Stacy Liss Selected as RBR’s Educational Services Professional of the Year
Stacy Liss, Red Bank Regional’s SOURCE clinical supervisor, was selected as RBR’s 2019 Educational Services Professional. Stacy came to RBR in 1998 as a Social Worker and initially she was a member of the Child Study Team. She was an original member of the SOURCE, which Risa Clay founded with a state grant nearly 20 years ago. Since then, she has functioned as the head clinician, providing supervision for master level clinicians and interning graduate students. She is proud to say that many Monmouth County mental health professionals have interned under her mentorship. “I find supervising interns rewarding as they tend to be young, enthusiastic, eager to learn and appreciative of the experience.”
As supervisor, Ms. Liss assigns cases to her staff of three clinicians, while maintaining her own case load of students who she works with on a regular basis. She is the co-leader of the RBR Crisis Team and member of The Traumatic Loss Coalition, which assists schools when they experience a sudden loss, throughout Monmouth County. In addition to her MSW degree and clinical supervision certification, she holds certifications in psychological first aid, HIV/AIDs Education & Sexuality Education, Psychodrama and Drama Therapy, and Advanced Clinical Training in Transgender Mental Health. The later has enabled her to advocate for and counsel RBR’s LGBTQ+ community. She has also been the adviser to the GSA (Gender Sexuality Alliance) for the past five years. The GSA has successfully hosted the Monmouth County Make it better for Youth annual GAYLA twice among other events, and has brought great awareness to the LGBTQ+ community. Stacy Liss has also maintained her own Psychotherapy practice in Red Bank over the past fifteen years.
Speaking about the SOURCE Ms. Liss states, “While at first, it is not always easy for students to walk through our doors, once they do, they typically recognize that we are here to support them and provide them with an opportunity to process their challenges and to explore ways to better cope with life’s stressors. We are so proud of the fact that our biggest referral source, comes from students who are concerned for their friends and classmates.”
In an effort to “normalize” the experience of navigating the challenges of high school and adolescence, she sometimes uses herself as an example to her student’s. She shares with them that she attended an extraordinarily large high school in Brooklyn, where there were an estimated 6,000 students, where she felt lost, a small fish in a huge sea. “I could have really used the SOURCE then.” She states, “I also try to impress upon students that mistakes will happen, sometimes bad choices may be made, but you can grow from these experiences and develop healthier ways of being.”
She went to Hunter College, The City University of New York, part time, financing her education by waitressing in a jazz club. She also took acting classes at HB Studio in NYC, mostly because it was “fun” and it gave her an opportunity to explore interests she always had, but wasn’t motivated to study in high school. But it was in college, where she began to find herself and her passion for working with youth. Upon graduation, she was thrilled to obtain a job using educational theatre in a disability awareness program called, “The Kids Project,” utilizing puppets (think sesame street type puppets) and skits to educate youth about people with disabilities. While she loved this position, she wanted to be able to work directly with youth to help them navigate their challenging lives, so she decided it was time to attend graduate school in social work. Ms. Liss obtained her Master in Social work from Hunter College, C.U.N.Y in 1995.
Drawn to nature and the ocean, she moved to the Jersey shore with her husband Ken, where they raised their two daughters Ruby and Zoey. Ms. Liss left a position she loved in an alternative high school in Fort Lee, NJ when she relocated to the shore and is so thankful she was able to obtain a position at RBR.
A rewarding aspect of her work is when “students trust her enough to include her in their journey. “ Another interesting observation she shared is that several of her former students have decided to enter the counseling field and have received their MSW degrees. And many still keep in touch.” The most challenging part of her job has been during those times of loss, particularly when there has been the death of a member of our RBR community, be it a staff or student.
“The SOURCE was started out of love and necessity, originally conceived by one person, and we have grown into a family. We care about one another, the students and the mission. This is a family,” she concluded.