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.