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Spotlight Series – Katie Jo Larkin, Primary Counselor

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Katie grew up in Wellington, FL, where she played Varsity Softball and Varsity Volleyball. She graduated high school with honors and then moved to Orlando, FL, where she obtained her Bachelors of Science in Psychology from the University of Central Florida. At that point, she returned home to be closer to her family and became employed at her first treatment center as a Behavioral Health Technician. It was there that she decided she wanted to pursue a career in counseling, and so she acquired her Masters of Education in Mental Health Counseling from Florida Atlantic University. In total, she’s worked at 3 different treatment centers and interned at both Palm Beach State College’s Counseling Center and Hanley Center at Origins as a counselor. Katie has twin sisters (only ten months younger) whom she is very close to and currently lives in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.

 

What brought you to Origins?  

Growing up in the rooms of AA here in Palm Beach County, I was always familiar with ethical treatment centers in the area and set my hopes of being a part of one someday. My mom recovered from Alcoholism when I was 11 and just celebrated 19 years sober. My dad is also a firefighter/paramedic/EMT (now retired), so I learned pretty quickly the impact that those calls have on first-responders’ mental health. As well, I had several friends in high school struggle with addiction, so I took on a passion for helping people in this industry early on. I met and befriended my current supervisor while in grad school, and began exploring internship opportunities. She had been working at Hanley Center for some time and shared with me that they might be looking for an intern. She was able to get my foot in the door almost 3 years ago, and the rest is history! I interned a total of 3 semesters with Hanley, was promoted to Detox Counselor for a year during the internship, and then was offered my current position here at Transitions at Origins as a Primary Counselor shortly after graduation. Everything worked out so perfectly that I was able to see God’s plan for me!

 

 

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

My specialty area consists of working with young men who possess the “failure to launch” characteristic within addiction. If I could only tell you one thing about working within this specialty area, it would be the importance of family education and family participation in treatment. The family is encouraged to heal as a whole with the goal of helping the patient individually heal.

 

What have you learned through your experience working in treatment?

I’ve learned that there is nothing greater or more special than fellowship; the bond that people make within the program is truly remarkable. I’ve also discovered that the 12-steps are a way of life and that anyone struggling, addiction or not could benefit from working them. Lastly, I’ve learned that each case and each patient is different. Two patients with similar demographics and struggles with alcoholism can enter treatment, yet each would have a different perspective and view on their experiences, and would, therefore, need different supportive interventions despite their presentations.

 

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

I have a Bachelors of Science in Psychology, Masters of Education in Mental Health Counseling, and I’m a Registered Mental Health Counseling Intern (RMHCI) with the state of Florida. I attend specialized training/workshops whenever possible.

 

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Most of my spare time is spent with my family. I come from a blended family, so it’s very large, and I also have a blended family of my own. When I’m not with family, I’m spending time with my pups, Sadie and Marshall. I enjoy taking them on walks or being outside at the dog park. I have also been involved with Al-Anon for about a year and a half and I’m a huge fan of sports. Go Dolphins and Go Heat!