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Team Member Spotlight: Angela Haas, LMSW, Social Worker, Midland Neuro Skills Center

March is Social Worker Appreciation Month and a great time to recognize Special Tree's social workers for all they do to improve the lives and well-being of our clients and their families.  Our Social workers provide a wide range of important supports and services throughout the entire rehabilitation process including case management; individual, family, and group counseling; community support; discharge planning, and more.  We appreciate all their hard work, dedication, compassion, and kindness in helping our clients through recovery.  

Get to know one member of this fabulous team! Angela Haas provides social work services at Special Tree’s Midland Neuro Skills Center. We caught up with Angela to learn more about who she is and the meaning she finds in her work. 

Q: What makes you unique; not just as a social worker but as a person?
Angela: I know life can get crazy hard, and we never know what’s around the corner these days. Be the good you wish to see in the world.  I try to not get jaded by negativity I am far from perfect, but I try to stay positive and uplifting at work and at home. My faith and my family are very important to me, and that guides my conscience. I think of those values and want to feel proud of how I live my life each day, whether it’s in decisions I make with my clients and coworkers, or in my personal life as well.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you? What do you do as a social worker?
: Right now, I mainly see clients for individual therapy. I also visit residential clients, as well as manage clients’ Behavior Rehabilitation Plans. Social work encompasses so many things, so I’m always ready for what may come each day. I may work with a client with TBI-related aggression an adolescent struggling with depression, a client experiencing PTSD symptoms or a client who is learning coping skills to manage their anxiety to drive again. 

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
Social work can be a difficult job and a rewarding one. In my role, I’m often leading discussions on difficult topics with clients and families.  At the same time, it’s rewarding when clients make progress. When I see a client smile when they haven’t in a while; when I hear them say “thank you” when they were able to effectively problem solve something in their life on their own; when strategies we’ve worked on help their sleep to improve; when they can get in their car with less anxiety, or when their relationships are improving. Those things make every day worth it.

Q: What message would you like to give to other social workers in honor of Social Work Month?
Kudos to everyone! If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Regardless of what field you’re in, no matter what the task, follow though. And take care of yourself always. Self-care should also be at the top of your list. If you want to be of benefit to everyone else, you need to be healthy yourself on the inside and out!

Q: What do you like about working at Special Tree?
: I love the team approach at Special Tree. My team in Midland and Saginaw work together to create clients’ rehabilitation plans and to problem-solve when a different therapy approach is needed.  And the work that our clients do in PT/OT/SLP really carries over into Social Work. So, it’s so important to work as a team.  I also have a very compassionate Psych/SW Manager and Team, who encourage and support me in ideas I have in therapy and are available if I need consultation. I’m there for them when they need me and they’re here for me.

Q: Why is Brain Injury Awareness Month important?
: I think that having a month devoted to brain injury awareness really empowers the clients that we work with. It can encourage them to reach out to others to share their story. Spreading education and awareness can help others provide hope after their injury and even decrease the stigma that comes with this diagnosis. Prior to joining Special Tree, I admit that my awareness was very low about brain injury. It’s vital to spread the word and educate people more about prevention and treatment.

by Joseph Forbush, Public Relations Intern, Special Tree