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Meet Mark St. John, Program Director at Hanley Center

Mark St. John, LSCW, CAP, ICADC, NAADAC – Program Director

Mark is a graduate of Washburn University in Topeka, KS with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Washburn University with an emphasis on social policy. Mark has worked in the treatment industry for 19 years in various positions that include primary counselor, clinical director, executive director and a consult for various treatment programs. Mark has extensive training in trauma (EMDR certified), relapse prevention, personality disorders, cognitive therapy, psychoanalysis, and gestalt. Mark has worked both in the non-profit and private treatment sectors over his 19-year career. Mark has held Addiction certifications in both national and international governing bodies (Florida Board Certified Addiction Professional (CAP), ICADC certification (International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor), and NAADAC (National Certified Addiction Counselor). A native of San-Diego, California, Mark has three grown children and enjoys working out and playing golf.

What brought you to the field of addiction treatment? What brought you to Origins? 

 I started in the field of addiction in 1999 when I was 6 months sober. I had returned to school when I got sober and it was suggested I take a position as a counselor in training while I worked toward my certification in addiction counseling. My plan was to work in the addiction field until I graduated and went on to law school, but because I enjoyed working in the field so much I went on to graduate school instead and 20 years later here I am.

My wife works in the Headwaters Program and she would come home every day telling me what a great place it was to work, so I applied and the rest is history. 

If there was only one thing you could tell us about working within your specialty area, what would it be?

Patience. In trauma work, especially EMDR Psychotherapy, the tendency for most clinicians is to want to move someone on before they are ready because the traumatic experience can make the clinician feel uncomfortable. Meeting the patient where they are at and allowing the process to happen is quite remarkable because in EMDR Psychotherapy, we allow the brain to do all the work.

What have you learned through your experience working in treatment?

That every patient has a pathway into treatment that is a unique experience to them. I would rather know my patient than try to use a technique to fix them. This is a lost art in therapy today. I feel the best therapists are the ones who really understand the importance of knowing the presenting problems. I’ve learned that listening to each patient, and understanding the pathway the individual took to get to treatment, can help uncover the solution that each patient needs to move on with their lives — sober, happy, joyous and free.  

Do you hold any credentials or certifications? Do you participate in any professional activities outside of work? 

I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), a Qualified Supervisor (QS) for others seeking the Clinical Social Work credential, and working toward certification in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). EMDR certification will allow me to teach trauma in the near future and present in EMDRIA supported seminars and conferences.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time? 

I love to ride horses, workout, play golf, and spend time with my wife and our dog Pablo. My kids are grown, but I do spend time with them and my grandchildren when I have the opportunity to do so. I’m starting to plan toward expanding my career by presenting topics of interests in seminars and conferences I have grown to love over the 20 years of working in this industry. I also have plans on getting published within the next few years as well. 

Origins Behavioral Healthcare is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use disorders, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. For more information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1296.

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If you or someone you love has a substance use or mental health disorder, Origins Behavioral HealthCare can help. We will work alongside you to provide the most comprehensive treatment available.