Former Intern & Post Graduate Trainee
Judi’s House: Tell us what brought you to Judi’s House initially and how did you learn about Judi’s House?
Dr. Joy Arthur-Windsor: When I was working on my doctor of psychology degree (PsyD) at the University of Colorado Denver, grief and trauma work was one of my primary areas of focus and study. During the third year of our program, all PysD candidates participate in a clinical externship. My supervisors at the University pointed me towards Judi’s House for my externship experience. My spouse’s mother had just died in an accident, and my passion was reignited for work focusing on grief counseling. At Judi’s House I found the type of support that I wished had been available to me and my family during our time of loss.
I worked with Judi’s House for about two years during my program. I started with a small caseload of two to three clients at a given time and facilitated two grief groups. My work with Judi’s House included everything from play therapy for very young clients, to grief support for adults in the program. As I moved into a post-grad training position, I began managing a larger caseload, treatment planning, and providing training support for interns.
Once I graduated with my doctor of psychology, I accepted a job with Denver Public Schools (DPS) where I work with a group of licensed clinical social workers and school psychologists in the district’s pilot school-based therapy program. I have been able to use so much of the training I received at Judi’s House in my current work. I use the therapeutic approach of the Pathfinder’s Program, a cornerstone of the Judi’s House approach to grief therapy, for students grades K-8 who need grief or trauma support. My training from Judi’s House has really made an impact in how I approach this work with students in the DPS program. Further, I have been able to pass along the clinical approaches to grief and trauma work that I learned at Judi’s House to other special service providers in the DPS network through professional development and consultation.
What do you think makes Judi’s House so unique?
Judi’s House is unique in the level of care and intention that each staff person brings to work every day. It takes a very special person to be able to commit 40 hours a week to grief work and to supporting people through what are some of the most difficult times in their lives. As a team, the staff at Judi’s House acknowledge that grief support is going to be very hard work, but there is also an incredible need for this work. The culture of support between each team member is amazing and so important to help each individual manage the stress of the job.
Additionally, Judi’s House works hard to create opportunities for community involvement with their programs which provides opportunity for many people to help support the work of the organization.
You really can’t go anywhere in our industry without having heard of Judi’s House. I wouldn’t be the person or clinician I am today without having worked at Judi’s House. Judi’s House does amazing work in our communities and I know this sentiment is shared by many.
What impact do you see with the families served by Judi’s House?
When families first come to Judi’s House, they are at a point where they are not sure they can function. As they go through the program, you see families learn to breathe again. You see families lighten, and begin to carry a little less of a burden. When families complete the program, they leave feeling empowered and like there is a community out there who can understand and support them through their feelings of loss. Judi’s House creates a space where clients can do really hard work and get to a place where they can move forward on their own.
What is your hope for the future of Judi’s House?
I hope to see Judi’s House continue to expand and broaden their ability to serve people. The new Judi’s House site is an amazing first step in this process. The work that Judi’s House and JAG Institute do is so important, I would love to see their research and work continue to expand its reach to support people who may not have an organization like Judi’s House in their state, or who don’t live in the Denver Metro area.