and I think maybe just for background. Let's start there. What was it like growing up in Buck country?
Tomara Wilding 1:50
The Bucktown dynasty growing up in Dunmore, was very safe. Everybody knows everybody. There isn't really anything that you can do without anybody noticing. You know, you spend your whole life knowing everybody on your block. And that's like a pretty cool.
Joe Van Wie 2:10
Did you go to St. Mary's?
Tomara Wilding 2:12
No, I went to St. Anthony's. Everywhere I've actually gone to school no longer exists. Yeah. From little learners to St. Anthony's to Bishop O'Hara
Joe Van Wie 2:21
creepy. In the school burned out with us.
Tomara Wilding 2:27
That was the dawn more high school that was like, from the 40s. That turned into like a daycare and some other services.
Joe Van Wie 2:34
That was a great fire. One for the history, a history books had done more grave, greatest fires at Dunmore.
Tomara Wilding 2:42
I'm really excited to see what they might do with that space. You know, it's like, it's a good spot.
Joe Van Wie 2:46
Yeah, it's really nice. Where did you end up going to high school after you were done more? I went to Bishop O'Hara school here, which is Holy Cross now. It is.
Tomara Wilding 2:58
That was the last class to graduate from Mission O'Hara,
Joe Van Wie 3:02
where when you were in high school, what were you gearing yourself up to be professionally,
Tomara Wilding 3:09
I was actually in vo tech to do hair and makeup. And that was, you know, I think that really helped me get through high school because I got to do a lot of what I loved during the day, and, you know, kind of split up between doing schoolwork all the time, and really getting into the groove of, you know,
Joe Van Wie 3:31
cosmetology and that was the plan right after school, right?
Tomara Wilding 3:35
Yeah, I mean, I feel like it's always been a part of me, I grew up with four other cousins that are girls, and we've always been doing each other's hair. I've always babysat and did things like that. And so
Joe Van Wie 3:48
did anything happen in high school, that would be your defining moment in your life,
Tomara Wilding 3:57
um, I lost my brother in 10th grade. And I'd say that was like a defining moment. For me, that's kind of like when I shifted into gear, and I started looking at things a little differently and started taking, you know, life more seriously and recognizing the kind of time we really have on this planet.
Joe Van Wie 4:18
Yeah, I could understand that completely. Especially with a sibling. And did that shift kind of your perspective on how you were approaching what the future would may be? Can you speak to that?
Tomara Wilding 4:36
Um, I think I, that's when I started really getting in tune with myself and really recognizing my own feelings and my own grief and kind of working through that and, you know, finding outlets and positive ways to cope and, you know, not really spiraling in a way that, you know, seems easier or numbing and, you know, high school really tries to you know,
Joe Van Wie 5:01
and losing your brother? I mean, in that tone, I mean, I could understand lost a sister. But did you under What did you understand about that scenario then in psychologically, like in the behavioral health kind of scenario that rose out of that.
Tomara Wilding 5:25
I think during that time, I really saw my strength because my parents were going through so much. So I really felt the need to kind of pull through for them, and really, like, follow the rules and not create any added stress for them. And, you know, I think that's part of where my like fixing role kind of came in, where I felt like I wanted to try to manage anything that was unpredictable in my life, mostly to make the people around me feel better. And, you know, it was a pretty hard time to kind of work through that.
Joe Van Wie 6:05
Yeah, that's, that's enormous from 10th grade. And, you know, move on to the the idea of of that, I just wanted to talk to that for a while, because we'll come back to that. I think that's the driving force of what you're doing now, today, from us being friends and speaking to it. But I met you right after not too long after high school.
Tomara Wilding 6:25
Right. When I moved back from New York, yeah.
Joe Van Wie 6:29
2009. That was nine. And how did we meet?
Tomara Wilding 6:33
We met because you were recruiting folks to come work on forged
Joe Van Wie 6:39
some bizarre carnival of madness. Yeah, that's where we met. And you were doing hair makeup. We're doing an indie film, and I met you and your friend Suzy, or our friend Suzy. And I think that's where we became friends.
Tomara Wilding 6:59
For sure. Yeah. And you know, I did a little bit of that. And then I was the wardrobe assistant. I remember running around trying to make clean clothes dirty. And you know, keep everything in order.
Joe Van Wie 7:11
Yeah, it's interesting. I love working on films. To the degree it's one thing to want to make a movie, but the people that you're with for 60 days, 30 days. They're my kind of people. I mean,
Tomara Wilding 7:23
yeah, that was like a solid three months. I think everybody lived at the Holiday Inn. For that entire Holiday
Joe Van Wie 7:31
Inn. There was a lot of people that could have used your services, myself included. Our second cameraman, second AC was Pablo. Pablo has the longest car chase in Florida history. That's right. Yeah. The state the sheriff's department chased him from Miami to Tampa.
