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Amanda Jacobs

MST-EA Clinical Supervisor Amanda Jacobs left NAFI Connecticut Inc. in June for a new opportunity as an MST Expert with Advanced Behavioral Health, Inc.

She had arrived nearly 14 years ago while still a graduate student, joining our Middletown team as a MST program clinician and quickly developing a passion for community-based therapy.

Just shy of six years later, Amanda was promoted to supervisor for the Waterbury Multisystemic Therapy (MST) DCF team servicing clients ages 12-17 with problems related to school, family, and/or the legal system, and after five-and-a-half years excelling in that leadership role, she eagerly accepted the challenging position of MST-EA clinical supervisor.

“I was out of my comfort zone and it felt exciting,” Amanda wrote in a note of appreciation for her long and wonderful tenure with NAFI CT. (The note is published in full at the bottom.) Now Amanda has shaken up her comfort zone again.

The scenario is something NAFI leadership has not only grown accustomed to but actively encourages and celebrates—a talented employee joining a team that’s truly like a family, thriving and growing professionally and personally, and then, when it’s time, leaving to explore a new growth opportunity.

See the August 2021 story, NAFI CT Celebrates Next Step for a Treasured MST Supervisor

“NAFI provides an environment that’s both challenging and nurturing, which is one reason we are named to the Connecticut Top Workplaces list each year,” said Amy Lefebvre, Assistant Executive Director of NAFI CT. “Our employees welcome the challenges and grow as they surmount them, which provides the type of positive experience that makes NAFI seem like ‘home.’”

“Amanda is another example of someone who ‘grew up’ professionally and excelled within NAFI. As much as we’ll miss her, we’re cheering her on as her career progresses. It’s the NAFI way,” said Jessica Clow, Director of Training & Development for NAFI CT.

The Multisystemic Therapy Program (MST) that Amanda first worked on is an evidenced based model providing intensive family therapy for youth 12-18 with identified behavioral and/or mental health challenges. These might include anger management, truancy, poor academic performance, problematic peer relationships, and strained family relations. The MST Program also has a strong substance abuse treatment component, and promotes behavior shifts in a youth’s natural environment.

MST-EA stands for multisystemic therapy for emerging adults, a therapeutic model for transforming the lives of young adults (17-26) who are aging out of the child welfare system, and their families, by providing intensive individual treatment for their serious mental illness and/or substance misuse.

Amanda Jacob’s ‘Goodbye Note’

I began my first “real life” adult job at NAFI November 6th, 2008. I had no clue what was in store for me, as I was still completing my Master’s program and wasn’t even sure what I wanted to do with my degree. Little did I know I would fall in love with both the MST model & the agency I worked for.

I started off as a Middletown CSSD MST clinician, and remained in that position for six years. In this position I discovered my passion for community based therapy, working with families and the benefits of having a strong team alongside you. The “whatever it takes” motto really hit home for me. I’ll never forget the early morning PPTs, late night on call emergencies and lengthy court days, but knowing that I could be by my client’s side through some of their most stressful moments made the long days absolutely worth it. I had never known of a model that allowed the opportunity to have an impact on so many different facets of a person’s life. MST gave me the opportunity to help people in ways I never knew I could as a therapist and helped me feel fulfilled in myself and my work. The bond my team created as well helped me through any of the struggles I would face when feeling “stuck” with a client or burned out as a therapist. I am grateful to say that bond still holds with my first team 14 years later.

When I was offered the supervisory position for another standard MST team, I hesitated, as I knew I would miss the long drives, working in coffee shops between clients, and forming connections with new families. However, I found a new interest in teaching others and building my own team that had the bond I had been lucky enough to experience when I first started. In this position I felt I really grew as a person and learned so much from the different clinicians I was lucky enough to supervise. After 6 years as a standard supervisor I ventured over to a newly formed EA team and felt inspired as I was challenged again in my field to learn a new form of the model I had been so content in over the years. I was out of my comfort zone and it felt exciting. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a supervisor for MST, and the support I have had from my fellow supervisors, my own supervisor and my amazing team made this experience so meaningful.

NAFI has been a home to me these past 14 years. Here, I’ve been given the opportunity to learn, to struggle, and to succeed. During these years I’ve finished my master’s program, obtained my LPC, bought my first house, got married & had a beautiful baby boy. I’ve made lifelong friends from this agency and through the work that I have done. I am eternally grateful to have found my passion and truly grow as a person. Now I feel ready for my next journey as a standard MST consultant, with many years of amazing memories and so much knowledge gained preparing me for this adventure.