Therapist and Director of Training Kimberly Fielding says her favorite part of her job is being able to pour into the lives of her younger co-workers. 

“I’ve got to give into peoples’ lives, or I’ll stagnate and wither,” Kimberly says. 

It’s an advantageous perspective for someone in charge of the center’s training programs. Kimberly splits her time between her therapy caseload and training Shelterwood staff. She orients new hires, helps staff members with ongoing professional development goals, leads a Love and Logic training program, keeps the team up-to-date on certifications (CPR, First Aid, medicine management, etc.), and more. Kimberly also brings her extensive expertise in trauma-informed care to her new roles at Shelterwood. 

A Background in Trauma-Informed Care
Kimberly’s trauma-informed care journey began when she was doing child welfare work. Unfortunately, Kimberly says, most of the trauma people experience in our society happens during childhood. She learned about how trauma affects children as a social worker and social work educator in Joplin, Missouri.  Kimberly had her own early traumatic experiences, and the trauma research she was discovering helped her better understand her own life, too.

Kimberly then directed a four-year Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) grant in Joplin (and the surrounding four-state area) to help communities become more informed about trauma. She coached schools, child advocacy groups, health systems and other organizations about trauma-informed care. 

After the grant, she did trauma-informed care consulting work for two more years. She spent a lot of time traveling alone, hearing others’ traumatic stories, and being in environments where children were re-experiencing trauma. It was difficult work, especially for someone who had processed her own significant childhood trauma. Everything she knew about trauma-informed care told her she needed to make a job change for her own well-being. 

“I realized I shouldn’t do this type of work alone,” Kimberly says. “It was against trauma-informed care principles! I want to make myself available, but you have to have the resources to be a resource.”

A friend suggested Shelterwood, and she found the residential treatment center’s culture of spiritual support and collaboration to be a great fit. Instead of trying to handle second-hand trauma on her own, she’s now part of an organization that lives out trauma-informed care principles in community.

Paying It Forward
Right now, Kimberly is working on a coaching program to help staff members enhance self-chosen skills in a measurable way. She reflects on a time early in her career when she was a visiting university professor, and her communication skills weren’t very refined yet. 

“I was horrible at first,” Kimberly laughs. “Sometimes those student evaluations really stung, but the humility of having an accurate assessment helped me stay grounded and know the things I needed to work on.” 

Remembering the professional and personal development she received early in her career motivates her to be there for Shelterwood’s mentors and young staff members. 

“I think about where I was at that age and the people who invested in me,” says Kimberly. “I’m so fortunate, so blessed to be investing in them during this crucial time in their lives.” 

Outside of Shelterwood, Kimberly loves spending time with her two daughters and two grandchildren. She enjoys cooking and baking, game nights, and re-watching favorite movies, like Shawshank Redemption. She’s getting more familiar with Kansas City as she settles into her new career. 

“People say they are glad I’m here and that Shelterwood needs me, but my response is, I’ve needed Shelterwood, too,” Kimberly says. 

Does your teen need a safe environment where they can heal from trauma? Contact our admissions counselors to find out more about Shelterwood’s trauma-informed care.