Breaking the Glass Ceiling in Behavioral Health

Breaking the Glass Ceiling in Behavioral Health

By: Louise Stanger Ed.D, LCSW, CDWF, CIP and Heather Hayes, M.Ed, LPC, CIP, CAI

When Harvard Review published Rosenberg Kantor’s 1996 seminal piece on women, “Breaking the Glass Ceiling,” I was pursuing my doctoral degree in Women and Leadership at the University of Hong Kong. Life was a kaleidoscope of oxymorons as I contemplated how to break the glass ceiling in the Behavioral Health business. As I worked to forge inroads for women into the profession, local newspapers in Hong Kong were regularly posting employment ads that indicated that they only wanted to hire women under 23. Meanwhile, in the U.S., Hillary Clinton was advocating that “it takes a village,” Virginia Slims and Budweiser were marketing to women of all ages, and Helen Reddy’s “I am Woman” was the anthem for young women. However, in both locations, the business and academic communities scoffed equally at women who aspired to occupy leadership positions.

The idea behind the expression breaking the glass ceiling was that a transparent barrier, a glass ceiling, blocked women from climbing their way to the top. Though invisible from the bottom, when women started their careers, this impermeable ceiling prevented them from attaining equality with men in leadership positions. It helped explain the fact that in large corporations in Europe and North America, women rarely became CEOs, and their pay was considerably lower.

During this same time period, my co-author and colleague Heather Hayes was operating her own full-service psychotherapy private practice. Heather graduated with her Master’s degree in 1986 and moved back to Atlanta from Boston shortly after. She had published in the areas of Adolescent Addiction and Recovery as well as in the area of Trauma and Family Violence. She was a competitive horse jumper in her down time and was thriving as a young professional who was also in recovery.

Little did we think our paths would cross, as we were separated not only by geography but also by our different career trajectories. I was contemplating university tenure, and Heather was expanding into more intervention-based work and would soon be trained as an Internationally Certified Hostage Negotiator.

Yet, here we are, together at this warm October Atlanta dinner, Heather nearing completion of her documentary on opioid abuse and I just having finished speaking at a conference. Based on the exclusion of women in power positions in the field, it seems nothing short of miraculous that we are able to be here in this capacity as leaders in the field. We are united in our mission to contribute to all aspects of the behavioral health care field and to help other women achieve positions of power and expertise in this indispensable profession as they help others combat addiction and other mental health issues.

We also recognize our great indebtedness to other pioneers in the field, without whom some of the most significant strides in the profession would not have been possible.

Educators: Claudia Black, Stephanie Covington, Alexandra Katehakis , and Pia Melody–Wickenburg, AZ, Rockelle Lerner–Minneapolis, MN, Sharon Wiegsheiter-Cruse–Las Vegas, NV, Melody Beattie – Malibu, California, Brene Brown–Houston, Texas and St Paul, Minnesota, Marsha Linneham–DBT- Insoo Kim Berg-Solution Focused Therapy,  Monica McGoldrick, Family Systems, Francine Shapiro EMDR, Sue Johnson Emotionally Focused Therapy

Treatment Owners: Peggy Albrecht – founded oldest sober living home in LA –Friendly House, Judy Crane- Guest House Ocala, Florida, Dana Kilinger Taylor- Magnolia Landing, North Carolina, Dr. Shari Corbett– Awakenings, Dr. Priya Chaudri– Elevations, Denise Klein- Milestones Ranch Malibu, California, Marsha Stone– BRC Austin, Texas, Katie Gregory Solara in San Diego, CA, Alexandra Kakathetis –Center For Healthy Sex, Diahann Jennifer Klein – La Ventana, Viki Faust –Driftwood Recovery, Velvet Mangan– Safe Harbor, Costa Mesa, California, Candice Bruce–Rebecca’s House, Gina Fabrid Tabzy– Harmony Heal, Elena Kapustina–Iris Healing Retreat, Felicia Kleinfelter– Imagine Outpatient, Rianna Scipico-Imagine Recovery, and Lois Jordan–Solutions Outpatient Services

CEOs: Jennifer Angier– Talbott Recovery Center, Atlanta, Georgia, Kathleen Bigsby– The Canyon, Malibu, California, Paige Bottom Nashville, Tennessee, Gale Saler–NorthStar Academy Rockville, Maryland, Denise Bertin-Epp–former CEO of Crossroads Antigua, Karen Odell–Barber Neurologics, Mary Ann Spatola–New Found Life, Rebecca Flood–Ashley Treatment Center, Brenda Valiente–Miriams House LA, and Monica Phillips–Friendly House LA.

