Bettina Yanez is a licensed clinical social worker in Long Island, NY. A holistic therapist who runs her own private practice, Bettina takes a strengths-based approach to her work, normalizing and destigmatizing what it means to ask for help.
“Life doesn’t come with a manual!” she says. “It’s okay to need some support; we all need a place to process emotions, work through things, get clarity and direction and find our peace.”
It is with this mindset that Bettina approaches her work with both clients and supervisees.
“I found that I was always someone that people wanted to talk to,” Bettina recalls. “When I was little they called me The Peacemaker. I was a good listener. So that led me into this field.”
Bettina, who earned her Bachelor’s in Social Work from Adelphi University and her Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University, started her career in a mental health clinic for those dealing with severe mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. She also spent time working with LGBT and foster care youth. While working at a foster care agency, Bettina moved her way up from therapist to Assistant Director, which included the responsibility of supervising therapists in the southern region of New York state.
Today Bettina has a private practice, Find Peace Counseling, which she recently expanded from a solo to a group practice. As her niche has grown and transformed over the years, she finds herself spending most days working with clients dealing with stress management and anxiety. She helps them manage daily living and building connections between how they’re feeling and what is going on in their life. She finds her background in trauma helps serve her current clients.
“Trauma comes up in a lot of areas and a lot of people don’t recognize it or identify it,” Bettina, who is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, says. “But if it’s an underlying issue to someone’s anxiety or depression or relationships, we can connect what they’re experiencing now with what they experienced in the past.”
She also makes sure not to skip over the basics: addressing the importance of consistent, quality sleep, adequate water intake, time management, and self-care.
“I love helping people. I really do,” she says. “I love hearing people’s stories and what they are experiencing. I love helping them figure out the best way to manage their life. There are a million ways to do things! There’s nothing black and white when it comes to life, so I can help people find out what works for them in their particular life stage, because as your life changes – getting married, being single, having kids or no kids, working, not working, changing jobs, getting older – all theses variables in life influence you and change you. Keeping that front and center is part of my holistic approach.”
Bettina had several different supervisors throughout her supervision experience and has continued her own supervision even after earning her license.
“I feel like we always need supervision because we can always learn and grow,” she says. “We need that feedback from someone else, so I believe strongly in supervision.”
Looking back to when she was fresh out of college, she found the more managerial supervisors helpful, especially when it came to navigating paperwork and systems in an agency setting. Over time, however, she realized that the supervisors who did more listening and questioning were the ones who really facilitated growth and allowed her to blossom as a therapist.
“It’s been helpful for me to be gently challenged and hear someone say ‘What about this? Maybe there’s a different way to look at that client or another technique that would work,’” Bettina says. “If I’m using CBT and a supervisor suggests I consider a more psychoanalytical approach, it helps me grow.”
Bettina’s priority as a supervisor of pre-licensed clinicians is to create a supportive, safe environment that allows them to process. As a group practice owner, she provides individual, as well as group supervision for her staff members, both in-person and online.
“As we do with our clients, we have to give supervisees space to process and come to their own conclusions, rather than just tell them what to do,” she says.
Just as Bettina takes a holistic approach with her therapy clients, she does the same with her supervisees, checking in on their self-care.
“I ask them ‘Are you drinking enough water? Getting sleep? Getting to your doctor’s appointments? Is there time and attention in your relationships?’ Therapists tend to put themselves at the bottom of their to-do list, but it needs to be at the top,” Bettina says. “I don’t want to hear ‘Yeah, I’m okay. I’m taking care of myself.’ I want to know what you are actually doing to take care of yourself. We also make a plan on how they can care for themselves after they have a rough session.”
Bettina also gives her supervisees “bite-sized techniques” – grounding exercises, meditation techniques, deep breathing tips – to help them build up their counseling skills.
“Also, I love technology and embracing where we’re at in the world,” she says. “I use a lot of apps that I recommend to my supervisees. I like Calm for mediation and Eternal Sunshine which has motivational talks.”
Utilizing technology and meeting people where they are at is how Bettina came to find Motivo in the first place. As a resourceful clinician who had heard a statistic that people now spend up to 6 hours per day on the internet, she started researching online supervision options.
“We are all on computers, phones, social media, and the internet. So why not get therapy and supervision there as well?”
There is currently one drawback that impacts the work of all New York state mental health professionals, however. The state has not yet approved tele-supervision as a means to receive supervision hours for licensure.
“I believe that New York state is behind the rest of the country when it comes to professional supervision and technology,” Bettina, who is currently looking into expanding her license to Florida, says. “I have seen, personally, the unbelievable impact that online supervision has had on the quality of work therapists are giving. And it’s not always feasible to pay for a supervisor to be on site or for the travel time. I’m certain that if New York would approve online supervision, that agencies and private practitioners would be capable of implementing supervision in those settings and, in turn, provide quality service to clients!”
From utilizing technology to addressing self-care, Bettina’s whole-person approach to therapy and supervision doesn’t just come from her education and experience. She traces her philosophy to her grandma’s favorite saying: Every cloud has its silver lining. She helps her clients and supervisees find their strengths, accept their realities and make the most of what is before them.
We’d love to introduce you to Bettina through a free, 30-minute video call. Click here to let us know if you’re interested in connecting with her or one of our Motivo team members.
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