Tomara Wilding 7:51
Yeah, I think it was about four and a half hours.
Joe Van Wie 7:53
It's on YouTube. He was one of the better camera men I've ever met. But man, could he steal cars? And he could drive them really fast? Oh, yeah. That was while we have we had a group of pirates there. At that point, you know, you were bouncing on commercials and films. So was I? Where was your mindset of? Was there any inclination that you would be in Human Services decades later,
Tomara Wilding 8:20
I think some of the some of the work that we did, where we're interviewing people, I remember one time, we were at a law firm in Buffalo. And there were a lot of people affected by situations that were really harmful to their family members, and they were trying to get some representation for them. And, you know, I really felt the connection with the people who were interviewing and seeing their pain and seeing, you know, like, I feel like there's something I can do there.
Joe Van Wie 8:50
So listening to those interviews, I remember that there was a lot of crisis that were there was lawsuits involved. But you could tell the these people needed human services. For tragic loss. Injury, no one was advocating for them. And that was just a lawyer's ad. So that was at the point you, you were starting to empathize during shooting the ads with
Tomara Wilding 9:12
just the connection with people Yeah, like hearing their stories, you know, kind of feeling it out and seeing what their goals are, and like what they want to heal from was pretty inspiring to me.
Joe Van Wie 9:24
Have you ever been afraid to empathy like, myself, I've always been afraid I would always try to shut that off immediately, because I was scared that if I started to really listen to someone, I'll get upset. And I've always tried to crush that myself in my 20s. Like, did you ever feel Do you ever feel reckless when you're empathizing with someone?
Tomara Wilding 9:48
I mean, I think at that point, I didn't really recognize the boundaries that go around it. You kind of just don't want people to feel bad, but you know, I think as time goes on, you kind of build those boundaries and seeing held like everybody has what they need between their heads and their toes. It's just using the tools to kind of pull out the solutions.
Joe Van Wie 10:07
Can you speak to some boundaries? Like, when did you? Did you learn them through? Marywood? Like how do you know when you're crossing a boundary of empathizing not only with a stranger, but I mean, professionally, is there a line you can cross? So
Tomara Wilding 10:25
what you're really taught in school is that you don't want to work harder than the person that's coming in. So part of it's getting the story, but part of it's also trying to ask the right questions that they're giving you the information that you kind of could work with, and help them.
Joe Van Wie 10:39
And how do you keep yourself in check when you feel because you're very compassionate person. And this is where you belong, for sure. But it's kind of be difficult to not feel other people's pain are taken home, kind of how does that work? I've always felt that being professional is mysterious, especially if someone's really caring and kind. Does that take a lot of practice from just following?
Tomara Wilding 11:11
I think part of it is giving people space to feel their feelings. And you're right, it's sometimes it is really hard to see people go through really difficult things, but sometimes for the mere expression of just how they feel, and being able to identify it clearly and be connected with themselves is very rewarding. So even though that they might be in a really dark, deep moment, it's kind of nice, in a way to see them really connect with themselves and get in touch.
Joe Van Wie 11:39
Yeah, I just wanted to pop down that caveat, because I think that the great counselors yourself glued it. I see that as a burnout, like it's just a pocket eventually, there's like stuff punching through to the counselors life where they need breaks, sometimes. And I've just, I've always been curious that the discipline that keeps you empathetic, but doesn't affect your own well being. That seems like a real fine line.
Tomara Wilding 12:08
Right. And I think in that's why self care, and we preach it so much is so important, especially for ourselves. You know, I think a lot of it when we're talking, it's talking about other people, like we're reminding ourselves like, we have to take care of ourselves too.
Joe Van Wie 12:22
Well, going down that caveat, I want to pop back to Okay. We were doing ads and you were freelancing explained to me that timeline of freelancing, doing commercials to when you took your first position professionally and Human Services.
Tomara Wilding 12:43
I remember those days, I was going to Keystone I was working part time at a daycare I was I was working for you. I was doing a lot of stuff. I feel like there was very little time that wasn't filled in between homework and things like that. And so right after I graduated from Keystone, and 2012, I took a job at United neighborhood centers. And during that time, I worked in a youth leaders and training program. And that was a really cool, that was a really great experience helping like teens connect with their community, connect with themselves see the things that they can do and the good qualities within themselves. And it was kind of like a spinoff from there. During that time, I started seeking out jobs in the mental health field because I knew that I wanted to go for my masters and I knew that I wanted to become a counselor. Part of that was also contributed I did do a small time at Penn State Worthington. And there I had one of the best psychology teachers I've ever had. And I feel like that kind of is actually where it really started. Who's that Lauren has already? Oh, yeah. And she was super inspiring to me.
