Yahaira is a counselor at Crozer-Keystone First Steps Treatment Center. First Steps Treatment Center is a 32-bed residence providing detoxification and rehabilitative services as a part of Crozer-Keystone Behavioral Health, Delaware County’s leading provider for psychotherapy, substance abuse, and addiction care.
How long have you been working as a counselor?
I’ve been at Crozer Keystone for a year and a half. I came from working at Kensington Hospital where I was an outpatient counselor. I’ve been in the drug and alcohol rehabilitation field for about seven to eight years.
What do you enjoy most about your job/what are you most passionate about?
I love talking to people. I always tell people that I have a degree, but I specialize in being a human being. I know what it’s like to feel hopeless and when things don’t go your way, and while I’ve never used substances, I know how easy it can be turn to other things to cope with hard things in life.
I’m passionate about the barriers our patients experience and being realistic when helping them adjust back to living in the real world. When patients come out of care, they need access to basic resources that help them get back on their feet, and I love helping them make those connections.
Also, I’m Hispanic and I’m bilingual and I find that a lot of people who speak Spanish, or people who are Latino or Hispanic don’t access health services because they don’t see people like themselves. I would love to see new resources that can help Spanish-speaking people access care here at Crozer rather than burdening them and sending them into the city.
How do you use Roundtrip?
Oh, we use it all the time! A lot of times patients don’t have the money for a ride because frequently when they come in, they’re at their lowest point. We want to make sure that our patients follow through in their recovery, so we want to provide as many resources to make that possible, even through transportation. So we are happy to get on the computer and order a ride and put in our personal cell phone numbers and walk them all the way down to the blue Toyota to make sure that they get picked up and on to their next stop.
What’s one of your favorite stories working with a patient?
The most recent one was someone who was a challenging patient who had been in and out of our center a couple of times. He wanted to leave against medical advice plenty of times and it just happened to be that one Sunday night I picked up overtime and he wanted to talk. He wanted to leave, but we had a really good conversation about what he wanted life to look like once he left our center. In spite of ever barrier you could think of, he was able to get a scholarship to a recovery house, he was able to move in, get a stable job, and his insurance changed over so he wouldn’t have to pay for as many things out of pocket anymore.
He recently called and left me a voicemail and let me know how well he was doing, so that’s one of my favorites right now.