Business Development Eloise Jean Black–Northbound, Christi Cessna–Constellation Behavioral Heath, Candice Campbell–Foundations Recovery Network, Coleen Capistrano–Ocean Recovery, Thelma Mcmillian–Robbin Mooney Crossroads, Antigua, Ruth Ann Rigby–Capstone, Kate Eyer–Creative Care, Rosemary Lacey–Driftwood Recovery, Dia Parsons—Avalon, Malibu, Heather Hertig–Balboa Horizons, Julie Desenberg Eisen–Right Step, Kristin Hayes–EVOKE, Lindsey Forschner–The Refuge, Kelli Grant–CARON Foundation, Janis Ellington–Summit Behavioral Health, Tracy Ashworth–Lifeskills, Laura Rod Kunz–Futures, Nancy Merrill—Mclean, Caitlin Stowell–BRC, Jenna Pastore–Next Chapter, Cheryl Cambry–The Meadows, Kate Black–The Retreat, Deb Keltz –Caron, Sarah Coones-Caron, Esther Montez-Hemet Valley and Sage Recovery

Interventionists: Judith Landau–ARISE Model, Debra Jay–”Love First” model, Jean Campbell–Action Oriented Interventions, Lori Lenard–President NII, Pat Breshaers, President AIS, Joyce Sundin—Seattle and Joanne Towle–Kentucky, NII Founders

Media: Lee Weber–Addiction blog, Deidre Boyd–DB Resources, Patricia Rosen–A Sober World, Christine Stapleton–Palm Beach Post, Lee Weber, editor–Recovery Campus, Leah Honarbakhsh, Managing Editor–Counselor Magazine, Jeannie Rabb-Marshall Keyes–Recovery Newspaper, Laurie Dhue–Georgia.

Conference Organizers: Dee McGraw–WCSAD, CORE, and AXIS, Nanette Zumwalt and Josie Hendron Ramirez–Admissions and Marketing, and Sam Quinlan–ICAAD London UK and International.

Advocacy: Lissa Franklin–Delray Beach Florida, Tara Mosley–Louisville, Kentucky, Chelsea Laliberte–Chicago, Illinois, Collen Sheeley– Post-National President MADD, Emily Cook—Walden, Kentucky, Tara Conner–advocate for Recovery, former Miss America, Veronica Eckhardt–Sacramento California, Missy Owen–The ZONE Marietta, Georgia, Maureen Kielian–Ft Lauderdale, Florida, Fair Brocard–Marietta, Georgia, Collen Sheeley–Post-National President MADD, Caroline Rideout Stewart–President of A New Path, San Diego, Jennifer Bryant-–Hodge- Realtors 4 Rehab, and Kirsten Banks and Allison Bashum–Parent Recovery Network.

AdmissionsBilling and Accreditation– Aston Abernathy–Avco Billing, Laurie Reed–Accreditation, Leslie Clarke–Admissions Constellation Behavioral Health, and Savannah Gange–Admissions Milestones Ranch.

Justice and Politics: Judge Kathy Schrader (Drug Court Judge for Gwinnett County Georgia and champion of rights for those with addictions), Senator Renee Unterman–Georgia, Detective Nicole Lucas–Detective of Delray Beach Police Department Florida, Special Agent Susan Langston–DEA, Commissioner Cindy Mills–Forsyth County Georgia, Commissioner Melissa McKinlay–Florida, and Barbara Boxer–California

Heather and I are at different stages of our careers. Mine has an end in sight, while hers continues to grow. Both of us are committed to leaving a legacy and a teaching history which imparts our collective wisdom to those who follow us and assume leadership positions. We hope that women will soar and create behavioral health care systems that are novel, evidence-based, compassionate, collaborative, and ethical and continue to crush the glass ceiling.

We realize that we have undoubtedly omitted many women who are making a difference in the behavioral health care field. For now, we tried to include only those who have published and/or organized or who have large teams of collaborators. We know there are many more and we have only scratched the surface. We welcome you to submit names and places so this list may grow and others may be acknowledged and recognized. We also want to thank all the women who have said “Yes I can” when told they can’t, fought back when pushed down, educated themselves or used their life experiences, spoken out when silenced, fought for their children and loved ones, turned their losses into purpose and mission, and who have broken the glass ceiling.

About Louise Stanger Ed.D, LCSW, CDWF, CIP

Louise Stanger is the founder of All About Interventions. Dr. Louise has occupied a leadership position in the addiction and behavioral health field, where she has dedicated her life to designing original multidisciplinary curriculum for professionals and for working with complex family systems. Dr. Louise has a passion for recovery and for creating positive outcomes in lives impacted by mental health, substance abuse, process disorders and chronic pain.  

About Heather R. Hayes, M.Ed., LPC, CAI, CIP

Heather Hayes is the Founder and CEO of Heather R. Hayes & Associates, Inc. Heather specializes in the treatment of adolescents/young adults, trauma, brain disorders, complex mental health issues and the full spectrum of addictive disorders. 

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