In this series we look at a day in the lives of Talkspace therapists. Their stories illustrate the joys and challenges of dedicating one’s life to helping others improve their mental health, and cope with mental illness. Today’s featured Talkspace therapist is Melissa Moreno.
Morning comes so quickly! I am usually pretty motivated in the beginning of the week, but by Friday I may be hitting the snooze button and rolling out of bed by 6:00 a.m. Nonetheless, I wake up most days without an alarm clock.
Sometimes, before even getting out of the bed, I start my morning with a few minutes of mindfulness, gratitude, and breathing exercises. I then go on Talkspace to begin answering my clients. From there, I go on Slack to post on the assigned channel and fulfill my duties as a Crisis Intervention Expert.
Time to start the mom routine. These next 45 minutes seems like the busiest of my day. It’s a lot to juggle so many tasks in a short amount of time, all while trying to help my son get a good start to his day. I wake my son up for school and make breakfast. During this time I attend to my own self-care needs and get ready to leave for work, always making sure to feed the dog, fish, and turtle before I leave. Some days get harder, so on Thursday or Friday we sometimes pick up breakfast on the way to school.
I order my On-The-Go Dunkin Donuts coffee. My morning coffee is part of my self-care plan and a daily treat. Then I head out the door to drop my son off to school and go to work.
9 a.m.–5 p.m.
I work full time (Monday – Friday) as a Facility Director at a non-secure program for adolescent boys. Sanctuary is the treatment model for the program’s milieu, with an individual therapeutic treatment model focus of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT]). Typically used for treating women with borderline personality disorder, the approach can also be effective for trauma and a range of related issues.
My day consists of providing clinical supervision, overseeing program compliance, crisis intervention, and behavior/ program modification. I spend a lot of time attending trainings about Sanctuary and DBT. When I started, I was not familiar with DBT but have since learned so much and have seen first-hand the benefits to these interventions with adolescents and young adults suffering from significant trauma, PTSD, substance abuse, and personality disorders. I have been able to apply these treatment interventions first hand and also learn how to provide clinical supervision through the lenses of Sanctuary (parallel process, vicarious trauma, safety plans) and DBT (behavior analysis, crisis intervention).
I love working with adolescents and find them naturally so hopeful. Despite facing many struggles in life, they still have so much ahead of them and the opportunity to improve. Prior to working with adolescents, I worked in corrections as a forensic social worker, so I have a lot of experience with conduct disorder and antisocial personality disorder clients.
Sometimes I find it easier to sneak in some me time during my 9-5 schedule, so I usually leave work early twice a month on Friday afternoons for a game of golf, time with friends, or a nail or hair appointment. It’s also a nice time for a break before I get into my evening routine.
I check in on Talkspace and messaging clients. Then I post on my assigned Slack channel or answer Talkspace therapists.
Time to work out! I go to the gym 2-3 days a week, sometimes working with my personal trainer. This activity is great stress relief and a time to plan out any things for the evening that I need to get done. Organization is key to my life! With so many responsibilities to juggle, I find it important to stay organized.
Mom routine – round two! Evenings mean time for: dinner, sports practice, homework, making lunch for the following day, packing bags for the mornings, and feeding my dog (who thinks she should eat whenever anyone is in the kitchen). I usually have my second wind by this point. Because there is so much to get done, I keep myself pretty focused on all I have to complete.
I try to do at least one household task a day (clean the bathroom, vacuum, do laundry, change the sheets). This way I can keep up on the household tasks and leave bigger projects for the weekend. I find that a little bit everyday helps me manage things, and I don’t feel as overwhelmed.
I check in on Talkspace messaging clients or live video sessions. As usual, I go on Slack and post to my assigned channel or answer Talkspace therapists. I spend about 15-20 minutes during this time to catch up on paperwork for my private practice clients. This is always done in the comfort of my PJ’s, which is one things I love about Talkspace.
Me time! This is the time I catch up on my favorite TV shows, read, have a glass of wine, or some nights simply fall asleep. I am lucky to say that I have no problem sleeping. When my head hits the pillow, I am out. Sleep is also key to helping me maintain my tasks during the day and allows me to wake up refreshed, ready to do it all again.
My life is definitely busy and I love it. It amazes me how much I can really accomplish, and how I can help improve many people’s quality of life by being personally focused, organized, and taking care of myself. I work well in fast-paced, crisis environments and use those same skills to manage a multitude of personal and professional projects, finding motivation and drive by doing more.