Joe Van Wie 13:58
Yeah, she inspires a lot of people. Yeah. How old were you then when you finally like, this is it this is the track I'm taking. This is where I belong.
Tomara Wilding 14:08
I it was pensee. Worthington. I feel like it was 2006. And I was in her class for the first time. And, you know, I didn't even really do that great in her class. You know, it was more of her. I felt like she was speaking to me every time I was in there. And you know, I really stayed connected to her. And you know, I'd reach out to her here and there and she's really the person that kind of inspired me to go further down that road.
Joe Van Wie 14:36
Is it? Do you find it? Like overwhelming you knew then it's 2006. You're at Penn State. To be a licensed counselor and a therapist. You have to have a master's and from that point, there's always this this desire. Can I finish a psych D or keep going? It's on the long road to commit to to do it. You know, what society might not value financially? Where does that commitment come from? Did that bother you that this is a long road? Like, I'm going to have to do a lot?
Tomara Wilding 15:10
Yeah. Like, sometimes it feels like, it's a lot of hoops. But when you come out on the other end, you, you really understand why you participate in all these practicums and internships. And you know, you do you have to get all your hours for your licensure and stuff like that. And, you know, during it, it seems really hard. But once you get to the other end of it, you're like, This all makes sense.
Joe Van Wie 15:35
And did you have a lot of support is there a lot of support for students, because that's a huge commitment, I would think, to commit to five years of school, if you got to fast track to get a master's, if not, it could be eight years, it was a part time to do such vital work that we're going to need tremendously in the next decade, especially after COVID. That's a long road for someone to commit to have help we
Tomara Wilding 16:02
it's kind of nice, because they break it down into steps. So like, the first would be like a 300 hour practicum, where you kind of like get a feeler out there, you kind of work with an agency to see if they'll have you. And then like, once you do that, then you go into a 400 hour internship. And then from that you have your, like 3000 hours after you pass your NCD to get your license.
Joe Van Wie 16:26
Okay? So you break it down into steps that are attainable.
Tomara Wilding 16:30
Yes, it's in during that whole time, it's not like you're by yourself, because you have a lot of supervision. So it's whether it's group supervision, individual supervision, you kind of get that balance between that one on one and then meaning in a group and also seeing what everybody else is kind of working with. And we all talk to one another and bring up like our day to day experiences and try to see how we could help each other out.
Joe Van Wie 16:57
This is all under with undergrad, right? So
Tomara Wilding 17:00
that was with my graduate graduate. My undergrad was communication, arts and humanities. So like the humanities piece was there. And I kind of expanded on that in my master's program.
Joe Van Wie 17:12
Alright, so when you're going to graduate school, you have a budget knowing you you have the personality and the kindness to be a caregiver help out. What would you say in graduate school was the number one surprise to becoming a professional therapist, to help someone that you were like, Oh, I didn't, I wouldn't have expected this that would come from either the education or training that you would never have known yourself like a boundary? Or?
Tomara Wilding 17:45
That's like a good question. Something that was a surprise, I think that working well. So for after UNC, I worked in community mental health. And in that role, you have, like I was a case manager. So you, you have a caseload of like 35 people who have all different needs, and you have to see them at minimum once every two weeks. So spreading yourself in that way, and kind of managing your time and seeing the needs of people. And a lot of that is something that you can't control. So, you know, if somebody's having a really hard time, and their psychosis is kicking in, and things like that, like, obviously, that's going to take priority over somebody's going to, you know, maybe grocery shopping or something like that. So it's really, it really taught me how to prioritize people's needs and my own needs. And I don't know, panning out my schedule and, and things like that.
Joe Van Wie 18:47
Yeah, it's not like you get to spend one on one with just one client. I mean, I think that's the scope. Most people don't see you think you're just sitting in an hour, you got 35 more people to see in 14 days, or 10. Yeah, pretty much days. That's a, that's a big workload.
