December 2001 – February 2002
Joe Schoolcraft has a caseload under which some therapists would
crumple and cry ‘uncle’, according to one grateful client. Joe’s skill and empathy came the hard way: drugs, alcohol, a gun to his own head in despair. An understanding boss got him into a residential substance abuse treatment program. He’s been repaying the kindness ever since.
I’ve always been a helper. A few years ago I found an old report card of mine from kindergarten. The teacher’s comment was ”Joe loves to help others.” For a number of years after I dropped out of college in the early 1970s I floated from job to job and place to place depending on where my alcoholism, addictions and search for happiness took me. But most of the work I’ve done throughout my adult life has been in the helping professions. I worked in state hospitals and residential facilities for emotionally disturbed
and delinquent children and adolescents, as well as facilities for mentally ill adults. There was considerable alcohol use by my father and older siblings in our working class family. The usual unwritten, unspoken rules in my family were, “Don’t talk! Don’t trust! Don’t feel!”…