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Life After MiSPP: Lisa Kaffenberger

June 13, 2016

MiSPP strives to connect with alumni to find out more about the work that fulfills their passion for clinical psychology.  “Life After MiSPP” is our new column that highlights the career journey of our grads.

Name: Lisa Kaffenberger, LLP (MA Class of 2014)

Lisa Kaffenberger, '14

Lisa Kaffenberger, ’14

Job Titles: Early Learning Support Specialist Mentor (Head Start, Kent County) & Psychotherapist/Clinician (Sollars & Associates, Holland)

Describe your work in clinical psychology:

Head Start is a fantastic federal organization that works with the at risk population in the county to best serve the children and families. The main focus is early childhood education, but it also acknowledges the importance of wrap-around services and the inability for some of our children to be successful in school without them due to real life limitations such as homelessness, lack of resources, mental health concerns etc.

My role has been working at the 9 HS4KC schools: conducting classroom observations on children, providing strategies for families, children and teachers to best help the children be successful, creating behavioral intervention plans for the children, modeling for teaching teams how to successfully intervene with behavioral/mental health concerns in the classroom, working with the Early Head Start home visiting program, leading parent workshops, and teaching yoga/mindfulness activities with all classrooms in our county.

This winter I was promoted to a mentor position, which basically means that I make sure that everyone else is competently doing what they are supposed to do and providing reflective supervision to my colleagues.  Overall Head Start has been a great first job out of grad school and is a perfect placement for any TLLP position to obtain their hours and gain useful strategies to implement in play therapy/child therapy down the road. It has helped me in my private practice work by giving me the tools to help parents manage their children’s behavior (as well as their own). P.S. if you have children on your caseload look up Conscious Discipline and PBIS (I highly recommend their strategies and concepts).

I recently put in my notice at this job to pursue my goal of building an outpatient therapy practice. So be on the lookout for a posting if you are willing to move to Grand Rapids.

As an Outpatient Mental Health Therapist at Sollars & Associates, my caseload is mixed, both children and adults. So far my caseload is primarily comprised of various anxiety disorders, depression, OCD, FUP (as Dr. H would say for some of my child clients), and I have one client diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

I am loving my work in outpatient counseling and I look forward to everything that it will bring. I am beyond thankful to Dr. Sollars and his wife Shelley for believing in me enough to start up a practice on the west side of the state. I love seeing my clients grow and being a part of their journey, and it’s really nice to know that hard work can really get you to a place where you can have a job that you love.

What do you like about your work?

HS4KC: The kids. They are hilarious and awesome. I love being a part of their lives even for a brief period of time; and I love the stories/memorable quotes that they share with me.  Ex. “Pass the peaches Pimpin’” (Sharing meals with kids in the classroom is a beautiful thing).

Sollars: I love BEING A THERAPIST 🙂

What about your experience at MiSPP prepared you to be successful?

EVERYTHING! I would not be the clinician that I am today without MiSPP and I would by no means be working at a Sollars Associates location in Holland, MI (it wouldn’t exist). I value my experience, teachers, and class family with all my heart.