Tomara Wilding 19:07
Right? And, you know, if you're scheduling all their medical appointments, all their mental health appointments, you know, sometimes it's like, doing things like helping them keep food in their house, you know, managing, managing what we can to help them be more independent and see within themselves that they do have these skills and they do have the ability to care for themselves, you know,
Joe Van Wie 19:28
at this position where you well, would it be called the field would you have to do like welfare checks? When and
Tomara Wilding 19:35
yes, I've done many welfare checks there. When you're a case manager, you basically work out of your car. Yeah, you know, I had everything that I needed in my car and we also worked off with paper still then. So I'm writing all my notes and like Alfredo's parking lot, waiting to go to my next appointment, but, you know, you really, you really figure it out. I think that was really, really helpful in you know, I am bettering myself with time management and prioritizing things and staying organized I had so many fan folders full of everything. So from
Joe Van Wie 20:11
theory to practice enjoyed school enjoyed the classes this year first huge caseload 35 people a week that have just the need these resources desperately. Is there any point that was overwhelming? Or did you know you chose the right path? Like there was fortitude forged in that position?
Tomara Wilding 20:33
I feel like even in the struggle, in the challenges of being a case manager and dealing with all these personalities, and all of these people who are just striving to, you know, do better for themselves. I,
Joe Van Wie 20:49
I lost? Well, once in a while, it's a podcast from my home, you'll hear Persia crying in the background?
Tomara Wilding 20:56
Was that what that was? Yeah.
Joe Van Wie 20:59
That's fine. Where did you go after that? That position
Tomara Wilding 21:03
after getting counseling center. So really, screen Counseling Center is pans out a lot further than case management. I did that for about like, three years. And then I started doing crisis. And what was like, rewarding about crisis? Was that like, you had to, like at that point, you were picked to do it. What's crisis? Like, what would you say, crisis services is like the 24 hour, seven days a week service. So like, that would be the walk in section of screen counseling center. But it also expands to doing the psych evaluations in local hospitals. And when they eventually carved out a mobile team. So that meant up until 1030. At night, if you're being called to these crisis situations, you're trying to divert people from having to go to the hospital. So me, myself and another, you know, team member, we would go out to these different houses and places in the community and try to divert the crisis, while we're there, we're trying to talk with people just kind of keep, you know, people that don't actually need to be in the emergency room out of the emergency room.
Joe Van Wie 22:08
So these are mental health issues predominantly. How did addiction play a role in most in some of these cases? But what if you had to just ballpark it?
Tomara Wilding 22:19
I would say that there is a good portion of it, even if somebody has been established in their sobriety for a long time. There's some times when people you know, they spent so much time numbing themselves, that it's kind of really hard to change that, you know, like they're conditioned to kind of feel nothing, or they're conditioned to feel it all at one time and have a really hard time regulating it
Joe Van Wie 22:43
used to get this period of just out of curiosity, would you be able to find the experience in the crisis unit, separating a psychosis brought on by addiction, versus a psychosis from a deeper cognitive problem.
Tomara Wilding 23:02
Sometimes it's a little, it's a little hard to tell. But you know, one thing that is really cool that Crisis Services offers now is the CRS program. So now we have CRS working in the ER to meet with people just because you know, sometimes when that's that peer to peer relationship, like people feel more comfortable, they might not open up to me because, you know, I'm sitting there with this clipboard, trying to ask them all these questions. And, you know, sometimes it feels a little invasive, but when somebody comes in, and they're like, Hey, I'm going to tell you a little bit about myself, like, is there anything that I can do to help you in this moment? Or do you think this could be contributing to your problems? And I really think that that peer to peer relationship made a difference. What's the CRS, certified recovery specialist?
Joe Van Wie 23:48
That's an in Pennsylvania certified recovery specialist. I think on average, it's 70 continual credits, you could take it at Lucerne, Lackawanna, and it's a state certification that could give you kind of the ethical training, to see your own biases. Even if you're in recovery, you may have plenty to how to approach people that it gives you more of a standard to operate, say within a hospital, within a workplace to approach someone on addiction, that wouldn't be inappropriate. i It's an unbelievable program. And lizard Office offers it for a grant for free people are interested in they're in recovery for a year. I just want to put that in there because I think it's a great program. It's not just a bureaucratic kind of harsh, harsh to get a job. It's a certification that really makes you more sensitive to addiction outside of your own experience, and I think it was desperately needed.
Tomara Wilding 24:47
Yeah, and I've seen I've worked with CRS in the ER in addition to I was the clinician early diversion program over at the probation office and Our CRS is in that apartment where incredible, we're trying to divert people before their sentencing to get them connected to programs and kind of get them the help they need. So like they're ahead of the game, by the time that they come back in front of the judge,
Joe Van Wie 25:14
yeah, and they, the thing I see about CRS is I took the training. There's no power, like the guys that I saw, and the women that were doing this and where they wanted to work or help out and have this credential. They are not establishing power. And that that is really key, especially in a crisis scenario, that there's appear there, there's someone that's not judging, and they're on the level and they could talk to you from the distinction, I know what you're, you're going through, and they're not establishing power, and and they've gotten a standard of ethics of how to behave and speak to someone in a non judgmental way. You don't always have that experience in a 12 step based program. And now CRS has have the opportunity to be more of a crisis area, but I really think any, any large employer in the area should have one on staff, because there's there's more subtle ways to use them.
