The effective program at our treatment center would not be nearly as successful if it weren’t for our caring and compassionate staff.
Dedication and Support Every Step of the Way
In the difficult struggle to overcome addiction, nothing is more important than giving constant reassurance, support, and encouragement to the people who come to our recovery center seeking help in their battle. There are so many obstacles to overcome, from reversing the physical damage caused by months or years of substance abuse to the process of addressing the underlying causes of the patient’s addictive behaviors, not to mention learning how to handle reemerging emotions in a positive way. There is finding the ability to reconnect with others and form healthy, functioning relationships, as well as repairing bonds that were broken by dishonesty and poor choices. In the face of so much, many people would simply give up and resign themselves to living in the despair of drug and alcohol abuse.
Aside from an effective treatment program, one of the most beneficial things that we can offer our patients is a caring and compassionate staff. As they progress through their recovery, facing one difficult obstacle after another, our team members are there for them every step of the way. We are passionate about the positive impact that we have on the lives of those we see in the halls of our rehabilitation center. The dedication that our staff shows to the success of every patient at our treatment facility is evident in the Graduation Ceremonies that we hold every week at Serenity.
Intensive, Judgement-Free Counseling
The one-on-one counseling sessions are vital to our patient’s success. These counseling sessions are where the patient can talk about the issues they might be facing, express their concerns and fears, and connect with someone on a deeper level for a while. The personal counseling sessions are one of the best sources of strength and support that our patients have in their treatment program.
Khalia is one of those counselors, and she understands how important her role is in the lives of the patients she comes into contact with. Seeing the positive effect that her work at Serenity has helps her to stay passionate and motivated. “A lot of times, when they come in, they could be broken, or feeling emotionally distraught and not knowing how to deal with things,” Khalia says. “You see them begin to adapt, to change, to understand self. As they do that, you’re in awe of the person that you saw originally coming in, now. One of the things I try to offer is a judgment-free zone. They get judged enough in the world, they don’t need it from me.” This compassion is just one of the ways that our staff members connect with our patients on a deeper level.
Counseling sessions are also very helpful in letting the patients see just how important every part of the rehabilitation program is to their successful recovery. Jane, another member of our counseling staff, uses some of the time she spends with her patients to work on finding the reasons behind their substance abuse. “The individual counseling session is very important,” she explains. “Where a lot of the work, I think, is done in treatment is through the individual counseling sessions to get down to the reasons of ‘why’.” In the more personal setting of a one-on-one counseling session, the patient is able to focus more intensively on digging deep to address those issues, and in learning what may be contributing to their addictive behaviors.
Transitioning from Chaos to a Structured Routine
This ability to relate with and understand our patients on a deeper level often comes from personal familiarity with addiction and recovery. Carmella, yet another member of our counseling staff, knows from her own experience the effects that substance abuse can have, not only on the individual but also on their loved ones. “I come from a family of alcoholics,” she shares. “I’ve seen the effect that it had, and I know that it’s draining, not only on the abuser of the drug, but on the family as well. We were struggling just as much. Here, I have the opportunity to help those who are struggling.”
Even with all of the support, encouragement, and compassion that is shown by our counselors, the transition from a chaotic lifestyle of addiction to a structured daily routine is still very difficult for some patients. In some cases, a different kind of counseling is needed. Zach is the Director of Behavioral Intervention at Serenity Recovery. For many of our patients, his role at our treatment center can often be the determining factor in the successful completion of our program. “People don’t show up here because their life was amazing and everything was fantastic,” he explains, “they show up here because they were losing everything, or they did lose everything. Behavioral Intervention is really just to keep on track to that main goal to be clean and sober and walk out of here with a certificate.” Zach’s ability to help keep people on track comes in part from his understanding of what they are feeling. “I see myself,” he says. “I was a heroin and crack addict for 8 years. I tried to run away from programs, I tried to manipulate myself and my own ideas, pretty much play mental gymnastics. You make yourself believe that you’re going to be fine, when really you’re not.”
