by Gordon Nary
Gordon: Where did you earn your Masters Degree in Health Administration/Leadership, what was your favorite course, and why was it your favorite?
Daniel: I earned my Masters Degree from Capella University online. It was the best option for me since I did not live in an area that offered convenient access to a university. I always loved the courses on leadership, due to the fact that each leadership course motivated me to continue progressing in my career.
Gordon: What was one of our favorite memories when you served as Retreat Assistant at The Retreat?
Daniel: The Retreat was a very special place for me, as I was once a client at The Retreat when I began my own recovery path. Being able to work there was very gratifying, as I was now able to help people who were just starting their own recovery journey from alcohol and drugs.
Gordon: What were some of the challenges when you worked as a Youth Worker at University of Minnesota Medical Center and how did you address them?
Daniel: Working with young people who are in treatment for substance abuse has many challenges, but young people provided me with a chance to pass on my knowledge of addiction recovery and I was able to learn so much from them as well.
Gordon: What was the primary lesson about addiction that you learned when you served as Clinical Case Manager Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation?
Daniel: As a case manager, my responsibility was to work with clients who were seeking treatment services, and help them get into treatment. It was a constant reminder of how devastating addiction can be, as the people who I was working with were at the lowest point in their lives. It was wonderful to be able to give these clients some hope as they started their recovery journey.
Gordon: What were your primary responsibilities as Addiction Counselor at the University of Minnesota Medical Center?
Daniel: I was working with adolescents at that time, and my responsibilities included creating treatment plans for the clients to follow through their treatment, met with clients individually for counseling, and running psycho-educational groups for the clients.
Gordon: What was your most rewarding experience as Program Counselor at Northeast Residence?
Daniel: When I was at Northeast, I was able to work with clients who had developmental disabilities. The clients were wonderful, and this was quite possibly the most gratifying of all my jobs. I still hold a place in my heart for those clients.
Gordon: What additional responsibilities did you have as Lead Counselor when you went back to Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation?
Daniel: As a lead counselor, I was responsible for being a liaison between the other counselors on the unit and management. Staff satisfaction was my main goal as lead counselor.
Gordon: What were your primary responsibilities as a Substance Abuse Program Supervisor at Options Family & Behavior Services?
Daniel: I supervised two outpatient substance abuse programs for adolescents, and oversaw all substance use programming at the Hennepin County Home School. This school was for adolescent young men and women who were in corrections. I loved this part of the job. Many of the clients were people that had been tossed aside. I always told people that they were great kids who had done some bad stuff. I was able to see many young men and women change their lives for the better.
Gordon: What was one of your most challenging cases when you served as Clinical Supervisor at Meridian Behavioral Health?
Daniel: At Meridian, I was the clinical supervisor for and adult male inpatient treatment program. Most of the clients were just being released from jail or prison, so it was challenging to begin the process of helping them rejoin society. I loved this job because many of the clients were men who would fall through the cracks. It was wonderful to watch their transformation into a life of recovery.
Gordon: You are a Substance Use Disorder Specialist. What are the most common substance use disorders and how are they treated?
Daniel: We treat all substance use disorders. I would say that the most common would be alcohol use disorders, but any other substance is treated as well. Unfortunately, recent surges in opioid use disorders and methamphetamine use disorders are particularly dangerous for clients who those are the drug of choice. However, all substance use disorders are dangerous and should be taken seriously. We treat these disorders with individual therapy, group psychotherapy, and mental health services.
Gordon: What is your position at Nystrom & Associates and what are your primary responsibilities?
Daniel: I currently supervise two outpatient programs Edina and Eden Prairie in MN. I also carry a caseload of clients. I am responsible for six clinicians at those sites, who I work with individually to improve their ability to be effective counselors. My staff is wonderful.
Gordon: If a parent contacted you and was concerned about possible addiction by one of their children, what would you tell them?
Daniel: I would say that the best route to take is to have the child assessed by a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, and follow that clinician's recommendations of the appropriate level of care. I would also say that if there is suspected chemical use, don't ignore it. Get the child help as soon as possible.
Gordon: Thank you for a great interview that I know will be helpful to many of our readers.