Tomara Wilding 26:14
Absolutely. And I can tell you that in my experience of being the clinician in that pre trial program, that I would continue, I would, I would do an entire intake with somebody, pass them off to a CRS by the time they're done with them. They're both coming back to me saying, I wasn't exactly honest about everything, you know, it was after having that conversation, that they'd come back and be like, I do need help. And I need help in these ways. And you know, if it wasn't for talking to this person, I'm not sure that like that would have came out of me.
Joe Van Wie 26:45
It works the point of the whole program as I see it working. I'll put a link in this episode to lizard all the local resources to how to become a CRS and that will explain the program more if you're a person in recovery, listening. It's a great certification to have you retired its certification could have to volunteer at any of the recovery workspaces in Lucerne or Lackawanna County. I'll put it in there. So did you at this point want to specialize from Scranton counseling moving on from there was there a special like, you want to specialize working with a certain field of people at this point.
Tomara Wilding 27:31
So you do it by saga, it's great counseling for so long. So like even after crisis that wasn't like the end of it. After that I did, like crisis is what really helped me get my like my hours for my licensing and things like that. From there, I went on to work in the school based behavioral health program. So then, as a case manager, I worked with a lot of adults, in the hospitals, I worked with whoever came in school based behavioral health really gave me the experience to work with the like the young kids, you know, I worked in an elementary school, it was a really unique experience, because we worked in the home schools and community. So it wasn't that we were only seeing them in the school settings. We're also working with the families in their homes. And even in the summertime, we were taking them to like McDade Park to do groups and activities and kind of rewarding them with some fun and, you know, kind of making it like having a totally different approach to wellness.
Unknown Speaker 28:30
So I'm glad you brought that up, because I think anything that changes
Joe Van Wie 28:37
any crisis, you see mental health, addiction, trauma, abuse, severe abuse, and that the victim of that developing a more serious, you know, behavioral health problem by the time they're an adolescent or adult, and then they enter the criminal justice system, which is not behavioral health. So to get to work with kids, at that point where you did you guys have screenings to identify trauma? Or what's going on in the home to see if we can we can stop this course that person would be destined for if they've been traumatized.
Tomara Wilding 29:17
So yes, so when we do an intake, there's always a trauma portion of it, or we ask them questions and you know, try to gauge what kind of stuff that they've been exposed to. You know
Joe Van Wie 29:34
that's a that's a delicate thing to do when you're speaking, especially the ending. Are we talking to ages like a child?
Tomara Wilding 29:41
So at the school that I was at was an elementary school, so it went from preschool to fifth grade? Yeah. We didn't really see kids that were in preschool or kindergarten. It really started in first grade. But it was like a well needed service. Like the principal there at the time was amazing. She was so All coming to us, she gave us a space there we had, we had so many resources that like she kind of pulled up for us, because they were just so happy that we were there.
Joe Van Wie 30:09
Did you see that program making a difference? Because how could How could you not and just thinking of Human Services, you can't think of like the work you're doing that day, you got to think in decades, like from the 40s 50s 60s. You know, you could have a bleak kind of outlook on things, especially over the last two years. But if you put it in perspective of what treatments and screenings or just culturally what homelife was, like, almost off limits to discuss with someone that's their business, if they even if a kid looked abuse. I think we've come like we take leaps every decade. I mean, there's a lot of work to do. But just speaking to that, I think things have gotten better just for the fact that's what you were doing in the last six years. I don't even think that was being offered in the 70s.
Tomara Wilding 31:02
Yeah, I it's definitely a new program. I remember when I started at skirt and counseling in 2012, I think it was just like just getting going. And you know, it is it's as simple as understanding the carry in behaviors, that was like a technique intervention that we learned behavior, and carry on behavior is like, you have this kid, it's at 10 in the morning, and they're already acting out. And you're thinking, Oh, this kid just doesn't like school. But in reality, you have no idea what the half hour hour before school was like, before he came in there, you know, so like, maybe he just witnessed this big fight in his house. Maybe he just slept in a school clothes on the living room floor, and he's really feeling tired, because there was 12 people over last night, you know, it really, it really gets you thinking in a different way than just thinking that like kids do not want to be in school or don't want to participate.
Joe Van Wie 31:57
And so instead of branding the child, as you know, behavioral problems at the school, like he doesn't know how to behave in the school, your chain changing that perception to something might have happened before school, and this. This is him either asking for help, or at least giving you the markers of something's wrong. And it's not this. It's not him, something's happening to him.
