Social Work Month: Staff Profile – Stephanie Davingman
- March 05, 2020
Stephanie Davingman, CADC, LCSW, LMFT, CCT, Clinical Program Manager
Why did you get into social work?
I have always felt that the world should be fair and social work really strives to deal with injustice in the world. The importance of family drew me to doing counseling in child welfare, and I am able in my work to make a difference for families every single day.
What do you like best about the work you do?
I love the work we are doing at LCFS focused on addressing racism and oppression and helping families get reunited.
What is the biggest challenge you face in your work?
One of the biggest challenges is scarcity of resources and trying to do everything that needs to be done in the time available. Luckily, I work with great people throughout the agency who are all working on keeping children safe and reuniting families. They include our case aides and child welfare specialists, our counselors and clinical managers and our corporate support staff, who provide guidance and financial and computer assistance to make everything possible. Our community partners such as United Way and donors also help make our work possible, and I am so grateful for their support.
Please share a story that showcases why your hard work and the sacrifices are worthwhile. LCFS helps clients create significant change in their health and the health of their families. An example of this is Owen (name and identifying details changed to protect confidentiality). Owen is a 33-year-old male who experienced severe childhood trauma. We call his trauma “complex trauma,” because it was trauma that was ongoing and done by someone who was supposed to love and protect him. He was physically abused and was not provided adequate food, shelter, and emotional support. Because of his traumatic experiences, he had tremendous difficulty regulating his emotions and behaviors. He was hyper-vigilant, always on alert and that made him respond to situations as if danger was around every corner. He would react strongly and negatively. His thoughts seemed so irregular that they appeared paranoid and delusional, but were really a trauma response.
I provide supervision and guidance to the counselors to address issues those we serve have. Individuals such as Owen are able to change with therapeutic and child-welfare interventions. In terms of the counseling services, he received 26 sessions of group services focused on research-informed cognitive-behavioral and emotion-focused strategies and 12 individual counseling sessions focused on evidenced-based models of dealing with trauma (SITCAP) and Cognitive Processing Therapy. With these approaches his trauma symptoms, including the delusional thoughts, decreased. He learned ways to cope without the use of substances, such as relaxed breathing and positive self-talk. He examined how his behaviors impacted others and learned better ways to calm himself down in the moment and communicate appropriately with others. He reported tremendous progress on his relationships with others, depression/anxiety, daily living, impulsive/addictive behavior, and psychosis. He made so much progress that he learned that his behaviors severely impacted his wife’s physical health and through the services he received, he changed the way he dealt with her and her health also improved. Fathers such as Owen are able to get their children back due to their coordinated efforts with staff to work towards reuniting families.
Learn how you can support members of our child welfare team.