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“There isn’t anyone who couldn’t benefit from a therapist.”
Despite social stigmas surrounding mental health and receiving treatment, Lucinda Nightingale, MA, LMFT, speaks first-hand to the life-changing benefits therapy can provide.
Nightingale started her career as a journalist. Soon after, she received her master's degree in liberal arts and became an adjunct faculty member at Keene State College.
However, she found she was not satisfied with the direction her life was taking. Feeling that her family needed more of her time and attention, she decided to change course and follow her passion for supporting people with mental illness. At the age of 42, she went back to school. Two years later, she received a second degree as a clinical therapist, thus opening the door to a second career that she’s pursued ever since.
After working as a clinical therapist for a number of years, Nightingale joined the Waypoint team in 2011. Now, she serves as the counseling team’s clinical manager. As part of this position, she sees patients, supervises and consults with staff, and oversees their training—that’s only a part of what she does.
Becoming a clinical practitioner requires many qualifications and certifications that necessitate ongoing education. Every two years, Nightingale must accumulate a minimum of 40 educational credits—40 hours of courses—in order to keep her mental health license current. On top of that, she’s working on getting her trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy certification, as she was trained years ago before certification was available.
The work is challenging—and there are a lot of horror stories—but Nightingale says that she loves her work.
“There is improvement, and there is healing. I love watching people regain hope.”
Nightingale and her team treat people across all age groups, which means they see people other programs and agencies might not be able to.
Whether soldiers, police, firefighters, children, teens or anyone else, Nightingale and her team employ a trauma-focused approach to helping their clients overcome trauma and challenges.
“Many people think we just sit in a chair and listen, which is not true,” she said. “We’re directing and helping people to develop skills.”
An example of the importance of Nightingale’s work comes from a family she’s worked with on and off for the past few years.
“They have a child who has behavioral struggles, many fears and anxieties,” she says. “I can’t go into too much detail because of confidentiality, but it was very hard for the family to process, and they couldn’t have done it without the third party to help them get through it all, and help them find a way to finally connect with each other.”
Despite the challenges Nightingale and her team face, at the end of the day, they’re all moved and motivated by their work.
“I watch people improve, get better and begin to cope.”