Staff Spotlight: Making a Difference through Trauma-Informed Care

Staff Spotlight: Making a Difference through Trauma-Informed Care

At CODAC, we’re fortunate to have a team of compassionate individuals dedicated to supporting survivors during difficult times.
Summer B., MAC, LPC, BHP has been a member of our team for two years. Her background and expertise in trauma therapy, combined with her passion for helping survivors, have made her invaluable to the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault (a division of CODAC).

Background and Journey:
Summer’s journey into her current role as a therapist is rooted in a decades-long history of helping others.

From a young age, she stood out as a great listener, often being the go-to for friends seeking support. She honed her skills as a youth peer mediator and even participated in elementary school puppet shows to address big feelings for young children like anger, fear and sadness. This was the start of Summer’s early passion for empathy and support for others.

“For the first 14 years of my life, I was the only child around many adults in my family. I was always a person that other children would come to share their problems with,” said Summer.
Summer’s compassion and empathy led her to pursue a bachelor’s in psychology with a focus on chemical dependency counseling. She then continued her education with a master’s in counseling. Summer’s path eventually led her to CODAC, where she found her true calling – trauma-informed therapy.

“I quickly learned that there is a huge link between trauma and substance use. Understanding the unique complexities and experiences as a survivor of trauma leads to our creative approaches to healing,” she shared.

A Glimpse into Summer’s Day to Day:
A typical day in Summer’s role involves providing individual, couples and family therapy, as well as facilitating group therapy sessions. She conducts between six to eight sessions daily and focuses on trauma-informed care. Her group therapy sessions address the intersection between trauma and substance use, offering support for those struggling with harmful coping habits after experiencing a traumatic event, such as sexual violence.
Summer also dedicates time to working with adolescents through programs like “From Pieces to Peace” to ensure that teens receive the trauma-informed care they need.

Contributing to Positive Change:
One of Summer’s most meaningful experiences involved work with a survivor who had previously struggled to make progress. Watching this woman transform into a healthy, inspired advocate for others motivates Summer because she sees the positive impact that therapy can have on those who once felt helpless and hopeless.

”The work that we do in this field is very rewarding. We get to see these wonderful transformations where people are thriving in a way that they may not have been able to before,” she said.
Summer recognizes how unique her role is within the community. Her dedication is driven by a desire to increase awareness, advocacy and healing.

She has come to understand that every behavior has a reason, which helps her provide effective support.

“Working in this field has helped me to understand the humanity of people. I feel great to be part of that.”

Addressing Misconceptions:
Summer is passionate about addressing misconceptions surrounding her field. She emphasizes the need to shift away from victim-blaming and, instead, focus on empowering survivors. Understanding the true nature of sexual assault as an issue of power and control is vital.

“Sexual assault is about an opportunity to exploit vulnerability and gain power. It is not about lust.”

Finding the right balance at work:
Professionally, Summer aims to continue her work, benefiting from the supportive environment within SACASA. She values the emphasis placed on self-care and personal development and believes that mentorship and teamwork are essential for success in this challenging field.

“The reason why I stay here is because I have never felt so supported and validated in my career,” said Summer.

“The culture is very supportive and is all about career and personal development. The theme of humanity: We are all human beings doing incredible (and difficult) work.”

Advice for Aspiring Therapists:
Summer advises future therapists to undergo their own therapy to better understand the client’s perspective. She also shares about the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance to avoid burnout.

Life Outside of Work:
Outside of work, Summer enjoys spending quality time with her husband and children, exploring parks, and disconnecting. This balance contributes to her well-being and allows her to recharge.
Summer’s work is not just a career but a heartfelt mission to help survivors heal and thrive.


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