Tomara Wilding 32:22
Right. And, you know, he's trying to process that well as teachers telling him to get out all his books and start his assignment. And he's just like, well, I, I can't believe my morning started like that.
Joe Van Wie 32:32
Have you been able? I know we're bouncing all around with ADHD, ADHD, ADD kind of same thing, different descriptions, attention deficit disorder. You know, I grew up being told I had it. But I wasn't sure I could repeat what it is, besides hyperactivity, not paying attention. Maybe I'm just creative, I'd have to tell myself. But I'm seeing a real shift and how to articulate exactly what it is it's emotional problem, detachment, disorder, detachment being, not having a sense of security from the stress of a parent. And it's hard to bring to the attention. What's wrong with the kid is it's the parents fault, but such as life. But that, really, it speaks to me because it sounds more of an emotional problem. And and if there's an emotional issue happening, I can't send attention somewhere, do you see a shift from the time you were there till now of treating and identifying kids with ADHD, that there might be something wrong at home?
Tomara Wilding 33:45
I think that there's no situation that's going to be the same as the next one, you know, I think that it's all going to be focused on the individual and kind of like their needs, how they express it, what kind of things come up during those intakes, and they kind of like the stories that they tell you.
Joe Van Wie 34:04
So training, which I don't have, there could screen your own biases for that just applying some other story or universal mode and onto every kid or scenario,
Tomara Wilding 34:16
when does like,
Joe Van Wie 34:19
to what you were speaking to, like without training. In this, I might just apply everyone into a category.
Tomara Wilding 34:28
So like so when you're going through like the diagnoses that are in the DSM five, all of them have these lists of criteria and you have to hit so many marks to fit into that. Okay, you know, so that's basically where these diagnoses come from. It's like, all right, the, this is the criteria to beat it, how many of them as checking the box,
Joe Van Wie 34:53
and then the approach to treating that just it's still individual.
Tomara Wilding 34:59
So in In terms of ADHD, like sometimes it is very apparent that that's something that the kid is struggling with. But you know, the, the first step isn't really taking that medication and starting to put in some interventions, maybe like, you might use, like behavioral Li has to be age appropriate. You know, like, a fifth grader doesn't really care about a sticker chart, you know, where a first grader is, like, Oh, this is I've seen
Joe Van Wie 35:23
a decline in the great push to use like a Confederate mean Sol riddle in to just,
Tomara Wilding 35:29
I don't think that's like the ultimate answer that's really being pushed these days, you know, the way that I really like that explained to me was that, you know, those medications kind of stimulate a brake pedal, it's kind of gives people an opportunity to stop and say, Okay,
Joe Van Wie 35:48
well, I like speaking, ADHD, because I can experience it. And I'm understanding that in a different way, as I got older, and then I'm seeing how it's kind of in this love affair with addiction, in my own experience. Do you? Do you find relationships in adolescence, when you were working with people that yourself, addiction and ADHD?
Tomara Wilding 36:16
Um, not so much in the younger kids, I really didn't spend a lot of time with like the high school population. I think I like filled in here and there. But mostly like with the kids under five, it really didn't come up that often.
Joe Van Wie 36:29
Why don't you tell me a little bit about your departure from Scranton counseling where you went from there?
Tomara Wilding 36:34
Well, after school based behavioral health, I went to the I met program, that early diversion program for pretrial services. And that was my final chapter, what's great in counseling center. So we were working in the probation building. And like I mentioned before, we are trying to divert, you know, individuals for being sentenced to incarceration by helping them get connected to services and start helping themselves.
Joe Van Wie 37:00
How would you do that? We would like to avoid that, hey, this isn't just a hardened criminal, this person has a mental health problems.
Tomara Wilding 37:07
Absolutely. So you know, sometimes it was a matter of individuals not being in the services that they needed to, from the beginning, you know, so maybe they didn't know how to apply for insurance. So they're getting certain medications off the street, or they're doing certain things for themselves that, you know, they thought was the best choice at the time. But as time played out, and you know, things caught up to them, it really did play out that way.
Joe Van Wie 37:33
Do you see what you were doing there as a far more humane approach than maybe that was happening in the early 90s?
Tomara Wilding 37:40
Oh, yeah, I think that it was a it's a very unique program, that, that the court systems are trying to help these individuals, it's like, we don't want to see you here. You know, like we see the ability to intervene, help you out and get you connected to the things that are going to stop this cycle. How do these
Joe Van Wie 38:01
programs start from just letting these people just flounder and just get sucked away into a county jail system and not meeting deadlines for probation because of they need an advocate.
