By Christo­pher Oak Reinier

Just a brief chat with Christy Davi­la and you will know West Coun­ty Com­mu­ni­ty Ser­vices has found a bright, warm and clear light to show the way fur­ther in its Coun­sel­ing Divi­sion.  She has tak­en the lead this month as WCCS Direc­tor of Coun­sel­ing and Behav­ioral Health. Christy will over­see and sup­port School Coun­sel­ing, Project Suc­cess+, Senior Peer Coun­sel­ing, Cri­sis sup­port, and the Empow­er­ment Cen­ter.

Hav­ing earned a B.A. at Chico State, she has been com­plet­ing work on her MFT license, while work­ing the last five years at WCCS with seniors and youth.  With Mel­lis­sa Ficke’s Old­er Adult Col­lab­o­ra­tion (OAC), Christy has been help­ing Seniors who have had emo­tion­al dif­fi­cul­ties with aging.  In this pro­gram, she has met with senior clients in their homes for 10 weeks at a time, usu­al­ly see­ing about 6 clients at a time.

Christy has also been a WCCS coun­selor at Brookhaven Mid­dle School in Sebastopol. For the past year she has been see­ing about a dozen indi­vid­u­als each semes­ter, the kids who have trou­ble sit­ting still, can’t focus on class work, act out their frus­tra­tions, the prob­lem kids.

She has also revi­tal­ized the WCCS Youth Diver­sion Pro­gram.  Youth who have received a cita­tion in Juve­nile courts can take part with their par­ents in a six week pro­gram as an alter­na­tive to puni­tive sen­tenc­ing and hav­ing a “record”.  Christy arranges evening class­es, six fam­i­lies at a time, for two hours each week, one for the par­ents, one for the youth, and final­ly one with par­ent and child togeth­er.

The pur­pose of the class­es, often suc­cess­ful­ly achieved, is to give the youth and par­ents the aware­ness and tools for work­ing togeth­er in deal­ing with their prob­lems. Dur­ing their par­tic­i­pa­tion in the class­es, Christy assigns and super­vis­es com­mu­ni­ty work for the youth, the com­ple­tion of which clears their vio­la­tions.

Due to tech­nol­o­gy, the cell phone, the com­put­er, there is so much iso­la­tion.  If you can get youth away from try­ing to win at a com­put­er game alone in their room, they often seem lost regard­ing any oth­er pur­pose, and they can miss devel­op­ing the skills in how to inter­act with each oth­er and the com­mu­ni­ty around them.  With most par­ents work­ing most of the time, lone­li­ness and its anx­i­eties abound.

As Christy puts it, “Young peo­ple, all peo­ple, strug­gling with men­tal ill­ness issues such as depres­sion and anx­i­ety, are just dog-pad­dling to stay afloat, and need help to see where the shore is.”

As a young woman, Christy went search­ing for some­thing whole and healthy to do with her life.  WCCS is for­tu­nate she feels she has found it here.