Somebody (or Something) to Lean On

Photo By
Hannah Ziegeler

If you have never visited the offices of Child & Family Psychological Services (CFPS) before, you may be surprised by the animals you meet there.

CHILD & FAMILY PSYCHOLOGICAL SERVICES; KALAMAZOO, MI | Patients are sometimes encouraged to bring emotional support animals with them for their visit, and for those who don’t have a pet, Grady, a gentle African grey parrot, is there to take them under his wing. Over the years, the staff has seen everything from cats and dogs to a baby reindeer!

While the practice’s therapists and support animals are there to help patients through difficult times, CFPS is dedicated to supporting its team no matter what. That includes understanding that family should always come first. “Here, your family is most important, and your work supports your life,” explains Practice Manager Nikki McGruder. “Since I started here, my kids grew up, and I didn’t miss an event. It was very important for me to have that support and not feel bad about it at all.” CFPS allows its team to be flexible with their schedules and has a “no questions asked” policy when it comes to family.

CFPS staff also do everything they can to care for each other in the workplace, especially when working on a challenging case. “It feels very comfortable and natural to lean on others here. It’s great to know we can talk with any therapist who may be available to decompress and not feel shameful or judged,” says McGruder. The team also shares appreciation on “Thankful Thursdays,” recognizing how others have made a difference in their week. CFPS’ goal is to create an integrated work community where its people can feel connected. “When we feel connected, we feel better about ourselves and our impact,” says CFPS founder Dr. Larry Beer. “If we all have good feelings about ourselves and support for each other, we are better equipped to help people who come to us.”

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