Counselor of the Year Award Goes to Juliet Russell

Firelands Regional Health System is proud to share the news that Juliet Russell, a clinical therapist with Firelands Counseling and Recovery, has been awarded the 2019/2020 North West Ohio Counseling Association (NWOCA) Counselor of the Year.  Juliet has been practicing as a licensed professional counselor (LPC) since 2013.  Furthermore, in 2017, she broadened her scope of practice, and became a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC).  The key word being “clinical,” which allows her to assess, diagnose, and treat mental illness.  In seven short years, Juliet has quickly risen to the top of her profession, and has been recognized and honored by her colleagues who nominated her for the prestige’s award.   

Nominees are submitted to NWOCA by colleagues and peers in the counseling profession.  In Juliet's case she was nominated by Dr. Marlise Lonn and Dr. Robin DuFrense, both staff members of Bowling Green State University.In their letter of recommendation on Juliet's behalf, it is noted, “Beyond possessing effective clinical skills, she [Juliet] is passionate and compassionate.  She is an advocate for social justice and has provided guest lectures at BGSU on cultural competence, implicit bias, and ethics in counseling.”

Juliet has served in a variety of professional mental health roles, including clinical and manager positions within several agencies.  In 2018, Juliet joined the Firelands Counseling and Recovery team, and works out of the Bellevue office as an independent licensed clinician.  She has also worked for Firelands Counseling and Recovery in the Berlin Milan School District.  In her current position she provides individual and group counseling services to individuals diagnosed with severe and persistent mental illness.Karen Russell, a Site Director for Firelands Counseling and Recovery Services, stated, “Juliet has fought some significant health challenges in the past 18 months.  Nevertheless, one of her main concerns has been to make sure the needs of her patients are met, no matter what she is facing.” 

What is it like to receive the counselor of the year award?

To better know Juliet, we went right to the source.  One can quickly appreciate why Juliet is the winner of the esteemed award when you read her compassionate and fervent responses to questions posed to her.Following are some excerpts from Juliet's answers to questions which were asked of her.

What were your initial reactions when you learned you were the recipient of the Counselor of the Year award? 

  • I was shocked to learn I was even nominated for this award.  I value the input of my colleagues, and was very honored to learn they even considered me for the award of Counselor of the Year. 

Why do you think you were chosen as counselor of the year? 

  • Over the last couple of years I have had a difficult medical journey.  I was diagnosed with cancer, and chose to work while I was receiving treatment.This has been one of the hardest things I have ever done.  Thankfully, I was surrounded by caring co-workers who helped me make it through this difficult time.  I have worked very hard to protect my clients, and to help them adjust to my new normal; which included dropping down my hours.  Ultimately, I was brought to the attention of the NWOCA through the help of my colleagues, combined with my interest in helping others. 

What is your approach to caring for your clients/patients? 

  • Initially, I use a person centered approach to help connect to my clients.  We then work on the matters surrounding their more difficult issues.  I tend to use Cognitive Behavioral Techniques.  I also do a lot of education with my clients to help them identify and understand what is causing their issues.  I work collaboratively with my clients to help them work through their problems, while paying attention to their level of comfort.My belief is that all people are important.  I want to be sure that I not only respect my clients, but also respect their lives, culture, and needs. 

What is your favorite part of a day working with patients/clients? 

  • I love the interaction with my clients.  We are like a team.  We are working towards a goal.  When things line up and we reach that goal, I am so happy for them.  I always tell my clients, my goal for them is to “work myself out of a job.”  I want to be able to help my clients not to need me.  That is the goal of therapy, to learn the skills that will help you operate in life without your therapist. 

How do you stay fresh in the workplace? 

  • Being a member of the Ohio Counselor’s Association (OCA) and NWOCA has been helpful to keeping me fresh and trained.  These two associations offer opportunities from training to legislative advocacy for our profession.  For those in the counseling profession, I highly recommend getting involved in our local chapter.  Additionally, I have been working on my Doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision.  Unfortunately, cancer sidelined this goal.  However, before being sidelined, I was able to teach at Bowling Green State University.Being connected to students who share the same passion helped keep me fresh and motivated to do my best for my clients. 

What keeps you motivated? 

  • Helping others is one of my biggest motivators.Even on days when I didn’t want to get out of bed, I knew I was making a contribution to my clients and to my Firelands Care Team.  I knew if I was able to get out of my own head and help someone else, I would feel better that day.  

Who is your biggest inspiration? 

  • Martin Luther King Jr.  He was a man of love, strength and motivation.  He wanted to makes things better for the people in this world. He gave everything he had to help make things a little better.  While I don’t think I will ever make such an impact in the world, I do hope to help change the little space in the world in which I live. 

From the team at Firelands, congratulations, Juliet!