Tomara Wilding 38:15
So yeah, so like before, that these people aren't sentenced yet that come through. So there's no probation officer, it's like a pretrial. So what was really happening was that a lot of people were being incarcerated for low level crimes, for the simple fact that they couldn't meet their bail. And so they were seeing a lot of people filling up off of those, those dockets. Just because of, you know, having a lack of money. And, you know, they really saw how, you know, that was really,
Joe Van Wie 38:50
it's not criminality, it's distress.
Tomara Wilding 38:53
Right. And some of it is, you know, you have those criminal thinkers that come in here, and they're, you know, maybe they've been off the radar for a while, but you know, this might be like the first time that they ever got arrested. So, you know, it's really unique in the opportunity that they kind of see like, this is your first time ever involved. So we want to help you never come back here.
Joe Van Wie 39:14
And how long is that program? Is was that new when you got it?
Tomara Wilding 39:18
It was I was, there was maybe one clinician before me that kind of opened up the program. And by the time that I came in, we had three pretrial officers, myself as the clinician, we had two case managers and then to CRSS.
Joe Van Wie 39:39
I'll tell you what Scranton is. You know, we could we could Josh about our town all we want, but we're pretty progressive, and intelligent, with the approaches that we've seen in our drug court, the nation's first model, mental health court. It's just something that I don't think I think goes unnoticed. Even though there's still issues, but to see that happening at a level that there's a program in place. I mean, people should be pretty grateful. It's just, it's more humane. It's not cruel, it's being brought out with thought. Can you talk to the screening process to separate an individual from say, this is a criminal kind of a psychopathy or whatever, versus this is someone that needs an advocate just needs help.
Tomara Wilding 40:32
So anybody coming in is, they're not, they didn't play anything yet, you know, so nobody wants to really take responsibility in the beginning, you know, and I kind of, we do do a couple of screening tools in the beginning. And, you know, sometimes people fill themselves out on paper a little bit more honestly, than asking them face to face. So that was kind of a nice start. So like, we'd start off, I'd introduce myself, I'd give them the screening tools, kind of explain how they work. And then from there, I would take them back into the office with me. And Wednesday, come into the intake, and it's just us two in the room, I think that's when the first step of opening up starts. And during that process, you really do get to know them, because you're asking so many questions in the right way that they're, they're kind of so open that they have to fill in the blank, which really creates like an opportunity to get people into those treatment programs that are part of the county, you know, that mental health court, co occurring court, treatment court in general, DUI court, things like that.
Joe Van Wie 41:41
And when did you finish? When did you finish that work up there?
Tomara Wilding 41:45
I left there in 2019. Why? Well, January 2020, I believe it was. So I went I was working with Skerton counseling center in the probation building, the mental health court officer who was originally there, she was taking on, you know, a new job. And so there was an opening there. And typically, they have one female and one male officer, and I put in for it, you know, and I really just thought that I could make a difference in in that atmosphere, having the experience working as a pretrial clinician, and also being a licensed therapist, it really gave me an opportunity to kind of like, slide into that spot. And, and, you know, try something new.
Joe Van Wie 42:35
At this time, were you starting your own practice?
Tomara Wilding 42:40
So I started my practice in 2018.
Joe Van Wie 42:44
And they were just taking cases, what off hours from your job?
Tomara Wilding 42:49
Yes. So immediately after working, I would go right to work and work until, you know, maybe like I do my last appointment at like, six, seven o'clock,
Joe Van Wie 42:59
just to speak to that not the entrepreneurial aspect of it. But that's pretty common. You have a position somewhere in behavioral healthcare, and then to build your practice, you're taking people off hours. That's it. That's pretty demanding, right?
Tomara Wilding 43:14
Yeah. Yeah, you know, it got to the point where I, I really saw the opportunity to grow my practice, you know, it was something that I wasn't really interested in doing part time, I really wanted to make that my full time focus.
Joe Van Wie 43:30
And that's a hard commitment, because you're working 40 hours a week. And now you're starting to book sessions. For what after five after six after seven? They're long days.
Tomara Wilding 43:44
Long days. Yes. Lots of snacks. You have to pack.
Joe Van Wie 43:47
Yeah. So you made the transition, though? I did. Can you tell me tell me what that looked like.
