Compassionate, knowledgeable and dedicated are a few of the words that describe the Travco Behavioral Health team. In this interview, get to know Travco counselor Emily Smerchansky!
Tell us about your background/experience.
In 2017, I graduated from Youngstown State University with a Master of Science in Education degree in Counseling. I was fortunate enough to intern at Travco Behavioral Health beginning in 2016 where I focused on providing mental health treatment at Safehouse for adolescents with severe mental and emotional trauma. I knew that my skills and experience (as someone who has personally encountered trauma) would be beneficial to help others overcome the effects of trauma. Since obtaining my graduate degree, I have earned my Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor licensure and I’m working toward obtaining a supervisory credential. Also, I’m currently in training to provide Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, which is an evidence-based treatment for trauma.
You can learn more about EMDR at Travco in the following video:
What do you enjoy most about your job?
One of the things I enjoy most is when I can help a client who might come to therapy with minimal coping skills, poor impulse control and/or unhealthy patterns of behaviors. With the help of therapy—a safe place—and several healthy relationships surrounding the child, he or she can blossom into a stable individual and potentially reunify with family or be stepped down to a lower level of care. The amount of change that can occur in a short period of time is remarkable. Each day I see the immense amount of resilience that clients possess and I am excited for them to be able to benefit from this for years in the future.
What experiences inspired you to work in the mental health field?
Growing up, I had a childhood best friend whose parents were both in the mental health field. I remember hearing some of the generic client success stories and becoming more and more interested as my college courses progressed. I believe I could have really benefitted from working with a therapist when I was a teenager, which I feel is the reason I am so drawn to provide therapy to the adolescent population. I’ve also always been interested in hearing people’s life stories and what experiences led them to the present moment. I feel that I am lucky to be able to help ease the pain of trauma for my clients and help them to focus on creating a better future.
What is your advice for someone who might be hesitant about seeking mental health treatment?
My advice would be to go out of your comfort zone and give it a try. Therapy can enable clients to identify the strength they have within themselves. We all have different levels of trauma and unhealthy thinking patterns that could be improved with the help of a professional if we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Attending therapy is one of the most powerful decisions a person can make! As a therapist, I am someone who also attends therapy, which is proof that we cannot all heal ourselves without a little bit of help.
What is your favorite movie, book or TV show about mental health?
My favorite movie about mental health is Inside Out. It is such an easy way to understand how our emotions, memories and experiences shape our worlds. This movie is beneficial to people of every age!
I also love to read memoirs about people who have dealt with mental illness. It provides a real-life example of the struggles and successes a person can have throughout life. I am currently reading How to Do the Work by Dr. Nicole LePera, which is about how to help clients feel “unstuck.” Next, I plan to read What Happened to You? by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey, which is about trauma, resilience and healing.