Serenity Offers a Path to Positive Living
As the patients at Serenity Recovery work through their program, the dedication and understanding of our counseling staff becomes one of the most vital factors in the successful completion of their treatment. Their ability to connect with our patients and keep them motivated throughout the rehabilitation process is a major part of the reason why our recovery strategy is so effective in helping people to overcome their addictions. They are able to help our patients find their path to a healthier and more positive way of life, and to work towards a brighter future, free from the bonds of drugs and alcohol.
Serenity Rehab Center Staff Members
Tammy Zylstra MA.NCC.LPC.CCS
Counselors at Serenity Rehab
Tammy Zylstra MA.NCC.LPC.CCS
Masters in Clinical Counseling, Nationally Certified Counselor,
Licensed Practicing Counselor
Clinical Director/Senior Director of Productions
Tammy Zystra has a Masters in Clinical Counseling and she is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Michigan. Tammy has 10 years of experience in multiple modalities of therapy with a diverse population. She has worked with families, children, and adolescence. Tammy has experience in crisis intervention, co-occurring disorders, substance abuse, addictions, post-traumatic stress, and behavioral intervention. She been trained in multiple training and educational techniques, such as Moral Recognition Therapy, SMART Recovery, AA/NA, and behavioral modification.
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” –Alice Walker
Cammie Becker MS, LLPC
Limited Licensed Practicing Counselor
Cammy Becker has a Masters of Science in Mental Health Counseling and she is licensed with the state of Michigan. Her populations of interest include working with adults who are seeking recovery from mental illness coupled with substance addiction. Cammy has 5+ years working with adults in a residential setting, focusing on behavioral management and interpersonal effectiveness. Her aspiration as a professional counselor is to empower individuals to live their life to their optimal potential.
Sarah Russell, LLMSW
Limited License Masters Social Worker
Sarah Russell has a Masters of Social Work degree from Grand Valley State University, as well as a Masters of Public Administration. Her populations of interest include adults of any age suffering from the consequences of addiction and those who are seeking active recovery. Sarah has 5+ years of experience working with individuals, families, and groups in the greater West Michigan area in the fields of both mental health and substance abuse. She is passionate in incorporating a holistic approach while utilizing classic clinical methods.
Rebecca Fauble, LLMSW
Limited Licensed Master of Social Worker Counselor
Case Management at Serenity
Holly Schafer, BAA
Lead Case Management
Bachelors of Science Children and Adolescent
“I attended Central Michigan University where I obtained my Bachelors of Applied Arts degree. I have worked in various areas of Human Services including youth and adolescents with emotional and behavioral impairments. I enjoy working with people as they strive to better their lives and achieve their goals.”
Bachelors in Science and Addiction Studies
“I began my career in the substance abuse field in 1993 in Detroit, MI. Since that time, I have learned much about the challenges our clients face and how devastating addiction can be. In spite of that, I believe in what I do and have hope for each client I meet.”
Bachelors in Criminal Justice with emphasis in addiction studies
Britini Steele obtained her BS in Criminal Justice/Addiction Studies from Ferris State University, where she worked with juveniles in the system and their families for her internship. She worked three+ years managing cases of adults with developmental and behavioral disabilities in a school setting as well as in an adult foster care setting, where she specialized in treatment plans and goal setting for her clients.
Bachelors of Psychology
Ashley Loader attended Lake Superior State University where she obtained her Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a minor in counseling. She has worked as a substance abuse clinician for two years and has been in the field for three years. Ashley is currently working to obtain her CADC because she has a passion for helping people conquer their addiction.
Bachelors in Social Work, Master in Public Administration
Rodger Harris has a Bachelors of Social Work and a Masters of Public Administration degree. Mr. Harris has twenty years of experience in case management, working with the developmentally disabled and adults with dual diagnosis. When he’s not dedicating his life to helping others he spends his free time riding motorcycles around the country. Rodger has enjoyed this for several years.
Mr. Radue attended Grand Valley State University, where he obtained his Bachelors of Science and a Masters in Public Administration with a focus on nonprofit leadership. Ben has experience working in mental health as Community Living Support staff in Kent County. He has a strong background in community assistance, volunteering at a neighborhood association and a homeless shelter.