Tomara Wilding 43:53
So once I realized that I was like, I really want to start my own private practice. I started thinking about the the tools that you don't really learn in school. And that's basically how to run a practice the whole business side of things. And so once that became apparent that I was like, I need some help in this area. I reached out to data Simpson at the Small Business Development Center, because they had a woman startup program. Where's that? It's the it's downtown. It's the it's through the University of Scranton, and it's called the SBDC. The small business development,
Joe Van Wie 44:31
I'll put a link on there. Yeah, they have great resources for business plans,
Tomara Wilding 44:36
incredible resources, and it's free. It's free to do their workshops free free. And that's really how I got started. It was like I think it was maybe like six or eight weeks that I went for a couple hours on Tuesday. And you know, they brought in a lot of speakers. They kind of set you up with this binder and this whole system of how businesses
Joe Van Wie 45:01
Follow the instructions to an it just got you started
Tomara Wilding 45:04
every single instruction. Yes, that's, that's
Joe Van Wie 45:07
amazing. I've done everything by myself backwards. All the mistakes I could have avoided, I had to do myself, I'm just just amazed me.
Tomara Wilding 45:18
You know, it was kind of, you know, it's so foreign to me like, though like making spreadsheets with like my expected revenue and things like that that really wasn't like my growth like I, but the interns there and the the support that I received was incredible.
Joe Van Wie 45:38
So if I'm hearing this, right, you want it your own practice you jumped in. And what made that easier because you didn't get into human services, behavioral health, to write spreadsheets, make projections of what your profit p&l is going to be at the end of the year. You go down to the University of Scranton small business development. You want your practice so bad, they they helped you halfway to make that stuff.
Tomara Wilding 46:05
They've really they helped me not only get started, but they helped me identify the other resources in our area. So even during that time, I started identifying other business owners whether or not they were similar to me, and started asking them questions about their success and how they got to where they were, and what kind of resources really helped them. So it's kind of pulling from like, anywhere and everywhere, to kind of find out what would be the best game plan to make for myself.
Joe Van Wie 46:34
I'm a natural marketer, I am not marketing these things. I'm just, I'm trying, I want to unpack what it takes to start your own clinical business, because I admire it. And I'm doing it myself right now, as you know, trying to have a partial hospitalization program, there's a lot that goes into it, that isn't the initial spirit of what you want to do. But it has to be done. And you can find people to help you do it, you put a team together?
Tomara Wilding 47:04
Yes, you know, and a lot of it is that research on your own of how to file business name, how to get your EIN number, or you know, all that all those technicalities that are absolutely necessary and not necessarily fun.
Joe Van Wie 47:19
I remember you doing it, I we spoke a couple of times. So you dug it and got the work done. But you seemed excited as you were doing this. And can you explain to me what that excitement was, was it
Tomara Wilding 47:34
I was pumped, you know, like creating the space that I envisioned myself to be in to invite people into to do the work that they need to do to be the best version of themselves.
Joe Van Wie 47:45
Where is your office now? And how does it operate?
Tomara Wilding 47:49
My office now is at 1416 Monroe Avenue. We are in suite 205. And it's like right across from a bar appliance. You know, it's a it's a nice location, we're in with other medical providers inside there. And, you know, there are three of us that share the suite. You know, we all kind of bring something different to the table we all share and kind of you know, have different styles, but we also get to consult with one another because that's something that they don't tell you either. It's like working in private practice by yourself. It's a little isolating. You know, like if you worked somewhere where you had so many co workers for so long to being a one woman shell, you know, sometimes it's it's a little lonely.
Joe Van Wie 48:35
And I'm sure it helps to have a group thought of new eyes on a problem that you could be stuck on something you're not seeing clearly.
Tomara Wilding 48:45
Oh, definitely. And you know, especially with people who might be in the game a little longer than you, you know, they kind of may have experienced this before or they have some type of wisdom to offer you.
Joe Van Wie 48:57
Do you accept insurance? I do want insurances.
Tomara Wilding 49:01
I accept geissinger I accept optim. I accept Highmark. And Cigna.
Joe Van Wie 49:12
Well, we're at 48 minutes, I want you to come back because I want to pick up about insurance and the levels of care that you're offering and the future of that maybe four weeks. Sounds good. We don't know who knows what date this is now. I'll be there. I'm really glad to came on to Mara Tamara's friend for a long time and I've been so excited and just watching with admiration, her build this practice from working full time positions with large case loads. And to build this practice there's a there's a deeper story here I want to dive into of how she created relationships to accept insurance except people that need it more means it's interesting And I think it's a story that should be told how someone builds a practice. Thanks, Joe. All right. check you guys later
I'd like to thank you for listening to another episode of all better. You can find us on all better.fm or listen to us on Apple podcast, Spotify, Google podcasts Stitcher, I Heart Radio, and Alexa. Special thanks to our producer John Edwards, an engineering company 570. Drone. Please like or subscribe to us on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. And if you're not on social media, you're awesome. Looking forward to seeing you again. And remember, just because you're sober doesn't mean you're right.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai