Pine Rest Therapist Spotlight
Katherine DeVries, LMSW, CAAC
DA Licensed Master Social Worker and Certified Advanced Addictions Counselor, Kathy joined Pine Rest in 2010. She is both the Program Coordinator and a member of the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Program treatment team. She specializes in issues of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), self-harming behaviors and chronic suicide ideation. She has completed extensive continuing education in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
What first attracted you to Pine Rest?
I was looking for a very professional work environment that would allow me to continue my work in DBT treatment. Several friends employed at Pine Rest advised that the organization is professional, supportive, has a ton of resources for staff, and supports therapist growth in areas of treatment interest.
Working at Pine Rest would also allow me to serve people across the socioeconomic spectrum. This was important to me as a social worker. In the past I’d served only Medicaid/Medicare recipients. And if I moved to private practice, I would only be able to work with patients who had private insurance.
I had previously been involved in research projects and liked that I would have the opportunity to be in an organization that valued research and was a leader in West Michigan’s mental health community.
What is your vision for the DBT program?
I had the benefit of coming in to Pine Rest with many years of DBT experience and training and was able to bring with me the knowledge and structure to help the Pine Rest advance the DBT program by seeking grants and advanced training.
My hope is to continue to …
- Ensure Pine Rest offers DBT with fidelity to the model, high quality, and with integrity.
- Grow the DBT program. Unfortunately, there is a significant demand and lack of DBT services in Michigan.
- Help the treatment community at large better understand BPD and have the tools needed to treat patients.
What have been some of your more rewarding accomplishments?
A few years ago, I helped develop the Family and Friends: Borderline Personality Disorder group at the Pine Rest Northwest Clinic. Over 15 years of DBT treatment, I have seen how families and friends struggle with both pain and lack of knowledge how to help their loved ones with BPD. Since the program’s inception, we have helped nearly 100 friends and family members increase their understanding of BPD and develop healthier coping tools for engaging with their loved one.
My favorite experience as a DBT therapist is seeing a patient change over the course of a year from a life of pain and chaos to achieving life goals for education, work and/or family. Of course, we are often focused on stopping self-harm and preventing suicide at the beginning of treatment, but I know I have really made a difference when the focus of therapy is no longer self-harm but how to build a life worth living and taking steps on career and family goals. In one case, a client’s mother wrote a personal statement about how we helped her daughter turn her life around.
“By the end of six months (of DBT treatment), I could see such a tremendous difference! She gained new skills to help her deal with issues that would arise in her high school environment — one of the triggers for her depression. I also learned new skills to help and support her.
Throughout the summer she improved dramatically. She got her first job. She showed interest in things from which she would have turned away just a few months prior. By fall, she started college and was living on campus.”
What types of support and opportunities have been important to your career growth, happiness and success at Pine Rest?
At Pine Rest, I can fulfill multiple professional interests through clinical work, program development and program management. It keeps me challenged! I love the opportunity to grow and that my management team has always been open to and encourages ideas to build, develop and expand services offered. It’s been an amazing opportunity to be able to grow in the therapy area of my passion as well as explore new areas for growth
Although I’m in a supervisory role for DBT, Pine Rest makes it possible for supervisors to also provide therapy, which helps supervisors fully understand the challenges experience by the treatment team.
Pine Rest has a huge capacity for clinicians to move up in the system and be promoted. They have a focus on training and developing upcoming leaders.
Some of the other support that have been significant factors are:
- The ability to have a flexible schedule as a working parent.
- Professional growth funds so I can attend quality, out-of-state training rather than having to settle for the cheapest trainings I can find for my licensing needs.
- The amazing teamwork at the Northwest Clinic! We have both a professional and fun work environment.
Who we’re hiring
We are seeking fully licensed clinical psychologists and social workers with child, adolescent and family experience as well as certified advanced alcohol and drug counselors.
- LMSW / LISW