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Welcome to the Family – Paula

Posted in General by SaratogaCFF on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at 10:00 am
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PaulaWe are growing here at the Center and are thrilled to welcome Paula Zimmerman, LMHC, DCC to our clinical staff.

What inspired you to pursue a career in counseling?

My parents worked in human services as far back as I can remember. My father worked for OASAS for over 30 years and has been in this field for over 45 years. My mother worked with people with developmental disabilities for over 20 years. They raised my brother and me to be conscious of other people’s feelings and how others experience the world. My parents were really my first “professors” for learning to have empathy for what people struggle through. I remember when I was 12 years old, I said to my father that I want to do what he does. I am very thankful for what they taught me.

What do you love most about your occupation?

I love that no two people have exactly the same experience. Some people may have some similarities, but everyone has a unique story to tell. Even when I have worked with identical twins, each person still had his or her own experiences and ways of seeing the world. There is something unique and interesting about everyone’s story.

You are credentialed as a Distance Credentialed Counselor {DCC}- what does that mean?

I obtained that certification because at my last position many teens I worked with had families who lived far away. Often the only way to have their families involved in therapy sessions was to ask them to participate by phone. The DCC curriculum taught me to think of the ethical and practical aspects to facilitating a family therapy session where one or more participants are not able to see your nonverbal responses. I learned to be mindful that sometimes I had to use more words than usual to express a response or to let someone know that I was hearing him or her.

What do you like to do in your spare time for fun? 

Over the past couple of years, I have gotten back into some bike riding. No marathons for me though; I am a casual “ride around the neighborhood” rider. I love genealogy. I have done much research on ancestry.com on both sides of my family and it is so fascinating to find old newspaper articles on ancestors or to find old family secrets that wouldn’t be news worthy in today’s world, but scandalous back in the 1800’s. There’s still a mystery to a great grandfather that I haven’t been able to solve. In general I love spending time with family and friends as often as I can.

Are there any fun facts we should know about you?

I am 6th cousins with Josh Groban. They did a family history show on him recently and it turns out we both have Johann Jacob Zimmermann from the 1600’s as a direct ancestor. Something tells me this is much more interesting to me than it would ever be to Josh Groban. I once danced with the Atlanta City Georgia Ballet. I was about 8 years old and all I did was run across the stage, but I like to count that as having been in a professional ballet performance.