Written by: John DeRousie, Custom Marketing Solutions
FULTON, NY – Executive Director of the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County, Karrie Damm has announced that Carol Gazitano has joined the CAC staff as a mental health counselor.
Gazitano, who holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from SUNY Oswego, and Masters Degree in marriage and family therapy from Syracuse University, brings with her considerable experience in the field of psychology and counseling.
Prior to joining the CAC, Gazitano worked at the Community Recovery Center in Rome as a drug and alcohol counselor, and at the Salvation Army in Syracuse providing in-home therapy to families who had adopted or were living in a foster home.
Additionally, she is a part-time therapist working with couples and individuals at the CNY Marriage and Family Therapy Place.
With a life-long passion for psychology, Gazitano is looking forward to her duties at the CAC.
“I’ve been interested in psychology since I was 12,” said Gazitano. “I especially enjoy the counseling aspect as it helps others by bringing positive changes to their life. It truly makes a difference.”
As a Mental Health Practitioner, Gazitano will conduct in-take sessions with children and the non-offending parent or guardian to learn the child’s background and the extent of the abuse they have been through. Based on the information received during the in-take session she will determine the form of therapy that will best suit the needs of the child and the family.
“For children with a clear recognition of the event and ongoing exhibition of stressors, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a joint child and parent psychotherapy approach for children experiencing significant emotional and behavioral difficulties related to the traumatic event, is very effective,” said Gazitano. “For other children, play therapy, a technique whereby the child’s natural means of expression, namely play, is used as a therapeutic method to assist them in coping with the trauma and emotional stress.”
Gazitano will also be working closely with the CAC’s Multi-Disciplinary Team, a collaborative effort designed to reduce the trauma to children and respective family members undergoing investigation of child sexual and physical abuse.
The Multi-Disciplinary Team is comprised of a cross-section of law enforcement investigators, child protective services, medical providers, therapeutic professionals, victim support professionals, and the district attorney’s office.
The team maintains a well-coordinated, effective approach to child abuse investigation and prosecution, and service provision to families and individuals affected by child abuse.
Team members also work to enhance prosecution of perpetrators involved in child victimization and to help facilitate positive legal outcomes for child victims and their families.
“The MTD is a valuable resource. It keeps me updated on the status of the investigations and serves as a liaison between myself and law enforcement,” said Gazitano.
While only in her second month at the CAC, Gazitano is enjoying her work as a mental health counselor and meeting the challenges is brings.
“Working with the children and their families can be difficult at first. They are hurt and confused and not trusting. However, seeing the change in their behavior in just a few sessions, and hearing positive feedback about the children’s progress from parents and teachers is very rewarding. And while at times it is tough to hear what they have been through, I am happy to be able to do this. We may not be able to eliminate child abuse completely, although we would like to, it is comforting to know that we are helping with recovery and play an important role in the healing process,” said Gazitano.
Currently working with 25 children, Gazitano works with children and their families at both the CAC’s main office at 301 Beech St. and the agency’s satellite site 4822 Salina St., Pulaski.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to work at our Pulaski location. There is a need for our services in the northern part of the county and the Pulaski site provides easy access for the families that we serve in the area,” added Gazitano.
A non-profit charitable organization, the Child Advocacy Center of Oswego County provides a range of services to children who have been physically or sexually abused and provides a safe, child-friendly site for the investigation, prosecution and treatment of child abuse.
For more information on the CAC, call 315-592-4453.