Who We Are
If you were to start from scratch and try to design the best behavioral health agency you could think of, what would it look like? This is the question Marcia Pinter, Clay Penrod and Tim Penrod found themselves pondering in early 2003. It is not an easy question, and there are no perfect answers. However, if we were going to start an agency, there were several things we knew could not happen:
- You would not be treated as if you know less or were less of a person than the staff members working at the agency
- You would not feel as if you were being put through a mill churning out the same type of services given to everyone else at the agency, rather than the support you receive matching the unique needs and configuration of your family
- You would not be subject to the schedule of the professionals who serve you. Instead, they would work for you and work with your schedule.
If those were the ways the ideal agency would NOT conduct itself, what WOULD such an agency look like? We still haven’t completely found the answers, and we hope you will help us continue to figure them out, but here are some of the concepts we started with and have built upon over the years. If there are other services or principles you believe would be important for a behavioral health agency to offer or embody, please share your ideas in the discussion board area.
A great behavioral health support services provider agency would:
- Treat everyone as treasured, welcome guests, and equal partners in figuring out what we might do to help to you and your your family
- Stop doing what has been tried unsuccessfully (and often repeatedly) in the past. Instead, we would find new, creative approaches to solve the challenges you face
- Get involved and actively do something to help, instead of just sitting around and talking about it
- Offer services when and where you want and need them instead of just during traditional office hours. Need support on a weekend, evening or holiday? It should be available. Need help in your home or at your child’s school or a young adult’s workplace? That is where services should be offered.
- Listen more and give less advice
- Find a way to help kids live at home safely and successfully instead of in treatment centers and institutions
Something You Might Not Guess About Some Behavioral Health and Counseling Services
How would you like to be blamed by a company when their product or service does not work? In many industries, that would seem absurd. How could it be the customer’s fault if a product does not work as it should? But in human services and counseling, this is often exactly what happens. Instead of blaming ourselves for doing a poor job helping you, behavioral health providers sometimes try to blame the individuals and families they serve for being “resistant to treatment,” not trying hard enough, not being consistent or having other character defects. Many people would be horrified to learn that shortly after leaving the counselor’s office, although he seemed very caring during the session, that same counselor may now be complaining about or even making fun of you with a co-worker. This should never be the case in any type of service, especially not social and human services like counseling, behavior support services, or mentoring.
We Wanted Change
We established CFSS in 2003 with the hope of providing a positively unique experience for those seeking help with emotional, behavioral or relationship struggles. We wanted to do away with the negative aspects of being a behavioral health provider and make the experience a positive, helpful and dignified one for everyone we support. We are still working on it, and we hope you will get involved and share your wisdom and ideas so we can keep learning and improving.